Quick time events: are they a useful gaming mechanic or unnecessary pain?
EA Reviews Its Own Game, Battlefield 4, Is Surprisingly Positive About It
You know, I think we should thank EA.
I, being the modern day consumer, was browsing my Youtube feed (watching one of the many hilarious and educational videos on Leviathyn’s Youtube channel, which you should totally subscribe to plugplugplug) when I saw a “featured video” that caught my interest. For those who don’t know, “featured videos” are advertisements for videos that the creator feels would be particularly relevant to a certain, targeted audience. I get a lot of gaming videos show up in those slots, for instance, because I watch a lot of gaming-related videos on Youtube.
The advertisement was entitled “Battlefield 4 Review”, which struck me immediately curious because, to my knowledge, Battlefield 4 wasn’t coming out for at least another six months. I briefly entertained the possibility that I had entered some kind of time warp and had suddenly traveled to Q4 2013, or perhaps entered a rapid-onset six month coma.
The video is fairly inconspicuous, actually entitled “Battlefield 4 Insider Impressions-iPwnstar4hire“. It’s hosted on the official Battlefield 4 Youtube channel, which I felt was a little strange at first. Then I saw the logic, why not review your own game? I mean, certainly the company that made the game knows it best, right? It’s also unlisted (meaning you can’t see it unless you click on the ad), probably because of all the hot embargo breaking details.
Or maybe it’s because the Battlefield Youtube channel wants to hide the video from everyone who isn’t the very specifically targeted audience that the ad showed up for. Wait, no, that’s just crazy talk!
“And I had a little lapse in time, I had a little moment where I stepped outside of myself…I found myself emotionally attached to the game in a way I never had before.”
-Battlefield 4’s Official Youtube Channel On Battlefield 4
Watching the actual video, it becomes apparent that the host, iPwnstar4Hire, (which, completely coincidentally, sounds like the name a bunch of marketing people would come up with when asked “what’s the most generic Youtuber name imaginable?”) certainly likes the game. Comparing his reaction pre-reveal (it’s worth noting that his “review” of the game is seemingly based on the same non-playable demo journalist received at GDC) to that of a “child on Christmas morning, awaiting the presents that I had hoped for”, Pwnstar spends most of his 1 and a quarter minute review gushing about the game. Noting the game is equipped with the “brand-new and updated Frostbite 3 engine”, Pwnstar seems particularly impressed with the graphics, praising the various details included in the environment without the smallest hint of hyperbole.
His highlight of the demo was a moment in which the character ran over an enemy, then killed the hostile’s ally with a machine gun. The moment was apparently so emotionally powerful for iPwnstar4Hire that he felt an out-of-body experience, apparently born out of jealousy that the demo-er was getting to play such an amazing game while he had to sit there, watching and taking notes for his six-month early review. This is what “new games journalism” should be, folks.
So, in conclusion, thank you EA. Thank you for cutting the middle-man out of unbiased game reviews, while simultaneously being so incredibly timely with your video. I think it’s an amazing sign of your confidence in your potential audience, that you feel they will be so willing and acceptful to your policy of reviewing your own games.
And the way to try to hide it from anyone who isn’t in that specific audience (and would potentially take issue with you giving seemingly un-biased buying advice on your own game)? Brilliant.