I'm sure many of you have seen the fiasco brewing about the next generation Madden game not looking as good as the trailer that was paraded around a few months ago.
I won't go into details, 1UP did a great job of that already. Instead, I'll point out why our expectations were so collectively high. As it turns out, the only thing that really ended up being high are the marketing teams at Electronic Arts.
Come on, EA never really said that Madden would look as good as that commercial, did they?
The good news, if we are to believe EA's marketing staff, is that they claim the game as it exists in development right now looks even better than the footage in this commercial. One comment thrown around during the presentation was how one staff member working on the game didn't want this video to be shown at all since he didn't think it did the game justice. The company is setting up some lofty expectations, to be sure.
The 60 second ad will only air once during the broadcast, but promises to deliver "the photo-realistic graphics and heart-pounding football intensity that is the essence of the EA Sports; branded next generation Madden NFL football game, and representative of what game players everywhere will be able to play when the next generation of videogame consoles come to market."
Well, maybe the replays will look that good, but not gameplay. Right?
The entire commercial shares a uniform look, so it's not like there were certain moments meant to represent real gameplay and others to represent CG -- the idea is that this is all gameplay, or at least as close as the company is willing to show so far.
It probably looks so bad cause they are using PS2 motion captures and assets.
Though EA wouldn't reveal many specific at all about the gameplay in Madden NFL Next-Gen, they confirmed that there is a completely separate team working on the next-gen version than on the console versions, and that there are no shared assets or resources (presumably beyond the obvious licensing, marketing, etc.) between the two teams. So there should be distinct differences between the console Madden 2006 games and the Next-Gen game, though we wouldn't be surprised to see some crossover in the feature sets between the games.
So, where does the truth lie? The only way we are able to tell is when we have Next-Gen madden in our hot little hands. As it is shaping up though, it looks more and more like the marketing team over at Electronic Arts has been lying out of their bunghole about the quality of their upcoming product. Sony did the same with the Killzone video at E3, boldly telling everyone that it was real gameplay footage.
What does this say about the industry, where expectations are set so high that the only way companies are able to meet them is through lying, which in turn sets expectations even higher?