If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Last week a mysterious video appeared on Facebook showing what is assumed to be the next game in the Assassin's Creed series, Assassin's Creed Revelations. It was quickly pulled, but not before teh internets grabbed it and posted it up for all to see. So rather than try to stuff the cat back in the bag with litigation or magic or something, Ubisoft has reactivated the Facebook page for this new title, including some tantalizingly ambiguous videos. The page is here, but if you don't want to screw around with Facebook, here's what you're missing:
Hmmm. Not a whole lot there, but the imagery seems to suggest that Altair will somehow be involved in whatever this is. Which honestly, is kind of a disappointment for me. Don't get me wrong, I liked Altair as a protagonist. I mean, he wasn't exactly deep or nuanced, but he got the job done. Ezio on the other hand remains an extremely interesting and well developed character, that I'll probably never forget. I just thought that for the next game, we'd be moving forward in Desmond's timeline and get to see the world through the eyes of a whole new assassino. But maybe I'm getting ahead of myself. The videos above don't exactly say much outside of, you know ... nothing at all. But really what I want to talk about is this Facebook shit, of which I have had enough.
When I loaded up Dragon Age II I was positively horrified at the fact that, in order to get one of the bonus items, you had to 'Like' Dragon Age II on Facebook. I remember grudgingly hitting the 'Like' button only to have one of my friends call me up a few minutes later and say 'I didn't know you liked Dragon Age.' To which I replied:
'I don't really, I just hit the button to get the item.'
Which is what makes me so upset about this social media creep that seems to be starting to occur in the games industry. Take the Assassin's Creed videos for example. In order to see any of this content you have to hit 'Like' on the Assassin's Creed Facebook page. Then once you've seen the ambiguous trailer, the site encourages you to bug other people via email, Facebook, and Twitter. But it's not just bugging because you think what you saw is cool. The site monitors how many people are pestering other people and promises to unlock a new trailer once we're all sufficiently fed up and sick of ourselves. It is one thing to give people a way to show their friends cool stuff, but rewarding the average Joe for voluntarily spamming people is downright atrocious.
But that's not the worst part. If this catches on, eventually services like Facebook will become useless. Why? Because you'll never be able to tell if anyone really is a fan of Band X or Movie Y or whether they just hit the 'Like' button so they could see the trailer, or get the preorder bonus, or whatever other carrot these assholes can think up to stick in front of our noses.
Maybe it doesn't really matter in the long run, but 'Project $10' has shown us that if a video game company can get away with doing something unpleasant, they generally will. What do you guys think? Am I overreacting? Will you be tweeting your friends so that you can see the new trailer? Why not right? I mean it worked for the Potato Sack ... oh wait, no it didn't.