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How a Timely Video Can Make or Break a Game

By William Murphy on February 12, 2015 | TGN Army | Comments

How a Timely Video Can Make or Break a Game

With Wednesday’s news about the layoffs at Daybreak Game Company (formerly SOE), including Dave Georgeson and Linda Brasse, we started thinking. There could be any number of reasons those two were let go, but being some of the highest profile members of SOE’s staff causes alarm. We were reminded of SOE Live just this past year, the bits of EverQuest Next info we were given… and why it just wasn’t enough for the press or the fans.

After the tease that was the announcement of EQ Next, the grandiose promises the game has set for itself, and the slowness at which we’ve been shown any concrete details… well, it’s made us realize that we’re in a day and age where talking and words about a game do far less to sway public opinion than a good solid video.

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Perhaps one day we’ll learn more about Dave and Linda’s leaving the studio, and the full reasons behind the parting.  But one reason I keep coming back to, and this is totally just me grasping here, is that perhaps all is not well in EverQuest Next’s development, nor the development of the franchise as a whole. Perhaps the new brass have very different ideas for the future of Norrath, and ideas that Dave (more so than Linda, who mainly handled community manners) was not in agreement with.

It feels like it’s been ages since we first heard about EQN, and even longer since we got any real semblance of information about the game. We know the core ideals, and a few classes, but by and large SOE/Daybreak has seemed far more content to work on H1Z1 and Landmark than its flagship franchise. There was a time back in 2004 when WoW and EverQuest were neck and neck. You were in one of two camps leading up to the launch of those games. EQ was the granddaddy of the 3D MMORPG, and everyone expected it to trounce Blizzard’s first entry into the genre.

But it didn’t. And EverQuest as a franchise has never recovered.

EverQuest Next, still one of our site’s most anticipated games even with its future looking bleak and uncertain, was heralded as a new dawn not just for Norrath, but for the MMORPG genre. The problem is, we’ve seen so very little proof that the game can and will achieve the goals outlined by Georgeson two years ago. And that’s where we come to my point for this little ramble…

Having good solid video evidence that your game can and does do all the many things you claim it can, will go a long way for the community and media at large to have faith in your product. Just the same, having little to show but a few small samples will make people question your progress.

It’s also true that showing your work off too early can hurt your product’s potential adoption rates, as “first impressions” reign supreme. By way of a for instance, Warhammer 40K: Eternal Crusade has a long way to go to impress upon its potential customers that the game will look as good as or better than 2013’s Space Marine.

In the age of Youtube, attention is harder to come by than ever. And when you’re ready to show the world your goods, you’d better be sure it’s your best.  You can talk and interview until your developers’ mouths are dry and cracked. But if you really want to make an impact? Show us how the game plays, and let that video do the talking.

William Murphy / Bill is the Managing Editor of MMORPG.com, and lover of all things gaming. He''s been playing and writing about MMOs and geekery since 2002. Be sure to follow him on Twitter for all of his pointless rambling.