Wow. What a whirlwind Blue Box Game Studios has led us on this past week. With just a few cryptic tweets, a mysterious app, a mysterious game, and lots of explained but at the same time bizarre delays, BBGS had horror fans and regular gamers alike frothing at the mouth for a peek at what Abandoned really is. Is it Silent Hill? Perhaps Metal Gear? Is Hideo Kojima involved? The answer is: we still don’t know, and may never know.
I won’t go over the whole history of Blue Box Game Studios and Abandoned’s strange announcement (a simple google search of the studio or game will send you hurtling down the rabbit hole), but after a week that honestly felt like a fever dream of tweets and deleted tweets and hype and confusion, and irritation, and disappointment, BBGS finally updated their PS5 Realtime Experience App to a whole lot of nothing. Gamers were treated to a screen of blank boxes with promises of more to come, even a playable prologue, whatever that even means at this point. Sure, there is one video up there at the time of writing, but it lasts 4 seconds and was spoiled by the developer themselves on their own Twitter page 3 days ago. Hardly an exciting reveal, and a real slap in the face to people following this chaos all week.
At this point, how the rest of this goes down and how the general public will respond to this game will be anyone’s guess. In order for this game to succeed, it will have to be decent, be huge and AAA, be connected to Kojima or possibly all three combined. I can only feel more disappointment in our future.
Thus we get to the crux of my feelings towards all of this zany nonsense, the disappointment. It is something the industry and its many gamers have been struggling with for a while now and especially this past year and a half. The incredible and impossible highs of hype and expectation that could never be met, brought crashing down with inevitable reality.
We’ve all been there. E3, a Nintendo Direct, a Sony Showcase/State of Play. We go in with such high and wild expectations, and lie to ourselves even when companies say so-and-so game will not be at the showing, that we create this endless void of disappointment so vast that we sulk in it for days. We’re all guilty of it, this writer especially. “Maybe this showcase will be like Sony’s 2016 E3 and we’ll get Bloodborne 2 and God of War 2 and Silent Hill and Metal Gear Solid.” Or, “Maybe this E3 Nintendo will finally show us Bayonetta 3”. Cue agonizing disappointment.
Blue Box Game Studios and Abandoned have shown me how out of control we are willing to get as community. The insanity of holding on to every shred of evidence or coincidence or controversy; the endless conspiracy videos on YouTube. It has shown me a side of not just our community but myself that honestly sickens me to the core. I sat here for 3 days, every couple of hours, refreshing Blue Box Game Studios Twitter page, waiting and waiting and waiting for any shred of news regarding an update that turned out to mostly be a whole bunch of nothing. I watched YouTubers go live and just sit there with an audience, keeping them entertained (which is actually impressive in its own right), doing the same thing I was: waiting.
How did we get here? Where the waiting game and the hype is better than the game about to be shown? Where our own imaginations and fan theories are more exciting than what we inevitably get in the end? Today, I believe I felt more embarrassed at myself than I ever have when it came to this hobby of mine. I let myself believe we were actually going to learn some real information, that this studio and its trolling and bizarre tweets and delays would really change course for the better. As always, I stewed in the hype sauna for far too long.
And lets be honest with ourselves, none of us were unbelievably hyped for Abandoned for Abandoned’s sake, we were hyped at the possibility, the slim possibility, that this game really is Silent Hills or that Kojima really is involved. We could care less about any new IP until it earned its right to be hyped about, if it ever does.
Hype restraint is something I hope to practice in in the future, and I hope you will all join me. The hype becoming more important than the game itself doesn’t just hurt us, it can hurt the developers too, who work tirelessly to see their collective dream become a reality. Go into that next direct or showcase with an open mind, your expectations on the ground, and you’ll begin to see gaming in a different light. Take tweets at face value and be surprised when a developer says “Gotcha!” I think only then will we begin to see ourselves take a minute to breathe.
This piece may not age gracefully. It could be Abandoned does turn out to be Silent Hill. After all, the brief clip does have some Silent Hill vibes and many people commented on how the snippet of music that accompanies the clip is very Akira Yamaoka-esque…and there I go again. Look how easy it is to get sucked back in with just an innocent off-the-cuff thought. Be better my friends. Resist the urge to over-hype, we’ll all be better for it in the end, I promise you.