If you blinked lately you may have missed the fact that Until Dawn released today. Basically Sony’s only exclusive title besides a few remasters for several months and hardly anyone outside of the core gaming community knows. For those not familiar with the game, it is a quick time style movie game that revolves around a B-movie style horror plot.
The people behind the game is what is so fascinating though. They got a big name with Hayden Panettiere to star as the main role in the game. A lot of talk shows are beginning to talk about video games and the actors tied to them, so why hasn’t she really appeared anywhere to talk about Until Dawn? In fact you wouldn’t even really know she did it unless you watched a few gaming streams.
The entire hype train seemed to die back when The Order: 1886 got a lot of heat for being short and less of a game, and more of a movie. It seems it was that point that Sony decided to not dump a lot of money into Until Dawn and now hardly anyone outside of the gaming community knows it’s there. The game releases today and when I ask people if they are going to check it out I’m met with “Sure, when does it release?” Or “Isn’t it that horror game with that girl?” It’s fair to say The Order got a lot more notice than this game ever got.
A short while ago Sony seemed excited for the title. They had events planned, were live streaming, and putting it out there everywhere. Then it was cut from E3 and a few other shows, and marketing slowly dwindled to a few Youtube trailers and revamping their own Blog. Step one foot outside of gaming media and Until Dawn basically doesn’t exist.
How is that proper? Paying attention to it, Until Dawn released in a poor window as-is. Metal Gear is right around the corner, and being honest they missed an opportunity to tie the marketing into Halloween in October. Even if this game was groundbreaking people will stop talking about it within two weeks. Hell MGS is already overshadowing it with review scores, and Sony isn’t doing much to keep the game relevant.
Something similar happened a while ago when Beyond: Two Souls released. The game went mostly un-noticed beyond a few people angry that it was a quick time event (we personally loved it) and then it vanished. The game tried to grasp some air with a PS4 release, but Sony shoved it back down and walked away. It’s not just these two games either.
When Sony is on their game they are releasing a ton of exclusives yearly, and this is why many people love the PlayStation brand. Plenty of games from a wide variety of genre’s to choose from, all exclusive to PlayStation. The problem seemed to be that they had so many games to talk about that some games simply got left out. Think Sly Cooper or Insomniac titles being pushed aside for Killzone and Uncharted.
Yet here we are with Sony having one game, a single game, that should be pushed hard and it’s hardly being seen. Yes it is being marketed, but it’s being held back. Reviews were embargoed until the day before release due to fear that it’d be hated on for the same reasons as The Order. Sony seems to have pulled back advertising, and if you don’t follow video game news like us then you probably don’t even know what the game is about.
The reason I bring this up is because the lack of advertising has killed so many great games, and probably even the Vita. The game itself is getting fairly decent scores. Not too bad, not terrible, but right up the middle. A majority of people don’t mind playing it, and would show their friends. Yet a game like that is going to be killed when heavier marketing steps in for Destiny or Metal Gear.
So let’s say it is good, what about more? A follow up title? DLC? A new game from the studio? All of this gets pushed aside because executives look back at the game and notice it didn’t sell entirely well. Yet they don’t blame the fact they told two people about it being released, they blame the studio or the developers and come up with excuses as to why it can’t continue.
This is something that happened with Beyond: Two Souls and Resistance for me. I loved both games a ton and would love to see more. Yet look at how Sony approaches Quantic Dream, they always jump back to Heavy Rain. Or how Insomniac would probably return to Resistance if asked, but Sony has no interest. (Though Insomniac said they have no interest either.) Instead we get Killzone or Uncharted and tons of marketing pushed behind them. Great games, but can we explore others?
For comparison sake, I’ve seen Microsoft advertise the hell out of Gears of War and Halo. Halo is still a little ways off, yet during popular programming I still see their commercials and they’ve found a way to get me hyped. A lot of their recent press conferences also focused on smaller games releasing this year, and of course Tomb Raider. Granted Sony puts a lot of effort into Destiny and Call of Duty now, while it was MS before, but I simply don’t understand why they are not pushing their own product first. I saw more Black Ops 3 ads this past two weeks or more than I ever saw of Until Dawn. Honestly think I recieved 3 or 4 emails from PlayStation to tell me to download Black Ops 3, and that was for a short beta period…