Monday, December 16, 2013

Fallout 4 rumors, hoaxes, ruined dreams, etc

As you can tell by the title, I'm going to talk a bit about GTA V.

Wait. No I'm not.

Right, the recent Fallout 4 teaser-site-turned-hoax, The Survivor 2299 and its subsequent fallout (see what I did there?) when proved to be a fraud. From the start, I was skeptical at best, with some underlying hope that the site was an actual tease, especially in combination with the European "Fallout 4" trademark, which, alongside a "Half Life 3" trademark... also turned out to be fake. Let's focus on the hope part first. I could believe it because Bethesda is a smart company and they are usually smart when teasing a game. Something like this would be right up their alley. Upon discovery, I immediately thought about the teaser site for Call of Duty: Black Ops, which slowly gave more and more details of the game leading up to its reveal. Plus, Bethesda revealed Skyrim at the Spike VGAs (now VGX) back in 2010. So yeah, I had probable cause to buy into it, and I could understand how others could have as well.

But at the same time, another part of me called the site on its BS immediately. From a quick glance, its obvious that the site was created by an amateur. The formatting was a bit off, and really, anything on that site could easily be done by one with some basic knowledge of HTML and JavaScript. The COD: BO site was very complex in comparison. I know it was just a teaser site, but take a look at the Elder Scrolls website or the Bethesda Blog. They have people who can code pretty well. It's just uncharacteristic of a company that holds themselves to high standards of website building to use such simple code, even for a teaser.

Anyway, let's move away from my ego-driven rant on how I could tell the site was a hoax, and focus on how the site's exposure as a hoax affects the Fallout community, and really gamers in general. First off, no negative feelings should be harbored toward Bethesda for this. They had no involvement in any of that. The only thing I could point out is the fact that they didn't debunk it immediately. There are some further implications of that, but I'll save that for last. Anyway, if you're reading this, odds are you saw how much press this teaser got. In typical media fashion, it was overblown and presented to the average consumer as fact, not the unconfirmed teaser that it was. Everyone did at least one news article or video on it, bringing more attention to it, which is exactly what the hoaxer wanted. Expectations were set high, and tempers flared when those expectations were not met. That's gonna be remembered in the future. Legitimate teaser sites will get less press than the developers were hoping for because of this hoax. Gamers will adopt a more pessimistic view on teasers and teaser sites, unless the developer confirms the teaser and just straight up reveals their game, thus ruining the point of a teaser in the first place. So really, this sets a negative precedent toward future teasers, for Fallout 4 and beyond.

But take heart, my friends. Not everything about the situation is terrible and depressing.

Around the same time as The Survivor 2299 was debunked, casting documents, supposedly for Fallout 4, were leaked to Kotaku, who confirmed it as legit. Read about it over at Kotaku, it's got some interesting info, including confirming Boston as the setting... if it's legit. The hoaxer claimed he just wanted to force Bethesda to reveal something. Maybe it was just good timing, or maybe he actually succeeded. Maybe that's why Bethesda didn't immediately strike the teaser site down, because they were planning on revealing something anyway and could use the extra attention.


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