I do not envy anyone working in any sort of public relations, whether it’s in video games or elsewhere. It’s a thankless job that no one notices — that is, until you’ve mucked it all up, in which case people won’t stop with the rude gestures and name-calling until well after you’ve nestled yourself firmly into the sadness trench that you dug out back.
With the advent of the internet and social media, the last few years have been especially rough. Between things like NeoGAF, Twitter, and YouTube, any negative story can run away from a games company in what feels like an instant (and lasts what feels like an eternity).
We’re taking a look at some of the biggest video game PR nightmares of the last ten years. Not necessarily to shake our heads in disdainful disapproval, but in the hope of this somehow reaching relevant parties so that they can learn from their mistakes. And big mistakes they are, hoo boy.
Killzone 2’s E3 2005 Target Footage
For the uninitiated, bullshots are when a game company releases screenshots of an unreleased title that look just a little too good. They’ve been around for a good while, but Sony and Guerrilla Games took it a step further by releasing a trailer for the upcoming PS3 title Killzone 2 at 2005’s E3 that seriously overshot what the final product would look like.
The footage looked damn fine, but it proved too good to be true. Hell, the footage was never matched or exceeded until the release of Killzone: Shadow Fall on PS4. It’s weird that anyone involved with the game felt the need to embellish the game at all, because the final game looked pretty great on its own. Not as great as the target footage, but still amongst one of the best looking games of the time.
The lesson here is to simply let the product speak for itself. It will take less than a day after the game releases before word spreads that you were misleading everyone, so why even risk the firestorm?
Alas, things would get worse for Sony before they got better.