Video game leaks, especially those ahead of major industry events, have always been a double-edged sword. Leaks and reports are part and parcel of any kind of journalism but it’s important to acknowledge that they can potentially be damaging for the individuals involved.
Several industry developers including Santa Monica Studio‘s Cory Barlog, CD Projekt RED‘s Marcin Momot, and Ubisoft‘s Julian Gerighty have said that developers work hard to create surprise reveals for events like E3, and leaks can be hurtful. What sparked the conversation was a tweet by Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, in which he opined that “billion-dollar corporate marketing” has led gamers to believe that video game announcements being leaked are “spoilers” and that this promotes an “unhealthy culture.”
What ensued was a slightly heated debate between Schreier and the aforementioned developers.
“Writing this off as the corporate boogeyman being the only one who is really hurt here really marginalizes the talented developers who bust their ass to show the world something for the first time,” said Barlog. “I may not be a billion-dollar corporate entity marketing machine, but there are many cases where hearing about a reveal from a hastily-written leak really is a spoiler when you take into account the human creators’ desire for how it would be revealed.”
“A spoiler is always a spoiler and ruining months, or sometimes even years, of people’s hard work is never good,” added Momot. “Not to mention taking away the surprise from the real fans waiting and celebrating official reveals.”
Gerighty echoed these sentiments, and said that when developers work hard to present their work properly for the first time, it can be “heartbreaking” to see poorly-written articles or off-screen videos make rounds before that happens.
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