It’s fairly well known by now that Microsoft’s big Xbox reveal this week was a rather colossal disappointment. To say nothing of the comparative sparseness of anything pertaining to video games, or the over-abundance of sports and “mashing together all these other devices and services you already own into another device and service for you to own,” there was one thing that bugged me far more than I thought it would. That was the trailer for Quantum Break.
Right now I have no idea what the FMV/gameplay ratio is going to be, so I won’t debate that just yet (though I will say that gaming and watching TV are two vastly separate experiences for me — I’m either in a mindset to watch or to interact, and constantly switching back and forth between the two is a sure-fire way to kill my engagement, something I’ve learnt from years of overly-long or far too frequent cutscenes. Maybe the gameplay will be good enough to make up for that. Maybe the story will actually be interesting enough to be worth putting up with the back and forth. Or maybe Remedy truly will strike some sort of unholy balance between the two, and it will be the pinnacle of entertainment. Time will tell on that matter.)
The thing that irks me so is that the trailer just reeks of Bad Television; the kind of show that you just know wouldn’t make it to the end of its second season; the kind of show which attempts to hook viewers with a Big Mysterious Thing Happening™ which is then either drawn out for so long that when the reveal comes it has no hope of meeting its audience’s expectations or, worse yet, is never explained due to cancellation, or simply the fact that the writers never had a clue themselves; the kind of show which has become all too popular of late because it’s the most offensively easy way to draw in an audience and keep them watching as long as the Carrot of Potential Revelation is kept dangling there (to name a few off the top of my head, in no particular order, and with no intent to cast judgement upon the quality of any show beyond their use of this gimmick: Lost, Flash Forward, Touch, Terra Nova, Revolution, Awake, that other one with that one guy in it).
These kinds of shows have begun now — and I can think of no more accurate way to phrase this — to utterly weary me.
I am so very, very tired of them.
And now they are seeping their way into gaming as well.