We've seen a multitude of reports that spoilers of Final Fantasy XV are already on the web. This is because shops in Peru sold physical copies of the game well before its November 29, 2016 release date. Props to most sites for not reporting on the major spoilers themselves, focusing instead on Square Enix's reaction while warning gamers. Still, with Thanksgiving just a few days away for Americans, it got me to thinking: should we be thankful for spoilers?
According to a study by the psychology department at UC San Diego, (as reported by Kotaku), consumers enjoy stories more if they've been spoiled. In theory, gamers looking forward to Final Fantasy XV might be looking forward to the game now just to see how it unfolds, Sirens of Titan style. In my personal experience, spoilers have kept me from not wasting any more time on No Man’s Sky, and I don’t think I would have played, let alone finished, Earthbound had I not watched a video discussing its themes.
While I understand that gamers might be looking forward to the latest leak, even if it’s just a few seconds of gameplay footage or the most enigmatic of screenshots, there might be some grievances to consider on the production side. Now, I know some pro-consumer pundits might dismiss publishers and developers for not wanting someone to spoil their details ahead of time - if you have the news, then publish it. However, the situation with Final Fantasy XV, although significantly different, reminds me of the recent leak of Shadow of the Tomb Raider.
A guy noticed someone sitting with him on train was working on a project related to a Tomb Raider game, whose title was previously unreleased, and so he captured a photo and posted it online. Kotaku reported on the photo, and placed the blame on the worker in the introduction. Strangely, my sympathy lies with the worker because as confidential the information might have been, I think the guy has the right to do his work on his commute, and the other guy could have not been a dick and respected the man’s privacy. Who knows how the poster’s actions affected the guy’s employment?
So yeah, there’s some gray area involved with leaks and spoilers. On one hand, if you leak footage of a game, you might have mildly annoyed the developers and publishers, or even shamed a guy just doing his job. On the other hand, there is an undeniable desire to obtain what lies just out of reach. It’s difficult to maintain a J.J. Abrams lair of secrecy thanks to the internet, so the best anyone can do about it is roll with it. If news of the leak is so ubiquitious that you have to force yourself not to click, then I can't really blame you. At the very least, the hype will only increase with each passing leak. But some people, developers and gamers alike, prefer to discover a game's secrets on and after launch date. Please try to respect that if you find yourself with the opportunity to leak footage.