The internet has allowed the video game community to flourish like never before. People all around the world can come together and bond over all the awesome things about video games. This website and this article wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the innovative technology that allows us to share opinions and news about video games and present it to such a wonderful community.
But with any large group of people, there’s bound to be controversy. Gamers are no stranger to this. We’ve seen conversations around some really important things like the scummy nature of loot boxes, and we’ve seen some political topics pop up such as the ESA meeting with the White House to discuss violence in video games.
But there’s one type of controversy that keeps rearing its ugly head, and it’s all about false advertising. Remember when Killzone Shadow Fall was announced to run natively at 1080p in both single player and multiplayer. Well it turns out that wasn’t quite the case, and the developers used some technological tricks to keep a consistent resolution during the multiplayer. The gaming community rushed to claim that the developers had falsely advertised their game.
With all of the evidence lined up, these people may hold an argument. But then people tried to sue the developers, and that was an incredibly immature thing to do. A very small, technical detail is not something to get that upset over, and it’s certainly not worth creating a $5 million lawsuit.
But that was a few years ago. Surely gamers have matured and they’re not going to do anything similar ever again, right? I wish I could say that. But Insomniac’s new Spider-Man game is falling victim to similar “false advertising” claims that plagued Killzone Shadow Fall. This time, however, the controversy is filled with a lot more stupidity. Rather than complaining about resolution technicalities, today’s gamers are complaining about the size of water puddles.
For those who don’t know, Spider-Man is coming out in just a few days, so promotional materials and gameplay footage are going to be everywhere. So, of course, the first thing everybody does is compare the graphics. But what are we comparing it to? Spider-Man is exclusive to the PS4. Why don’t we compare visuals from the final release to old gameplay from E3 2017? That should be a fun comparison!
It wasn’t long before something was discovered: Insomniac shrank the size of some of the water puddles. This threw the community into a spiral of despair, prompting some people to go so far as to try and sue the developers for false advertising.
I don’t feel like I need to explain why this is stupid, but I’ll throw in my two cents. Firstly, the developers don’t owe you anything. If Insomniac had to scale back the graphical stress Spider-Man would put on the PS4, then they’re doing their job to optimize game performance. Wouldn’t you feel even more duped if those puddles were still there and the game ran at 20 frames per second?
Secondly, scaling back the size of some water puddles shouldn’t change your enjoyment of the game, even if you’re playing for the visuals. A video game always looks better when it’s in motion. You don’t judge a cartoon by a single frame of animation, so why should video game critique be any different?
Lastly, Insomniac has officially stated they didn’t downgrade anything and explained on Twitter that “It’s just a change in puddle size.” The time of day for the scene shifted during development, so that meant there would be fewer water puddles to maintain the realistic feel of the world. For further evidence, employees have stated that the game features way more water in other areas of the game and still runs perfectly fine.
So let me get on my soapbox for a minute and say this: it is never okay to harass a game developer over anything. If you’ve watched the developers talk about their game or you’ve seen what people are saying about it, you know Insomniac poured their hearts and souls into every ounce of this project. Larger game developers are typically overworked, and the last thing they need is grown adults wasting their time and resources trying to sue them and insult them for reducing the size of a virtual pool of liquid.
There are way better uses of your time. Critique the developers if you don’t think a mechanic worked very well or if you didn’t enjoy the design of the world. But please don’t harass hard working people for changing something that is going to have little to no impact on your overall enjoyment of the game.
Also, comparing E3 footage to the final product is never a good idea. E3 is a conference made to build hype around the thought of playing certain games in the future. The expo has never been about showing off a finished product, and the developers are always very transparent about that. Most gameplay footage from the convention usually has a disclaimer letting everybody know the game is still in development. So nobody should be surprised if the game takes a few graphical hits along the way to improve the experience.
Uncharted 4 was downgraded a bit during its course of development. You can see some changes were made since the original reveal. But nobody talks about that now because Uncharted 4 is a great game, and that’s all we care about. Nobody will remember Spider-Man for its puddles. It will instead be remembered by how its gameplay, characters, and world resonate with gamers around the world.
At the end of the day, it’s your choice to buy a product. Going into Spider-Man, you know that one scene now has a little bit less moisture in it. If that really bothered you so much, why did you make the purchase in the first place? The game hasn’t released yet, so refunds aren’t out of the question.
If you are a true “Puddlegate” follower, just remember that you made a choice to be a part of that toxic branch in the gaming community. You could have had lots of fun and talked about how great Spider-Man on the PS4 is. You could have talked about the awesome fights and the fluid webslinging (at least I hope the game has all of this), but instead, you decided to complain about virtual water puddles.
So if you’re tired of being angry, we invite you with open arms to talk positively about games and their developers. Why spend all this energy being so angry when you can enjoy games for what they are rather than hate them for what they aren’t? We invite you to ditch the negative “Puddlegate” nonsense and come back to reality.