Hi Fi RushA game built around concepts pure joy, last week was remarkable for two things. one, It’s really, really good! And two, it achieved that rarest of video game feats: a successful surprise release.
By surprise I mean absolute surprise. Nobody knew a minute’s play exist, later it was available to download and play on Xbox and PC In this, The Year of Our Lord 2023, how often does this happen… in anything? somewhere? Never, how many times!
As a result the game doesn’t feel like a breath of fresh air, it feels like a gust of wind blowing us off our feet, and while I don’t want to begrudge any aspect of the game when I talk about its success, let’s be honest. Here: This game feels so fresh not only because it’s an amazing game, but because of a drawn-out marketing campaign that hasn’t dried up in 12 months.
What I mean here is not to directly insult anyone who works in video game marketing: you have a job to sell video games, and for the most part, people who do are doing a very good job. Whether it’s putting together blockbuster trailers or chatting with (potential) fans on social media, it’s a tough job and for the most part I completely understand and sympathize, especially since the system they’re operating within — selling games on Shopfronts are abuzz with pre-orders and wishlist-It claims.
But I am not responsible for an ad campaign. I, like you, am on the receiving end thousands of Between them, simultaneously, everywhere we look. From previews on major sites from YouTube to Twitter to anyone interested in video games on the Internet, Discord is under siege from the second we log in to the second we log off. Here’s a thing, pre-order it, learn more about this thing, pre-order it.
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I’ve covered this My Death is blood Before the story piece, but video game marketing has always had a certain predilection. Not in terms of specific aspects of their campaigns—a AAA blockbuster obviously has a different marketing budget than a small indie release—but the way they can often guarantee to leave us feeling exhausted.
It is not enough that we are shown the world, genre and premise of a game We need to tell the back story of each main character. Shown as a lore explainer for the world. We are told how many lines of dialogue the script has, how many thousands of hours it will take to finish, who each voice actor is. We’re conditioned, and in many cases expectant, to be fans of a game we haven’t played yet at release. which of course whole point.
Imagine, if nowhere appeared, Hi Fi Rush A traditional Bethesda marketing campaign was under way. As it was unveiled at The Game Awards in December 2021, its brilliance was dimmed by the weight of bigger, more expensive games. Imagine being subjected to Chai’s worst line as part of a character reveal trailer on YouTube instead of warming up his fry-from-futurama-esque charms throughout the opening of the game. If the game was able to take so much pleasure in expressing its cast and world on its own terms, would we have already had it spoiled for us by the Meet Project Armstrong documentary?
Sucked! The game itself would still have been great, of course, but much of the joy of discovery that accompanied its release, a modern-day schoolyard buzz, would have been lost. To be clear, as I’ve already said, I say none of this to shame any particular staff, studio, or organization involved in the marketing of any other video game. There is no tree problem here. It’s jungle.
which makes Hi Fi Rush So special it’s one of the only games that can get away with it. Note I’m not calling for an end to video game marketing here, or saying that more games should try it, because the former would be pointless (it’s a big forest!) and the latter would be reckless advice. a lot Hi Fi Rush Feels like a remastered GameCube game, and unlike anything else out there, it was developed by a famous AAA studio and published by Bethesda, then released on Xbox Game Pass so people could try it for “free”. It was perhaps blessed to be the only possible combination of style, scope and pedigree that could even afford to attempt it, let alone hope to pull it off.
I don’t want to say that Hi Fi Rush to be a example. I just want to say that we should all appreciate this game for what it is and how it came to us, because in both cases the circumstances are as perfect as we could ever hope for them to be, and we can never see them lining up like this again. Nice, but something like a good video game surprise is nice.
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