Suicide Squad and No Man's Sky prove 'false advertising' sells

Cinema-goers and gamers both believe they've been misled on 2016's two biggest titles

Jack Shepherd
Wednesday 31 August 2016 17:25
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Think back to December 2015. The time has come to reflect on the year ahead. Someone asks which blockbuster film you’re most excited for in 2016. Chances are you may have said Suicide Squad, the villainous DC team-up that’s set to feature a new incarnation of the Joker.

Perhaps you’re more into your video games. Let’s not mess around; other than Uncharted 4, there was only one Playstation console exclusive on everyone’s lips: No Man’s Sky. Hello Games’ open-world, space explorer had won multiple awards at various E3s while lead director/designer/programmer Sean Murray promised dozens of features, each more exciting than the next.

Considering the most hyped film and video game of the year were both released within a week of each other (Suicide Squad 5 August, No Man’s Sky 10 August) you would expect self-respecting geeks such as myself to be over the moon. Yet, somehow, both were hugely disappointing for the majority of people, failing to live up to the years of expectation resting upon them.

Suicide Squad: Official Final Trailer

Take Suicide Squad. Jared Leto’s Joker featured in every trailer, more and more footage being released as the film’s debut approached. What both DC fans and Leto didn’t expect was for the character to feature in the film for around 10 minutes, acting as a glorified cameo rather than lead actor. Some of those who went to see the film set up a petition claiming they had been sold on ‘false advertising’, led to believe the Joker would have more screen time (Leto later claimed there was enough cut footage for there to be a solo Joker film).

A Joker scene that appeared in the trailers but not the final film

Though we hate to admit it, those angered fans are probably right; we all went in thinking the film would feature the Joker in a starring role, something that was not meant to be. Thanks to this (and despite some tragically negative reviews) Suicide Squad went straight to number one at the global box-office, the film (as of writing) sitting on a grand total of $637.8 million.

A similar thing happened in the gaming world. Murray promised No Man’s Sky would have multiplayer, huge space battles, and the ability to land on asteroids, amongst other things. It sounded too good to be true, mainly because it was. Many of the promised features seem to have been abandoned, leading to thousands of outraged fans feeling like they’ve been 'mislead' and demanding refunds from Steam and Amazon (itself causing a rift in the gaming community).

Many gamers believe it is another case of false advertising, feeling cheated by grand promises that never came to fruition. The game has already sold millions of copies around the world, topping the game charts despite receiving middling reviews from the majority of critics.

No Man's Sky Trailer

Like Suicide Squad, then, No Man’s Sky was sold to over-eager fans on undelivered promises; one teasing lots of Joker, the other huge galactic fights. Whether it can be classified as ‘false advertising’ is debatable but, either way, both are proof that getting the media on board with over-hyping something sells, and it sells big. Hopefully, the fan backlash against both will prevent companies over-promising on future releases - then again, because of the money, others may very well copy this initiative. Let’s hope not, for our wallets sake.

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