Talking Point: Why Is Sony Saving Its PS4 Reveals Until the Last Minute?
Posted by Sammy Barker
Let it cook
There was a sense of disbelief when LittleBigPlanet 3’s logo nonchalantly appeared on Sony’s sizeable E3 2014 press conference screen. These media briefings have become so pre-meditated over the years that it’s often easy to predict the types of titles that are going to be shown – after all, our pre-show predictions post really wasn’t alarmingly far off the mark. However, with Sony’s holiday lineup the subject of much misery in the months leading up to this week’s event, no one expected the next entry in Sackboy’s do-it-yourself series to secure a November launch.
In fact, we didn’t really know that it was even in development. There had been some rumours regarding the release prior to last year’s show, but nothing especially concrete. And this clearly signals a conscious corporate change – especially from a firm formerly famous for its misleading trailers and protracted production cycles. You may feel that the PlayStation 4 is light on exclusives even in lieu of the abovementioned sequel and Bloodborne, but it’s become apparent that the organisation will no longer announce projects several years out.
And it’s not hard to understand why it’s made this change. The Last Guardian remains a noose around executives such as Shuhei Yoshida’s feathery neck, with Shadow of the Colossus creator Team ICO’s cat-bird almost casting its own, er, shadow over this week’s entire convention. Despite being in production for some seven or so years now, constant clarification regarding the status of this ambitious escapade doesn’t appear to have sated some sections of the press, with IGN erroneously reporting that the title had been cancelled, only to retract the ‘confirmation’ later.
While the title did get a release date once upon a time, this is an example of a release that was announced far too early, and while the subsequent outpouring of fan anticipation may potentially have kept the project moving during its disastrous development cycle, the platform holder probably wishes that it never revealed the ambitious adventure so prematurely in the first place. And it’s not the only project to flag the flaws of early announcements, as Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End has also been privy to unnecessarily concerned prying eyes since its unveiling in November last year.
Presumably designed to build anticipation right around the launch of Sony’s next-gen machine, the narrated trailer achieved little other than waves of negative articles, as Naughty Dog endured a very public – but seemingly quite natural – employee reshuffle. With this week’s teaser trailer, the title appears to be very much back on track, but with actor Todd Stashwick’s part being recast, it’s difficult to assess what last year’s early reveal even achieved. And the same could be said for so many other games: Rainbow Six: Patriots, Fuse, and even Killzone 2 are all examples of titles that have found themselves underfire for not being anywhere near ready at the time of announcement.
And that’s the very reason that you’re not seeing Sony’s many secret PS4 exclusive games. Guerrilla Games, Media Molecule, Sony Santa Monica and many more are all busy preparing blockbuster software, but just like LittleBigPlanet 3, the platform holder’s not going to show it to you until it’s ready. The manufacturer may end up losing message board list wars as a result of this approach, but surely there’s more value to an almost finished piece of software than a pretty looking pre-rendered trailer that tells you absolutely nothing about the title that it’s poorly trying to promote. You’ll still see the Japanese giant’s big upcoming titles eventually, of course – but you’re just going to have to wait.
Do you like the idea of games being announced right before they’re released, or do you prefer the drama that protracted production cycles bring? Do you enjoy being shocked by last minute announcements, or do you prefer it when publishers tease? Drop a bomb in the comments section below.
Do you prefer last minute announcements? (75 votes)
Yes, show me a game shortly before it's ready to release
Hmm, it really depends
No, I prefer to know about new games as early as possible
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