In recent years, gamers all over the world have found themselves dealing with some bitter disappointments. Although technology advances and with it the proposed titles also improve, it happens that video games celebrated before the release end up not keeping their promises. The most recent case is certainly that of Cyberpunk 2077, but before it, there was No Man Sky.
It is frustrating for a player to waste money on broken promises or outright lies. But a similar feeling can also be experienced by some video game developers. The smaller ones perhaps, who dedicate themselves to their projects with passion and stand out for the quality of their products.
It might feel that way too Thomas Mahler, director of Ori and the Blind Forest, which in a long post on Resetera (important forum of the videogame industry) has lashed out against some of his colleagues, defining them "Snake oil salesman", smoke sellers, scammers.
In summary, Mahler's reasoning is this. For more than a decade, a culture of hype has been cultivating in the gaming industry that sells video games before they're finished. Developers deceive gamers with trailers and interviews describing a product that isn't there.
It all happens with tacit consent at best, or more often with the active participation of the specialist press, ready to bend to these logics just to make two more clicks. And the customers themselves, regularly scammed, do not flinch.
Names and surnames
Sean Murray, creator of No Man's SkyMahler does not remain generic, however, he makes names and surnames, starting from what he believes to be the father of this technique: Peter Molyneux. The creator of the Fable series he is accused of only starting the practice of hype, but the real master who perfected it would be Sean Murray.
The creator of No Man Sky not only would he have created a completely different game from what he described, arriving a few days before publication to sing the praises "Of a multiplayer that didn't even exist". But unlike Molyneux, who has lost some of his credibility in the long run, Murray has managed with updates to make people forget the lies with which he sold his title.
But CD Projekt Red also ends up under Mahler's indiscriminate fire, obviously due to the most discussed game of these months: Cyberpunk 2077. The Polish software house is accused of using the same method as Murray, promising "Sci-Fi GTA in first person", and then release a bug-ridden and very different game.
Mahler's reasoning, certainly dictated by frustration, undoubtedly hits the mark of one of the problems of the industry. It also identifies a common feature of these hot air games, that of being advertised as "You Can Do It All" titles.
This practice, this culture of hype, is perhaps bordering on scam and it is undoubtedly affecting the relationship between players and developers, even in a case like that of CD Projekt Red, in which the software house is very popular. In short, to put it in Mahler's rather direct words:
“I don't care if the fried air is actually good. Don't sell me features that aren't there. Don't paint me a picture that doesn't correspond to reality. Don't bullshit me "