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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

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Ryan’s Corner: Hype Trains Always Go Off The Rails

Oh my God, a Nintendo Direct is coming. It must be about one thing and one thing only: SUPER SMASH BROS., BABY! How do I know this? Well, I just have a gut feeling.

Ssh! Ssh! Quiet, now! The Direct is starting…

WHA?! What is this garbage? No one cares about puny little indie games! Or Mario Tennis! Or Dark Souls! Or Square Enix! Or whatever those Wii U ports were! I want Super Smash Bros.! Wah, wah, cry, cry, other baby noises.

Yeah, I’m going straight into the gutter on this one. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of hearing a bunch of self-entitled pricks hype themselves up by expecting everything from announcements that blatantly never intend to act like something huge is about to happen. I’m surprised I haven’t done an article on this topic sooner, to be honest. What pushed me over the edge was the unveiling of Two Point Hospital by – appropriately enough – Two Point Studios. The catch: SEGA is the publisher.

Leading up to the announcement was a countdown

and a picture of a lightbulb.

There were no references to Sonic or the Dreamcast to be found. The only hint word was “Two”. So obviously the Dreamcast 2 had to be speculated among other things that won’t exist.

I feel so bad. Not for the “fans”, but for Two Point Studios. They wanted to announce their new project and these oblivious packs of wolves didn’t know any better than to bash it all over because they realized it’s not titled¬†Sonic Adventure 3. A quick Google search shows that Two Point partnered with SEGA to do a simulation game and their logo was clearly visible on the final day leading up to the announcement. Surprise, surprise, the simulation game is exactly what the announcement turned out to be. Of course that didn’t stop the replies from becoming a titanic mish-mash of salt and self-inflicted betrayal.

Two Point Studios deserved absolutely none of this. Yet here we are with most of the replies to the announcement tagging them as if they are any part of the problem.

SEGA “fans” are far from the only people to do this kind of crap. Let’s get back to talking about the Nintendo Direct, eh? Every. Single. Direct. Nintendo does these things to show their fans details of upcoming games for their consoles. Below is a diagram created three years ago summarizing the reactions of literally every Nintendo Direct announcement and aftermath. And it’s still incredibly relevant today (only with Super Smash Bros. also being part of the fan expectations).

This happens regardless of what Nintendo specifies beforehand. It could be a miniature Direct. It could be a Direct focusing only on indie games. Nintendo could scream into every fan’s ears “WE DON’T FREAKING HAVE THESE GAMES TO UNVEIL!!!” Yet these expectations get overly inflated to the point that if balloons could talk, they would tell the fans to chill the hell out.¬†What’s even the point of hyping it up, anyway? Smash Bros. “fans” are only going to complain about it not being Melee anyway.

Guys, please pay attention to what the Nintendo Direct actually has to offer. There could be some great games that wouldd catch your eye. Sixty bucks is sixty bucks. Your time spent in a game you’ve always been waiting for is as valuable as your time spent in a game that you find yourself liking otherwise.

Want to know how to resolve any hype problem? By not expecting anything. By ignoring the incentive to conspire theories about an ambiguous picture. The greatest reveals happen by surprise; this is why companies like Nintendo keep things under wraps as tightly as possible. That “Wait, we have one last thing to show you” is the perfect reel to grab attention for something unthinkable. When it does turn out to be exactly what people have been waiting for, the results will have much more of an impact than they ever would be if the game in question was expected.

Case in point: Metroid Prime 4. It was smack dab in the middle of E3 but no one ever saw this coming. No hint was ever given beforehand. No teaser pictures before E3, no sneaky comments, nothing. Therefore, no one was expecting it to actually happen before watching the presentation. Not only that, but it’s okay to hype it up after the reveal because people now know Metroid Prime 4 really is going to exist!

Sigh…I’m sorry if I have been rather grumpy throughout the article. My thoughts on these things had been bottled up for a good while, and the incident with SEGA and Two Point was enough for me to buckle down and officially rant about hype trains. Hopefully this makes enough sense for you, the reader, to think twice before questioning a company’s stance on a game you’re waiting to be announced.

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