Are The Witcher 3’s Perfect Scores the Result of Hype?

It's a stellar game but promotion is always essential.

It’s a stellar game but promotion is always essential.

Two things we know to be true:

1. A shocking and depressing number of online readers rarely read the actual text of an article, and only respond to headlines.

and

2. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is clearly a masterful production.

What we propose involves the all-important marketing and promotion essential for the success of most any product, especially a big-budget AAA product that requires a ton of sales. Of course, there are numerous examples of low-budget indie titles scoring exceedingly well among video game critics, but do any of them – outside of Journey, which remains something of an anomaly – really pull down multiple perfect scores from major outlets?

The only games that really seem capable of that have a massive PR campaign behind them. Grand Theft Auto V, for example, may have recorded the most number of perfect scores in recent memory and obviously, that game was hyped through the roof. Now, even before CD Projekt Red’s ambitious open-world RPG is on store shelves, it has tallied a half-dozen perfect scores (according to Metacritic) and chances are, more perfection is on the way.

An amazing game, no doubt. But are there extenuating circumstances?

An amazing game, no doubt. But are there extenuating circumstances?

The question is this: Would we be seeing these perfect scores if the game had come out of the blue? What if The Witcher 3 was exactly the same unbelievable title we have now, but it just didn’t have much in the way of prior promotion? Would critics still be fawning all over it? We’d like to think so, because we want to believe that most critics don’t give in to the hype, and will score the game objectively. And actually, in speaking to the reviewers who contribute to VGRHQ, some of them say too much hype might actually have a negative impact. “I almost want to score a game lower because the hype is so out of control,” one admitted.

It’s an interesting situation. In any entertainment industry, one always has to wonder what sort of impact advertising, promotion and general word-of-mouth has on what is supposed to be a mostly objective (with the critic’s own flavor, of course) and professional analysis. The point is, we all know Wild Hunt is an outstanding product. We just wonder if, in terms of numbers, any game is capable of scoring so well without the possibility of it being “the greatest game ever,” or something along those lines.

5 thoughts on “Are The Witcher 3’s Perfect Scores the Result of Hype?”

Yes and no.

I don’t think critics are sitting there giving out high scores ONLY because the game was hyped through the roof. I do think they might be more inclined to give a slightly higher score just because this really is supposed to be the be-all, end-all of video games.

But as the one critic admitted in the article, some reviewers are more likely to LOWER their score when a game gets crazy hype.

Yes but ideally, they shouldn’t do ANYTHING in the face of hype. Or lack of hype. Or whatever. The score should be based entirely on the game’s merits, even though I know that’s only in a perfect world. 😉

What Kazuma said. 🙂

I’d say no. While I’m sure hype has some impact on consumers, I think a critic sits down with the game and if he or she loves it, the game gets a high score. If not, I can’t imagine that a bunch of ads and general talk is going to change anything.

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