I'm really feeling it!

Staged Enthusiasm

The gameplay should’ve made me feel excited, but I couldn’t muster much enthusiasm because in the back of my head, all I could hear was “this is all staged.”

The dancing looked really fun, but all I could think about was how I have two left feet...

So a friend of mine reminded me that Sony’s E3 showcase was tonight (side note: hello from the past! Being written on Monday night) and I hastily tuned in to see this.


Alright, The Last of Us part 2, I may not have a PS4 but I can still appreciate the game! So I continued watching the pre-rendered cutscene, with thoughts such as “I can see more of Ashley Johnson in Ellie now” and “well this is sweet”.

And then the trailer did the kiss, spin around, and cut away to the gameplay segment.

Hiding in the bush, watching people die, saving my skin oh yeah.

Now, I must admit that the game looks really nice! Graphically it hits all the right boxes, the lighting from the fire looks warm, and the visceral brutality was horrifying (as it should be).

The gameplay kept going though.

Be wery, wery quiet. I’m hunting assholes.

We see Ellie traverse a dilapidated building, take down a bunch of hunters (I guess?), get shot at, move into different buildings, craft in battle, and then kill the remainder of her pursuers.

As a showcase it worked fine; it showed a few of the systems in place (e.g. crafting, picking up stray ammo) while also being exciting! Look at Ellie! She’s a bad ass!


The gameplay should’ve made me feel excited, but I couldn’t muster much enthusiasm because in the back of my head, all I could hear was “this is all staged.”

This shouldn’t be surprising at all! Most game previews (especially E3) are staged after all; they’re delicately crafted in order to provide an exciting slice of the game to get the audience excited to buy the game when its released.


Those words were stuck in my head though and I couldn’t shake them out. Since it was all staged, whatever was happening in the trailer probably wouldn’t be in the game, not a big deal, but certain “neat” moments were also fabricated solely for the preview, which is a bigger deal.

Case in point, this moment when Ellie pulls the arrow out of her shoulder.

Just a little...bit....more-ohtheworldisgoingwoozy!

Maybe this mechanic of pulling a splintered arrow will be in the final game, who knows! However, more often than not these little touches or moments are generally only in the preview builds made specifically for, well, the previews.

It’d be great if this was representative of the final product; depending on injuries Ellie would automatically do a contextual movement, so that she isn’t pulling out an arrow the same way she did it the last 10 times she got shot. However, thinking that it’s only in the previews really dulled any excitement I had because what I’m seeing is not what I’ll be getting.


There were a few other moments in the trailer that pulled me out of the moment.

Car slam looked brutally contextual.
Cocking the hammer....nice touch! Hope it’s in the released product!

Again, I have to state that maybe these things will be in the final product - and if they are then that’s great! These little touches are what makes games that much more engaging.


Though sometimes the previews don’t show a little addition, they show big set pieces that have a lot of potential...that gets lost in the final product.

Remember the Bioshock: Infinite E3 2011 gameplay demo?

What a set piece! Gun fights! Neat use of tears! Giant blimp! Sky rails that expanded the environment! That huge environment! Taking down a giant blimp!


There was so much potential there....instead what we got was a game with much smaller, narrower gunfights (in terms of environment). Oh and I guess one take-down-the-giant-blimp moment.

To me and others, Infinite was a pretty darn good game, but the potential in the E3 demo was so alluring that seeing it not materialize was just....to put it plainly, it sucked.


Seeing something have so much potential, only for it to not be realized is just plain demoralizing for both players and the game developers. The consumers don’t get to realize the hype that was dreamed of, and the developers are unable to fully implement their desires into the game they’re making. It’s a losing situation on both sides of the spectrum (probably more so on the developers side).

Now, truth be told, so far E3 hasn’t been that exciting for me personally. Cyberpunk 2077 and Beyond Good and Evil 2 had neat trailers, but no sign of a release date. Meanwhile, other reveals may have elicited excitement from the audience (e.g. Kingdom Hearts 3, Devil May Cry 5, Anthem) but I’m not invested in those properties (anymore). The new IPs look intriguing, but there wasn’t enough to form a solid opinion other than “neat” (admittedly, “Control” from Remedy and “Déraciné” from FromSoftware look cool, but there’s little story to be gleamed from the trailers so far).


I’m more excited for Nintendo because...it’s Nintendo, it has a lot of potential for fun, but I really hope there aren’t too many staged gameplay demos. Just nice trailers interspersed with gameplay is good, thanks.

Are you as bored by staged demos as I am? What trailer led you to think the game had so much potential, only to be let down with the final product? Tell me below!

Share This Story