Today I just want to talk quickly about the proper development and execution of a successful demo. As most of you know there is no real rhyme or reason as to what comes out in the PlayStation Store as a demo first and what doesn’t, it is purely at the discretion of the publisher and that is cool. But if you are going to put a demo out at least make it good.
Sometimes franchises with a great brand feel like they can slack on the actual content of a demo because people will buy the game anyway. This is the case with this year’s Madden 09. In the demo, you get to play through and see how this year’s all new “My Skill Level”, works as your run through some drills using holograms and then the game custom builds a skill level just for you which will change with every game you play. That was great. Then you get in and it says hey do you wanna play a Madden moment, you click yes and now you are the Giants on that last drive that they used to beat the Patriots. You get to see the big change they made as far as graphics this year, you get to run your offense and then either you score and successfully beat the madden moment or you don’t score and don’t beat the Madden moment. After you beat the Madden moment, you come back out and I was hoping to get maybe a 3-6 minute quarter of an actual game, nope. That’s right folks what I just described to you was the entire demo, you don’t even get to play defense. Now of course I have Madden on reserve and will buy it anyway but the demo takes that leave them wanting more thing to a whole other level.
I felt the same way about Facebreaker, EA’s version of Mike Tyson’s Punch Out meets Ready 2 Rumble. I have been hearing about it for months and seen some video and screen shots. I started it playing it and before you know it, it’s over. You only get 90 seconds and thats it. I mean seriously you blink and its over. I heard there is all this cool stuff you can do and the way the face’s change but did I see any of it, nuh uh, so since this isn’t an established franchise like Madden does it make me want to run out and get it, not really.
But you know this demo thing isn’t that hard, I mean I think back to games that were less than great like Overlord: Raising Hell and Conan which had great demos, the kind that would make you want to go out and buy them which is the whole purpose of a demo. Now I am sure that less than great games realize this and go through a lot to make their demos good but I just wish the more established companies would take the same amount of effort. Am I the only one that feels like this?