Fallout 3 Director: Microsoft Bungled ODST Marketing

John Funk

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Fallout 3 Director: Microsoft Bungled ODST Marketing



Bethesda Production Director Ashley Cheng - whose titles include Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion and Fallout 3 - thinks that Halo 3: ODST was marketed incorrectly from the get-go.

I don't think anybody can say that Halo 3: ODST hasn't been well-received thus far - MetaCritic may not be the best judge here, but an only one that matters [http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/xbox360/halo3odst], of course): The price point.

Many reviewers and average forum-joes alike have called the game out on having a shorter-than-normal campaign that might not be worth $60, but Bethesda's Ashley Cheng disagrees. In a post on his blog [http://www.cloudrulertemple.com/2009/09/halo-odst.html], Cheng lays the blame squarely at the game's unclear marketing:

[blockquote]Microsoft and/or Bungie totally bungled the marketing on this. First saying it was a standalone expansion pack, then coming out and saying wait, no, we're charging full price because - surprise! - we put "more" stuff in it and it's called Halo ODST now, vs it's original title, Halo Recon. Like Microsoft was ever going to sell this for less than full price. It is a new Halo title, it'll sell like hotcakes no matter what.

Because of the waffling, reviewers are now mentioning that Halo ODST may not be worth the price point, that it should've been cheaper, etc... Give me a break. First off, most games - especially first person shooters - are anywhere from 5-10 hours. Tops. What makes Halo different from others? You can't just ping Halo ODST for it. I bet if Microsoft hadn't screwed up the marketing messaging, there would less talk about pricing.[/blockquote]

Indeed, it's the "expansion pack" stigma that seems to be overshadowing the whole deal with ODST. Cheng may have a point - once the game was dubbed as an expansion pack by Bungie and Microsoft, convincing gamers that it was ever anything more might have been too hard of a sell, even for Microsoft's experienced marketing team.

It's an interesting statement, particularly when you consider who it's coming from: Neither Oblivion nor Fallout 3 could really be accused of having too little to do. So this isn't a case of "hey, our game was short too, so stop giving Bungie crap!" I find it hard to disagree with Cheng's point here - had the message about ODST been consistent from the start, perhaps people wouldn't be feeling like the game was ... well, like it was mis-advertised.

What do you think? Does Cheng have a point, or would ODST be raising grumbles no matter what Microsoft marketed it as?

(Via VG247 [http://www.videogamer.com/news/ms_screwed-up_odst_marketing_says_fallout_3_director.html])

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CLEVERSLEAZOID

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I've yet to get my hands on it myself, although a friend has run out to get it straight away on release date.

Hopefully as more and more complaints come out about the length of the Campaign [some people are even saying it took them less than 3 hours, from start to finish without exploring], the price will go down before I decide to buy it.

At least, I hope so.

And about the lack of Master Chief? About bloody time x)
 

bue519

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Casual Shinji said:
Or maybe because there's no Master Chief in the game.
Plus they just recycled the multiplayer. So if you already own the maps you get shafted.
 

The Rockerfly

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Too right, alot of people I know are only buying the game for the maps which I think is a shame because it's bloody good
well aparently it is...
 

WhiteTiger225

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Holy crap... *Adds more to his Bethesda/Zenith Max shrine* I now have more respect for Bethesda for actually putting things in lamens turn, without outright bashing or underhanded suggesting rumors about another company and actually giving compliments AND being helpful with critique!
 

squid5580

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The only part of the entire ODST pack that is a screw up is only having the one on store shelves. What they should have done is put out 2 versions of it. 1 with the full 2 disc complete with all the maps and another with just ODST for a cheaper price. For those who already bought all the maps.

This just proves how incompetent these reviewers really are. In the middle of development they say it will be an expansion. Then towards the end they say you know what things have changed and we added a ton more stuff. They of all people should know that in this industry things change in a heartbeat. Try basing your review on the game next time. You are not a marketing reviewer.
 

Bigeyez

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He hit the nail on the head right there. Not much more I can add to that.
 

Casual Shinji

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CLEVERSLEAZOID said:
I've yet to get my hands on it myself, although a friend has run out to get it straight away on release date.

Hopefully as more and more complaints come out about the length of the Campaign [some people are even saying it took them less than 3 hours, from start to finish without exploring], the price will go down before I decide to buy it.

At least, I hope so.

And about the lack of Master Chief? About bloody time x)
I'm not the biggest fan of the games, but he is the face of the franchise, sorta speak.

They should've just kept it a DLC without all the so called bells and buzzers.
 

The Bandit

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squid5580 said:
The only part of the entire ODST pack that is a screw up is only having the one on store shelves. What they should have done is put out 2 versions of it. 1 with the full 2 disc complete with all the maps and another with just ODST for a cheaper price. For those who already bought all the maps.

