The Pokémon Company recently dropped a trailer for its upcoming game Pokémon Unite on YouTube, and fans aren’t happy with it. With over 150,000 dislikes and counting, it’s the most negatively-received announcement the Japanese entertainment giant has ever produced by far. But why all this hate?
Well, the outrage has less to do with the game itself and more with the way in which it was marketed. Hyped up for weeks with tons of extravagant promotional material, Unite seemed like it was going to be a monumental title that would turn this age-old franchise on its head. What fans got, though, was an online multiplayer game the likes of 2016’s disappointing Pokémon GO.
In case you aren’t familiar with the source material – which, even if you’re neither a kid nor a gamer, is highly unlikely – Pokémon is a multimedia empire centered around its titular monsters, which can battle each other for the amusement of their human owners. Dark though this premise may be, the concept skillfully appeals to our capitalistic collectors’ mentality.
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Of course, this isn’t the first time a video game developer has tried to make their next project appear as if it were bigger and better than it really is. Ever since the rise of E3, companies have polished up graphics and gameplay in their trailers, only to offer downgraded experiences in the finished product.
Most recently, Insomniac Games became the target of a public outrage when their upcoming PS5 title, Spider-Man: Miles Morales was revealed to be a small spinoff of 2018’s beloved Marvel’s Spider-Man, rather than a genuine sequel. Since the controversy began, Insomniac executives have offered more information on the game, while Sony spokespeople apologized for their misleading marketing strategies.