The gaming industry sure does love a good controversy every now and again. Many are justified, but some just seem absolutely ridiculous. One of the more recent controversies, dubbed PuddleGate, is currently circulating through gaming spaces and it may be the most ludicrous form of outrage out there. PuddleGate comes from what some are viewing as a graphical downgrade presented in the soon to be released and hotly anticipated Spider-Man game. Screenshots and gameplay videos of the game have been analysed and compared over the years with one set of images being the fuel for the backlash.
Reddit threads blew up and developer Insomniac had to quickly take to Twitter to calm the beast. Their take on things? It has nothing to do with a graphical downgrade whatsoever, just a decision to remove and reduce some puddles.
It’s just a change in the puddle size, there’s no downgrade at all
— Insomniac Games (@insomniacgames) August 20, 2018
Anthem developer BioWare joined in on the joke in a recent reveal of their upcoming co-op shooter, poking fun at those who are outraged over the removal of puddles.
So why would the removal of puddles be viewed as a horrific and heinous act? Gamers have been concerned with the practice of developers pulling the wool over their eyes for a while now, showing them one thing but then presenting another. And to be fair that concern isn’t totally unjustified. There have certainly been examples in the past of games being shown off before release that are misleadingly pretty. The problem is it’s almost impossible to identify why a product may change during development. In the case of Spider-Man, the developers have come out and said that the change comes down to “a design / art / usability reason”, and I have no reason to believe they are lying.
CD Projekt recently released 48 minutes of Cyberpunk 2077 gameplay. The release of this gameplay footage was tentative however, because there is a big concern that the game may change from what it is currently to what it will be on release. We have reached a point where developers are scared to show us their game because even the smallest of puddles can be put on a pedestal and used as an example of deceiving conduct.
Regardless of your take on PuddleGate, Spider-Man will be releasing very shortly on the 7th of September for the PlayStation 4. And after playing the demo at the recent Melbourne eSports Open, our anticipation certainly runs deeper than a puddle.