Entering Hype – erspace

First a confession. Nope, not that sort of confession… Despite all the talk of SW:TOR videos and the like being released, I haven’t actually seen one yet. Shame on me. Mostly because I read a lot of game news and blogs at lunchtime at work, and video sites like YouTube are blocked there. By the time I get home, either busy gaming, relaxing, or chores (boo!), and the video gets forgotten.

But having said that, I am reading a lot of reactions about the recent releases of Bioware’s forthcoming MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic. Some of which sound like the writers are on the verge of setting up a little shrine in their bedroom, complete with candles, incense, and little screen captures; perhaps a Boba Fett figurine or two.

It’s hard not to feel excited about this game, and I think that might be a little damaging at this early stage of development. Tobold makes a good point that this is exactly the road that Funcom and Mythic took with Age of Conan and Warhammer Online.

Those two games were hyped out the wazoo for a couple of years before the release. But ultimately, they failed to deliver on that hype. Warhammer came the closest, delivering a decent solid game, but falling short in a few areas — having said that, they’ve come a long way toward addressing those issues and Warhammer is looking good for the Land of the Dead — but Age of Conan failed to deliver everywhere except for Tortage.

The ironic thing is that hype can ruin an otherwise good thing. I’ve seen a few movies at the cinema that were hyped prior to release that I thought were terrible only to rewatch a few years later and realise that they were actually pretty good. If I’d gone in with lower expectations I probably would have enjoyed them a lot more.

So is Bioware setting SW:TOR up for a release day fall?

I do hope not. I believe they’ll deliver a pretty solid game. They’ve got the backing and resources of EA, and a team of developers skilled in making some pretty excellent single player RPGs through which they’ve shown they’re not afraid of trying new things. SW:TOR should be a great game.

But if Bioware do a poor job of managing expectations, and over-hype the game, they’re just setting themselves up for a lot of disappointed customers at release.

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