Monday, September 3, 2012

Hype Can Kill

Everyone knows that when you release a new product, you want good first day sales.  You want to come out of the gate running and just keep going.  How do you do that?  Hype.  You see it all the time with movies and video games.  "Coming Soon" is common common place.

Too little hype and nothing happens, but what happens when you're on the other end of the scale?

Think of the game Duke Nukem Forever.   12 years this game was in development, 12 years people were talking about it.  We had pictures, game footage, trailers, Q&A from developers.  By the time the game was released, the Hype was outrageous.  The number one vaporware game was about to actually be released, holy crap.   But when it came out it met poor reviews and sales tanked.  No one liked the game.  How did this happen?

Well to tell that, we have to compare the game to it's predecessor, Duke Nukem 3D.  It was a vulgar with swearing, nudity, drug use, and violence.  People loved it, it's a classic.  DNF was just as good, if not better then DN3D.  It fit perfectly with the style.  DNF was exactly what you would expect if someone make a Duke game 12 years latter.  So how did it fail?

The hype.  There was so much hype that it was physically impossible to live up to it.  No human could make a game that lived up to that kind of hype.

Same thing happened to Halo 3.  The commercials were amazing.  They told a story of humanity struggling to survive.  There was so much emotion, so much loss that you could almost think the world was actually on the brink.  But then the game came out and it was just a shoot-em-up.  Compared to Halo 1 or Halo 2, it was a great game.  Compared to the hype, it sucked.

Now, on to the point: Doctor Who?

Ever since the new Doctor Who started to air, the true name of the doctor was displayed as some kind of dark and scary thing.  Something that could change entire worlds at just the mere utterance.  "The question will be asked at the fall of the eleventh."  "Silence must fall when the question is asked."  "Do you want to know what the question is?  Doctor Who?"

I could keep going.  The Doctor himself explained to Martha Jones that names have power.  The director said that they intentionally made the name this mysterious and dangerous thing from the beginning of the ninth doctor.

There is so much mystery, so much emotion, so much hype around the name and what will happen when the question is asked; is it even physically possible for Matt Smith's reign as the Doctor to end on a high note?

Long story short: beware how much hype is in the market.  Too much and it will crush you.

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