Moon Studios' CEO and Ori game director Thomas Mahler called out CD Projekt RED and other developers for overhyping unreleased games with "lies and deception".
Mahler shared his discontent with "snake oil salesmen" in the industry in a lengthy post on Resetera forum.
The post is titled "Why are gamers so eager to trust and even forgive the snake oil salesmen?" and specifically calls out Peter Molyneux ( Dungeon Keeper, Black & White, Fable), Sean Murray (No Man's Sky), and CD Projekt RED for their Cyberpunk 2077 fiasco.
Thomas thinks that gamers love to listen to stories about amazing possibilities and features and that some developers abuse this by overhyping their games with promises about all kinds of crazy things that "might" be in the game, but end up not being in the game because they were too ambitious.
Peter Molyneux's Black and White is a game where you can play "megalomaniac god" (Picture: Lionhead Studios)
Mahler claims that Peter Molyneux, the creator of many cult classics such as Fable series, was the pioneer of this unethical practice.
"He was the master of 'Instead of telling you what my product is, let me just go wild with what I think it could be and get you all excited!'", Mahler wrote. "And that was fine until you actually put your money down and then the game was nothing like what Peter was hyping it up to be."
Mahler thinks that journalists and gamers are too forgiving when it comes to these lies and false promises, which only empowers this kind of people to continue overhyping this without consequences because people are not holding them accountable.
"There was a massive backlash when No Man's Sky finally released and the product being nothing like what Murray hyped it up to be. But what happened then? They released a bunch of updates, so let's forget about the initial lies and deception and hey, let's actually shower him with awards again, cause he finally kinda-sorta delivered on what he said the game would be years earlier," Mahler gave an example of how lies went unpunished.
No Man's Sky is a textbook example of overpromising and underdelivering (Picture: Hello Games)
He then proceeds to give an example with Cyberpunk 2077, which he says is the worst offender of them all, where CD Projekt " took all the cues from what worked for Molyneux and Murray and just went completely apeshit with it" and points out how overhyping made them a huge amount of money despite being based on lies and deception.
"Gamers were to believe that this is Sci-Fi GTA in First Person. What's not to love? Every video released by CDPR was carefully crafted to create a picture in players minds that were just insanely compelling. They stopped just short of outright saying that this thing would cure cancer. This strategy resulted in a sensational 8 million pre-orders," Mahler explained,
(Picture: Moon Studios/CD Projekt)
He notes that the general theme with this lies is the promise that you will basically be able to do anything you like in these games, which he thinks is because that appeals to a broad audience.
He shared a personal experience from 2014 when Ori and the Blind Forest should have got the cover article in some magazine, but editor instead decided to pick No Man's Sky, because the game was all the rage at the time, but he later realised that all that hype was built on lies.
Mahler concludes that this hurts everyone, gamers who are being made fools of and honest developers who don't get the proper attention because "bigger" games get the stage.
You can read Mahler's full post on Resetera by following this link.