I love E3 time. While I may question the continued relevance that the show itself has moving forward, there’s no denying the fever pitch of news, rumors, and leaks coming from all angles. Some of these things are going to be early announcements from publishers and developers themselves, trying to get a spot of attention away from the rest of the noise. Some are going to be leaks, verifiable information that makes its way out into the public space ahead of an official announcement. These often happen thanks to innocuous things like pictures of keychains being produced for a game that has yet to be announced. Sometimes, these “leaks” are actually carefully crafted publicity to increase the thrill of finding out the information by riding the hype. Other times, they ruin a surprise. It can often be hard to determine which is which. And then there are the rumors.
Ah, the good old rumor mill. Here’s where people need to keep their salt shakers handy, because rumors are often theories formed by connecting the dots between various information points. Without a key telling us what the picture is supposed to look like, we too often draw the pictures we want to see, rather than the one that it actually creates. It might start somewhere in a truth, but it often ends up in an assumption or theory that only seems credible thanks to confirmation bias.
Right or Wrong, Rumors Can be Conversation
Take this rumor about the Ghost of Tsushima release date. It begins with a truth. Amazon UK has an image of the box art showing the PEGI rating for the game already, which is unusual for games that don’t have release dates yet. There are a number of possible explanations for the image, but the extrapolation that people like to hear is that it means a Ghost of Tsushima release date is incoming. I mean, we got the Death Stranding release date recently, right? And it’s a PS4 title, so that means it has to release before the PS5 comes out, right? Confirmation bias makes us want to believe this rumor. It’s a conversation point. It’s interesting. And it’s just as likely that it’s wrong.
Could the PEGI image mean something? Well, sure. It could. But there are just as many points of evidence that say this is nothing. The game doesn’t show up on the PEGI website. The NA Amazon listing shows the Rating Pending ESRB image. Recent hiring at Sucker Punch indicates the game is still a ways off. Then there’s also the unique possibility that this rumor is true, and Ghost of Tsushima will release within the next year, but the Amazon image has nothing to do with that.
Whether the rumors are right, wrong, or somewhere in between, they sure are fun to talk about. It’s a cultural thing. I remember watching through the entirety of LOST in real time over the course of six year. I talked with friends at work that watched it. I visited online forums to trade theories about the show. We looked at pieces of evidence to analyze even the smallest details and draw conclusions from these. I’d say we were probably wrong more often than we were right, but it was an exciting moment of community that brought us together to talk about something we all loved.
E3 offers that same opportunity of community discussion around games. Whether we’re right or wrong, we get the excitement of tons of new information and we can talk about all of our theories and rumors, no matter how crazy they are. It also brings these games into the conversation outside of traditional announcements. Sucker Punch isn’t talking about Ghost of Tsushima right now, but because of something as small as a an image on Amazon, it’s entered the sphere of conversation.
Every year during May and June is an exciting time to be a gamer, not just because of the games we can play, but because of the conversations we can have. Games are fun, games are exciting, and E3 time—even if the show is losing relevance—always incites lots of great talk around games. Even if a lot of that talk ends up being wrong, it’s a great time to come together in our common interest of video games, and I love it.
Daily Reaction reacts daily to the video game industry. Have suggestions for the column or subjects you’d like us to react to? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to check out previous Daily Reactions for more dives beyond the headlines.