Game PR Catchphrases: What They Really Mean
We've all experienced it before. You're reading a gaming magazine or website when you come across a quote from a PR guy or developer that's trying to create buzz for his game. He uses a phrase that makes some aspect of the title sound totally bonerific, but upon closer inspection you realize that the quote is absolutely meaningless.
For most of us these comments have no effect, but some people might fall for them because they're new gamers or hopeless optimists.
I managed to steal the thread and turn it into a Comedy Goldmine. Thank you Corin and the game forum crew!
Quote: "No two gamers will have the same experience. If you talk about this game with a friend, it'll be like you were playing completely different games."
Indicates: This will be the most open-ended and replayable game you've ever played. We have discovered the inner workings of chaos itself, and have duplicated it in this game.
True Meaning: In Super Mario Brothers, you might run ten steps and then jump over a turtle. Your friend might run right into a turtle without jumping at all. What's that? Another friend jumped ON TOP OF the turtle? We managed to capture that same sort of magic.
Quote: "The game should be about 80 hours long for most gamers. Our best testers managed to beat it in 60."
Indicates: Lots of game for your buck. You should definitely buy instead of renting.
True Meaning: Our testers get paid by the hour. The game will be five hours long; three if you hold down the A button through the dialogue which mostly consists of "..."
Quote: "(name of title) is a (genre) game with stealth-based elements that blend seamlessly to create an experience unlike anything you've ever seen."
Indicates: This isn't just a straight-up action title. You'll need to employ caution and strategy in situations that arise naturally from the core gameplay. The stealth will make sense, and won't pull you out of the gaming experience or make you ask yourself, "why am I doing this, and when can I get back to the good part?"
True Meaning: You're gonna want a melonballer nearby so you can scoop your own heart out and end your suffering. Sure it's a football game, but stealth is REALLY selling games right now and we think hiding behind the Gatorade cooler for ten minutes while waiting for the coach to walk past you will win us some favorable comparisons with Splinter Cell.
Quote: "It's a little bit like [mega successful franchise] meets [other mega successful franchise] but with our own twist."
Indicates: This game is a hybrid of 2 incredibly popular titles, giving gamers what they want while adding new content as well!
True Meaning: This game is a pile of shit that may or may not resemble one the genres of one of the games it "borrows" from and will most likely contain all of the problems of said games.
Quote: "We went back to the previous titles in the series and took out the elements that really made those games what they were, then we refined them and refined them. The outcome is (name of game), a truly innovative game that sticks to its roots.”
Indicates: Instead of being simply a rehash of the earlier titles, this will be a wholly new game that builds on the successes of the previous games, removes the failures, and adds new and innovative features.
True Meaning: The one title where they didn't rehash earlier titles didn't sell well, so this will simply be a rehash of earlier titles.
Quote: "It's a sequel to last year's bestselling game, with an all-new engine and great new features!"
Indicates: We decided to improve on every aspect of our previous game and release a sequel with new content that will be far more fun than last year's game.
True Meaning: The same game on the same engine with some buggy additions and some new maps that aren't as good.
Quote: "...with advanced artificial intelligence that learns as you play, which pushes the frontier of real-time strategy games!"
Indicates: The developers spent a lot of time and effort developing a complicated set of AI algorithms to incorporate a form of "turing test" into their game mechanics, meaning the computer opponent will give the experience of playing a RTS game against a real person.
True Meaning: The developers allow the AI to map hack, meaning it knows where your bases are and sends over troops in groups or one-by-one to your base or troops. Also, the developers know you will get sick of the stale single-player game and play online exclusively.
Quote: "We've listened to what gamers are saying, and we're going to deliver. Gamers know what they want."
Indicates: This company really cares about gamers, and they've seen the light. Instead of sticking to their own designs stubbornly, they'll see how good the general public's ideas really are.
True Meaning: We fired that really awesome lead designer. Instead of having true direction, this game is going to be drawn and quartered by the six thousand directions people want their games to go in. You're all idiots. Have fun with your shooter/rpg/completely open-ended/expertly written/realistic/over-the-top/co-op train simulator.