The Phantom Revelation

March 29, 2013 by Tim

Not pictured: Then the internet kicks him in the balls and goes off to look at cat pictures.

I kind of feel bad that it’s so hard to surprise anyone in this day and age. Information gets thrown around so quickly, that it makes any sort of set-up or ruse on a massive scale just about impossible. Nobody gets to work on a big new game quietly and then unleash it on the world just a couple of months before release. We see everything coming years down the road. Secrets just don’t get kept.

More often than not it feels like I’m reading articles about “a source inside the company that wishes to remain nameless” spilling unrevealed details on whatever new game or game console. The new Hordes book, Gargantuans just came out, but a week or two before release, everything had already been spoiled. And of course, a shining example, the “Phantom Pain” game announcement at last year’s Spike awards.

Within an hour, the internet had torn it apart and had declared it to be the new Metal Gear Solid game. The evidence was pretty solid. The guy in the trailer looked like Snake. The game was being designed by “Joakim Mogren”, who nobody had ever heard of, and whose name was an anagram for “Kojima”. Produced by a studio nobody had ever heard of, Mobydick Gaming Studios (MGS). And of course the title sillhouette lines that appeared to correspond with Metal Gear Solid V.

Now, there’s certainly an argument to be made that Konami just really wasn’t trying to fool anyone. That the entire ruse was so obviously done that they can’t have expected anyone to not figure it out. Maybe that’s the case… and I won’t argue that it could have been more cryptic. But if so, what was the point of it to begin with?

I think they did hope to fool people… at the very least they have to have hoped that the plan would have lasted longer than it did, right? I mean, imagine if for the past few months, they had actually been able to trick people regarding this new upcoming game “The Phantom Pain”, to get people on board, and then when they were ready, completely blew us away with their big reveal. That would have had so much more of an impact regarding the game. That has to have been the “ideal” situation.

Instead the proverbial cat was out of the bag within hours of the original trailer, and so then instead of a long con, we got some awkward bits continuing to play along, like that “interview” with Joakim Mogren, and finally the huge trailer reveal/announcement that is a surprise to absolutely no one. I feel it’s like leading someone into a darkened house for their huge surprise birthday party, but all of the guests have simply parked their cars in the driveway.

It must be so frustrating for some of these companies who want to operate a reveal of their new project on their own terms, but lose out on that due to either rogue employees anonymously spilling details, or people combing through new domain name registrations, or even just the pressure from publishers to start building hype.

And that’s kind of too bad, because once in a while, it’s nice to be surprised. 

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