This morning several sites posted what appears to be a big plot point spoiler for Batman: Arkham City. I am not going to repost the links here but anyone with basic breathing skills should be able to find them no problem.
At first I was mighty pissed at the sites concerned (and still am with the ones who actually TWEETED the spoiler!) I have since learned that the coverage has come from a demo the media got to play of the game, and there were no restrictions on what could be covered.
So I now have to ask the question: What the fuck was RockSteady and WB Games thinking???
I have purposely stayed away from any Arkham City coverage since E3 because I want to go into the game pretty cold and enjoy every plot twist and turn thrown at me. While I am sure there are more plot points to come in the game that will be (hopefully) unspoiled, I am stunned by the lack of thought on the part of the publisher.
If you know anything about me then you know I have spent 16+ years as a Games PR rep and have launched some pretty big titles over the years. During that time the one constant with all my launches was to NEVER show anyone major plot points from a game.
As a gamer, discovering the storyline for myself is a huge part of the experience I adore, it’s like a movie or a book to me, I want that OMG moment as a character is killed, or turns bad or is Lukes father..damn, spoilers sorry.
This is where the PR team come in. PR is a vital part of the games publishing process and as I have said before, PR people get a lot of undeserved shit from people who have no clue how the job works. Perhaps this time however the shit is deserved?
The PR rep is the guardian of the game, the one charged with knowing a title inside out and figuring how to promote the game to the media in the best way possible to build hype. However the PR team have a responsibility to the consumer to make sure that when they slap down their cash for a game, they are getting the full experience they paid for.
Unfortunately there seems to be more people getting into PR who are nothing more than ‘yes’ men (& women), people don’t know how to steer a game to launch without bowing to every demand from a marketing hack or over eager dev. The people I used to work with in PR knew how to stand up and argue a point, and even if we lost the argument, we would go and slap an NDA (non disclosure agreement) onto any media who saw the game, detailing what they could and could not communicate.
Now we may never know who made the decision to show the demo of Arkham City and OK the reveal, so for now PR has to carry the can. Let this be a lesson for them to be smarter or grow bigger balls.