This just proves how incompetent these reviewers really are. In the middle of development they say it will be an expansion. Then towards the end they say you know what things have changed and we added a ton more stuff. They of all people should know that in this industry things change in a heartbeat. Try basing your review on the game next time. You are not a marketing reviewer.
That doesn't prove anything. The point of reading a review is to decide whether you want to buy the game or not. If the game doesn't have enough content to justify the price, it SHOULD be mentioned in a review.
 

lawdjayee

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Pay for play is a huge issue in the vg journalism world. I have heard from a very reliable source of multiple reviews for a game being published (!) before review copies were sent out, for example. Since at some level we, the vg consuming public, know this, those who provide reviews have to figure out ways to act like "real" journalists (or at least, how they act in our imaginations). One way to do this is to give an glowing review (e.g., IGN's OSDT review which deems recordings illuminating backstory a "clever" game mechanic rather than something which games have done since...I don't know, System Shock?) that nevertheless makes a few pointless critiques (hmmm $60 does seem like a lot of money).

Bottom line: the "messaging" issue here is that a piece of marginal DLC received huge reviews b/c of MS's successful, ahem, marketing strategy.
 

SharedProphet

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Part of the problem is the "3" in the title. "Halo 3: Anything" makes people instantly think "expansion pack," since Halo 3 is a game which was already released. I didn't pay any attention to the marketing, but I have the perception of the game as an expansion pack because of the title.
 

Valkyira

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bue519 said:
Casual Shinji said:
Or maybe because there's no Master Chief in the game.
Plus they just recycled the multiplayer. So if you already own the maps you get shafted.
Yeah but if you don't have the maps your getting a bargain.
 

randommaster

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The Bandit said:
squid5580 said:
The only part of the entire ODST pack that is a screw up is only having the one on store shelves. What they should have done is put out 2 versions of it. 1 with the full 2 disc complete with all the maps and another with just ODST for a cheaper price. For those who already bought all the maps.

This just proves how incompetent these reviewers really are. In the middle of development they say it will be an expansion. Then towards the end they say you know what things have changed and we added a ton more stuff. They of all people should know that in this industry things change in a heartbeat. Try basing your review on the game next time. You are not a marketing reviewer.
That doesn't prove anything. The point of reading a review is to decide whether you want to buy the game or not. If the game doesn't have enough content to justify the price, it SHOULD be mentioned in a review.
Well, it should only be mentioned if it's a big part of the value. The ODST story probably isn't worth $60 to most people, so talking about what your money will get you seems important for the package as a whole, but not hen solely talking about the story.
 

BlindTom

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If I remember correctly the marketing in Oblivion and Fallout 3 consisted of a series if outright lies... It worked though.
 

squid5580

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The Bandit said:
squid5580 said:
The only part of the entire ODST pack that is a screw up is only having the one on store shelves. What they should have done is put out 2 versions of it. 1 with the full 2 disc complete with all the maps and another with just ODST for a cheaper price. For those who already bought all the maps.

This just proves how incompetent these reviewers really are. In the middle of development they say it will be an expansion. Then towards the end they say you know what things have changed and we added a ton more stuff. They of all people should know that in this industry things change in a heartbeat. Try basing your review on the game next time. You are not a marketing reviewer.
That doesn't prove anything. The point of reading a review is to decide whether you want to buy the game or not. If the game doesn't have enough content to justify the price, it SHOULD be mentioned in a review.
How much content is enough? If we are basing it on time by who's skills are we timing it on? A pro who has invested billions of hours into Halo? A noob who has never played an FPS before? One who is going to after every last secret or collectible or one who is going to rush the game just to get to the end so they can be the first to pound out a review?

Not only that if they had done what I first suggested how much are those map packs worth on the marketplace? You could probably spend $20 on those alone (more or less depending on where in the world you live, it would cost me 19.99 + 14%). So by my calculation the actual campaign is being sold to you for 40 bucks. That isn't to bad considering with any other popular FPS you would pay the full 59 and then the 20 bucks for the extra maps.
 

Captain Pancake

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I don't know why Americans complain about paying 60 dollars for a game that costs us 40 quid (80 dollars) over here. maybe that's one of the benefits of capitalism, I don't know.
 

squid5580

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Captain Pancake said:
I don't know why Americans complain about paying 60 dollars for a game that costs us 40 quid (80 dollars) over here. maybe that's one of the benefits of capitalism, I don't know.
It is the internet. People will complain even when it is free.
 

cleverlymadeup

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i'm not all too shocked by this bait and switch and now people are having a bit of a bad taste in their mouth

they should have just kept with it being an expansion