It’s a completely reasonable question that has crossed my mind a number of times. Ubisoft are once again the company to bring this thought to the forefront of thinking as Assassins Creed: Unity isn’t exactly the same looking as the first reveal footage. It also happened with Watchdogs which became a big topic. Watchdogs suffered a rather large downgrade over it’s initial reveal footage said to be next gen. So gamers were immediately disappointed when they seen the final product wasn’t the same quality shown off months before launch. Even The Division is being presumed to suffer a downgrade by some sceptical gamers who refuse to trust Ubisoft again. But it isn’t just Ubisoft hitting with downgraded titles and many companies use tweaked promotional shots that look better than the actual product. Kind of like how McDonalds advertises a burger looking tantalising and perfect and the actual in hand consumption looks miserable, like someone has been sitting on it. It’s not just visuals, often it’s also misleading performance promises. Framerates running lowing than hoped and just a generally unpolished feel. And it isn’t just Ubisoft. A whole host of publishers use these practices to market their games.
The same could be said for CG reveal trailers that show the vision of the game that looks nothing like what the actual IP will end up looking like. Ubisoft again particularly like to use these to promote it’s games.
If I had a a say, personal I would put an end to CG trailers as some fans, especially with some of today’s graphics, can get tripped up. And think that the CG trailer is the actual game they will be player come release. It’s nice to see such a high fidelity sceptical but they can be quite deceptive which is why they often say something like “not representative of gameplay” at the start or end of them. But essentially, these trailers are pointless and will only end up disappointing you when you’re expecting to see a game even remotely similar. Live action, although quite similar isn’t really as big a problem because it’s just like making a film based on the videogame and there isn’t really any chance of not knowing that it’s real life shot footage of actors prancing about in ridiculous costume designs.
It’s hard to say whether “ResolutionGate” has anything to do with some of the downgrades but it’s often the case that games are often shown running on a more powerful PC said to be running at console specs. Yet the console build somehow ends up running worse. Either they didn’t anticipated how hard it was going to be to develop for the consoles or the PC they were using to first run the game on was way more powerful and they over exaggerated the resulting visual package.
If companies show off game footage at trade events, that should be what the game actually will look like when it ships. Many fans watch these shows and get excited at how amazing the games can look on stage but it’s sometimes lying to the public when the release product is noticeably different. I understand that companies want to wow the audience and sell their product but they need to be more transparent and give people a product more along the lines of what they were expecting.
It’s a frustrating problem that hopefully diminishes as this generation goes on but even still, it’s deceptive marketing and an issue that needs addressing with some form of a resolution.