I’m gonna talk about something that has seen a lot of controversy and outrage in the past while both about the leaked trailer for Suicide Squad & the PC edition of Arkham Knight. I’m more going to be discussing how they handled it, rather then why they decided to handle it the way they did.
The Leaked Trailer
There is an old saying that “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” Well, in this case maybe there is. There seemed to be an overwhelmingly negative response from WB about the leak of their trailer.
“Warner Bros. Pictures and our anti-piracy team have worked tirelessly over the last 48 hours to contain the Suicide Squad footage that was pirated from Hall H on Saturday,” said Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing and international distribution for Warner Bros. Pictures. “We have been unable to achieve that goal. Today we will release the same footage that has been illegally circulating on the web, in the form it was created and high quality with which it was intended to be enjoyed. We regret this decision as it was our intention to keep the footage as a unique experience for the Comic Con crowd, but we cannot continue to allow the film to be represented by the poor quality of the pirated footage stolen from our presentation.”
To most people, this may seem like a tad bit of an over reaction. I’m inclined to agree. While I do agree with all the statements they made about the above, that it is stolen property and all the rest, the response to the stolen trailer was overwhelmingly positive. So here in lies the argument; did it actually cause any real harm?
Personally, I think the only real damage they caused was to themselves in how they responded themselves. Marvel, from a PR standpoint, handled it with the upmost humor saying:
I impressed by the way they handled it. They could have easily taken the same response as WB which was to be angry about it. What WB don’t seem to understand is that nearly everything leaks at a Con like that, let alone the biggest Con in the world. Is that a good thing? No, but you can’t control fandoms. Fandoms are a law to themselves, and the fandom worlds have an understanding that not everyone will be able to attend a Con in their lifetime. WB ultimately need to understand the you cannot control how someone can love a product. Marvel seem to understand this, and more importantly where it comes from.
This is where the lines get blurred, the “theft” was not out of malicious intent – but love. Love of the product, love of the industry, love of everything it represents. It could be argued that it didn’t steal anything at all, only added to the hype and the joy that it caused the people at the Con to take a copy of it. It could be argued that the person who leaked it wouldn’t gain anything financially from the theft, so did they really gain anything at all?
I tend to think of theft as someone taking something from someone else so someone has suffered a loss because of it. Thats my personal opinion on theft, a loss of financial revenue, a loss of product, or a loss of opinion. None of which I feel has happened to WB on this occasion, people will still watch the HD edition regardless of the leak. So it’s hard to see how there will be financial loss from this.
When you break it down like that, it’s hard to truly justify WB’s response to this. It’s not something we’re going to ever get a truer explanation as to why they feel this is the appropriate response.
So really this is the only plea I have to make on behalf of the fans : Please understand. This didn’t come from a malicious place, and try to understand that with such harsh curtailment of media and excitement you will only end up slowly suffocating what makes this industry so strong.
Arkham Knight : PC Edition
I’ll be the first to admit, the only game that I’ve liked out of the Arkham series was Asylum. I loved its fluidity and the way it used new ideas to create the world of the Asylum. The implementation of scarecrow is arguably one of the best implementations of fear that I’ve ever seen constructed in a gaming narrative. Let alone the tools and equipment and the sheer diversity of combat, but it still being the smoothest thing I’ve ever seen running…majestic.
I hadn’t played anything past it mainly because I was fine with the experience that I had. I’m a bit weird like that, once I had what I considered to be the best experience I was happy to walk away from it at that point. Call it self restraint or call it denying yourself, whichever. I never felt at a loss for not playing Origins or City or Knight. Seems like in some regards at least, I was right stopping where I was. Opinions will always differ in this regard, so its not something I’m going to talk about.
What I do want to talk about is the PC edition. The game on PS4 and Xbox One has gotten overwhelmingly positive reviews on the whole. Except for the odd complaint that you spend too much time in the batmobile, people seem to really enjoy it. Which is great! Awesome. Except for one small thing.
For those who play on PC the experience was not in any way acceptable, indeed for those who bought it on steam the reviews for a time were still negative. (At the time of writing this article the reviews on Steam say Mixed) For such a release to happen, for one of WB’s biggest gaming franchises is unheard of and rather startling.
Not only were there graphics missing, things needing to be capped and system requirements being changed just before release : but they felt it was in an acceptable condition to sell. I’m at a loss to justify this, as it seems impossible to me as a player that something could be shipped in such a way.
WB did something unprecedented after this, which was to pull the game when they understood that the controversy around it was escalating. It’s now nearly a month since the game got pulled with no sign of there being a resolution for the PC yet even though DLC has still be released for the other editions.
I don’t believe this is particularly fair to the PC gamers who genuinely feel short changed by the whole experience, let alone the fact that there is DLC being released for some players and not others. Now, while I don’t think there is a resolution that works for everyone – I do feel like those people who preordered the DLC or bought the DLC afterwards should be reimbursed for both at this stage. This may be an option for those who can get a Steam refund, but I’d still be a bit annoyed about the fact that the DLC pack is still up for normal standard sale on the steam website (at time of writing)
You are left to wonder how WB could have possibly not known about the issues they faced if they have to take this long to fix a product, and why they didn’t just delay the release date for the PC edition and just be honest about the fact that it wasn’t ready.
Of course there would have been angry people, but I’d wager you’d have significantly less angry people if you were just honest about the fact development was hitting some hitches. If companies were less concerned about the what that may look like, then producing something that doesn’t work as intended, perhaps we’d all be better off as a result.
In saying all this though, I think WB did right by pulling the game and admitting to the fact that it was not an acceptable condition to sell it in. I just wish there could be an understanding reached on all sides.