One thing that can be a bit unnerving about the way the gaming media conducts itself is when it inadvertently (or purposefully, in some cases) acts as the extended reach of the PR team for a given publisher. In the attempt at being completely objective and unbiased, sometimes it’s easy for the marketing speak to climb into posts or previews of upcoming games, precisely because it’s the only information that’s being made available to the gaming media at the time that it’s covered. You don’t want to make any assumptions, so you go with the answers you’ve been given – which have been carefully constructed by some marketing copywriters.
Like I said, I haven’t been in this position myself, but that’s always seemed to be the struggle from an outside point of view. However, games writer Dennis Scimeca has been in that position, and writes about it over on his blog in a post titled Don’t Look at the Game Behind the Curtain. It’s actually a really interesting look at the trial-and-error process of a games journalist and how he handles different previews from E3. He mainly singles out both Brink and Homefront, two games that turned out to be, by many accounts, mediocre, but received a substantial amount of hype through cleverly designed preview events and trailers.
Personally, I would love to see the kind of “stripped” version of games reporting that he talks about here. Speaking from the experience of walking around on the PAX floor, it’s easy to let the smoke and mirrors cloud the real game that’s being shown. E3, as awesome as it is from a news perspective, has kind of become this huge circus that all the publishers and journalists are playing to. That being said, I still want to go to there.
What do you guys think of this kind of hype? Would you rather see more of it stripped out of games coverage? Or do you like getting whipped up into a fervor and judging for yourself what pulls its own weight? Does E3 excite you or irritate you for this exact reason?