When it comes to pure, white hot hype, the days leading up to E3 are a fleet of ships. Each one fueled by the speculation of its passengers as they sail closer towards their destination. But like Titanic, the ships have sprung many leaks, and are taking on more and more water each day. In the day and age of the 24-hour news cycle, leaks will undoubtedly happen.
We saw it in 2016 with Assassin’s Creed: Origins. A 4chan user revealed Ubisoft was taking a year off from releasing the next installment in the series. Then, a few days before E3 2017, a screenshot containing the game’s Egypt location leaked. Just this week Ubisoft confirmed Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and its ancient Greece setting after a leak of a game-themed key chain hit the web.
While this type of leak gave Ubisoft no choice but to confirm the game’s existence, other publishers and developers are taking it one step further. One step that is actually too far. Like a captain purposefully playing tag with an iceberg, Sony announced it will reveal three new titles before E3. The reveals which start on June 6 and stretch until June 10 involve both PS4 and PS VR.
I understand wanting to tease things before an event like E3 to get ahead of leaks, but to quote the Messenger in 300, “This is madness!” Having covered E3 for the past four years, I can say the hype is already there. Why hamper it? Why not just ignore any leaks that come off as rumors and pure speculation?
Unless there is a photo that legitimizes a game’s existence, you can do that. Nintendo knows the hype is already there and outside of releasing a trailer for Super Smash Bros back in March, they have released no information. No roster info, no release date, and no other info about other games. Why?
Simply because they know people will be glued to their seats during its Nintendo Direct: E3 2018 broadcast. They know the work of the people who put its broadcast together is worth more than being scared into confirming a rumor. Let alone one that is not even out there. Companies revealing games before E3 without reason is like a parent telling their kid they got a bike for Christmas even though the kid did not see the box it came in, or dad or mom putting it together.
Let fans of video games have fun in discussing the possibilities of what is to come at E3. Speculation is key. Not just in terms of getting people to watch your conference, but it also brings people together. Whether it is on a message board or in person, getting together and guessing if we are gonna see Metroid Prime 4 gameplay is part of the E3 excitement. The more you sink vessels out of fear, the less and less people are going to get on them.
Now I’m not saying the expo will ever go away. But if video game companies follow this trend and release more and more, what’s the point of their conferences? Sure there might be some news and footage that will be revealed during the conference that was not pre-released. But the internet exists and people can watch the trailers and footage on their own time. Ubisoft and Assassin’s Creed always have issues with leaks, hopefully the rest of the industry does not try to plug leaks that are not there.