The dissonance we as consumers experience between what we expect not just from games, but products in general and the reality of those products has been in recent years, become vast. Our horror at the monstrosities at that were DNF, ACM, Diablo 3 and Sim City have become events that will be considered the early stages of the fall of some publishers. However, just because we expect a game to be to our level of standard, that doesn’t mean anything less than that standard, should be considered a great sin.
I was excited for Call of Juarez the Cartel. I really was, if you’ll find that hard to believe. I didn’t pre order because with the collapse of Brick and mortar gaming shops I didn’t need to worry about copies running out. When I bought it, I found I made a terrible mistake. I won’t bore you with the details but what I got was a buggy, racist, xenophobic and intellectually harmful piece of **** for which I regret even thinking about buying. I ‘expected’ a game to at least be decent considering this was new ground that Techland was exploring. I was right in that new ground new depths were being plundered, just not in the way I imagined. I respect Techland just as much I respect The Westboro Baptist Church, an organisation I doubt Elton John is member of.
Aliens-Colonial marine similarly is another example for which I am glad I was warned prior to buying by the unfortunate souls who did buy it. It seems funny that our expectations for some games are so high yet we’re satisfied with functional games such as Call of Duty or Battlefield. So who do we blame in this instance? Should we as consumers understand that we shouldn’t be so quick to assume the quality is assured in spite of no evidence pointing to that? Or should we point the finger at the publishers who constantly assured us that the game was amazing and would work and that we’d have a wonderful time? See Sim city, Diablo 3, Duke Nukem Forever, Amy etc
My expectations were not met for Bioshock infinite, Spec ops the line, Saints row the Third but I was happy because they were good. Conversely, my expectations for games like Hotline Miami, Rayman Origins and FTL: Faster than light were met and I still felt dissatisfied in spite of being thrilled and happy with the final products. I think it’s fair to say that expectations should not be thought of as level of which we….expect the game to be at but a range of which we expect the game to be in. Call of Duty 6, 7, 8 and 9 all looked promising but it fell within our expectations. Compare that with Diablo 3 for which we all assumed would be God’s gift to man in the form of an Isometric RPG, let alone playable but nay we asked too much.
It’s not fair to developers to assume the narrative should always be on the level on the Silent Hill 2, the gameplay as polished as Call of Duty or the aesthetic and graphics to integrate us with the experiences such as Bioshock, Borderlands, Fallout, Skyrim etc etc. However the developers and publishers need to understand that it’s not fair to us to simply release a game where any of earlier features mentioned or even the bugs are so extremely damaging to the final product that it’s not only to the game’s detriment, it makes it unplayable; metaphorically or literally.