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The ‘Spider-Man’ Puddle Controversy Is One Of Gaming’s Dumbest

The ‘Spider-Man’ Puddle Controversy Is One Of Gaming’s Dumbest
01 Sep
1:56

Spider-ManCredit: Insomniac

The beleaguered Star Citizen community might be getting bilked by its developer today, but that, apparently, doesn’t qualify as the dumbest controversy in video games this week. It’s always a tough category, but we’ve got a real standout this moment: Spiderman is coming out on PlayStation 4 next week, and people are spending their time getting angry about a fun superhero game. There are accusations of a graphical downgrade from the original reveal trailer, puddles are involved, and I’m so tired already. Let’s dive in.

The details hardly feel like they should be elaborated on. But in short, people noticed that there were two similar screenshots for the game: a newer one with fewer puddles, and an odler one with more puddles. They decided to call this a visual downgrade, because the reflections in the puddles require processing, and more puddles would take more resources. After that, some people argued that Spiderman’s suit looked better in one screenshot than in another one, which is apparently further evidence of foul play.

Developer Insomniac Games actually responded, saying that there had been no downgrade of any kind, and someone just decided to change the size of a puddle. By then, however, the Internet had taken over.

It should be noted that some of this particular controversy’s popularity is because of how stupid it is, not in spite of it. There’s just something about accusations of funny business surrounding puddle sizing that plays so perfectly into a particular angry gamer stereotype that it’s just irresistible, and the whole thing was memed to death in an instant. About half of the discourse surrounding the great puddle deception seems to be making fun of it. I probably would never have seen this if it weren’t for people I follow on Twitter meming about it.

There’s that other half, though. People that are, for whatever reason, spending their free time pouring through games and their related materials seemingly for any reason to get angry at developers, whether it’s because the game has changed too much, not enough, or whatever. They can’t help but feel like the same sorts that wanted to boycott Battlefield 5 because it was going to include playable female soldiers. It’s a reactionary mindset in the truest sense, the mindset of someone presented with an artifact of culture and just thinking of ways to become angry about it.

We’ll remember that CD Projekt Red took years to show off a single stitch of Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay, and even then it did so with a raft of warnings about how it wasn’t a finished product. And this is most obviously why: CD Projekt Red no doubt remembers its own downgrade controversy when some people got up in arms about how the fire in early demo of The Witcher 3 didn’t look the same as the fire in a shockingly gorgeous released game.

Deceptive marketing is a thing, and it’s occasionally a legitimate gripe with games both large and small. But there’s a distinct difference between advertising your more or less static mobile game with obviously fake gameplay and a project like Spiderman or the Witcher 3, which have looked great the whole way through but changed during development because that’s literally what development is. The video game industry is famously secretive when compared to movies or television, and this is a big part of why: a certain subset of gamers just can’t want to tear developers apart.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/davidthier/2018/08/31/the-spider-man-puddle-controversy-is-one-of-gamings-dumbest/

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