Saturday, October 15, 2011

Game Journalists & Batman

There is an unwritten rule with video game journalism and spoilers for games, be courteous to your reader by not directly spoiling a plot point. This can be seen in Game Trailers' review of the game. Most of the time this rule is followed, but recently the famous video game news website Kotaku and other video game news websites broke this rule with a post about the highly anticipated game "Batman: Arkham City". Make the jump to get a more detailed account on what was happened, a discussion of potential fault, and suggestions on how it should have been handled. To prevent further spoiling, please do not continue reading this article if you have interest in this game and have not heard the news. I do not want to be one of the people who could ruin an otherwise awesome plot point. Otherwise, enjoy.

In late September, Rocksteady Studios released a one hour demo of Batman: Arkham City to video game journalists. With this demo, Rocksteady informed the press that they can talk about anything that is on the demo  (22:19). To most journalists, this is like being given a giant golden nugget.  They will covet this nugget, they will cherish this nugget, and they want to be the first to show this nugget to the world.

What happened next was a huge backlash from the gaming community as the news of the Joker's death was blasted on front page of their favorite news websites. Below are two screenshots of what readers saw when visiting each respective website.

From Now Gamer Kotaku.(Click to enlarge)

Upon first glance, the fans were told what had happened and there was no warning of the spoiler. The fans were outraged with this blatant disregard of the unwritten rule. However, the rage was solely directed at these websites, as seen in the article's comments, but was it only their fault or does Rocksteady have a hand in this as well?  Rocksteady knew that the Joker was going to die in the demo and gave the journalists the go ahead to talk about it. Could they not have released something else from the game that did not have as much of a plot point? Would it still have generated the same amount of press? It was almost like Rocksteady & the journalists were going off the old adage of "no such thing as bad press".

Although Rocksteady is at fault, it was ultimately the journalists responsibility to stick to this rule. It was up to the journalists to deliver the news in a fashion that would still get the attention that it got while being nice to the community. A title of "Here Is the First Hour of Batman (Spoilers)" would have sufficed. 

At the end of the day though, this will probably not deter anyone from buying the game. If we look at the movie industry, we will see that this is something that has been done for years. Take for example this clip.

It has been speculated that this crash was used to get more people interested in Eddie's new movie and to see if he would crash another one. Although it is a different circumstance, it was still trying to yield a similar effect, more press.

No comments:

Post a Comment