With the recent news of the changes possibly in store for E3, many are jumping in weighing opinions, trying to figure out “what really happened” and speculating at the future of games trade shows. It seems that the returns are no longer justifying the expense of attending and showing at E3. I don’t doubt it. As the booths have gotten bigger and louder and shinier, the attendees have gotten worse and worse cases of overstimulation. It seems that the parties on the displaying end of things are looking for less hype.
Less hype? Fantastic. I don’t care if a game isn’t finished when I see it. I’d rather hear about the plan behind the game, the people behind the game. I feel like I can better judge a game from the ideas for the game as a whole from the lips of the folks designing and building the game than from a polished and polished again four minute demo reel. Perhaps my ego has gotten the better of me.
But, rewinding a bit here, why is there a wall between press and developer? Well, I think the press and the gamers are largely to blame on that count. We sometimes have this naughty little habit of taking for gospel things shared about a game that are just ideas on a board or in the development pipeline. In reality, we should not take anything about a game as fact until it’s gone gold. Period. We need to learn this lesson. I know I frequently start writing an article with one intention and halfway through I learn something new or come to a sudden realization, and the direction of the article changes. It just happens from time to time.
But our little industry is growing up. And so the discourse on our little industry is growing up. Hopefully the way in which we interact with each other can change soon. Hopefully that will lead to more open communication between developers/publishers and press. Because, you see, I have no desire to tear down a game or the people behind it. I like games. I’m not interested in poking holes in them. I respect the people that make them. I don’t want to destroy anyone’s character or reputation.
I know these are scary changes, pulling down the PR wall, just a bit; talking about the good things in games; seeking out stories behind games, not just dwelling on every bit of technical detail mentioned about a game. But, we cannot fear change. We are too young and have too far to go to do so.