Is Sony Pushing The Order: 1886 Too Heavily?

2015 looks to be the year for PlayStation 4. After a rather bleak string of first-party releases, this year marks Sony firing on all cylinders with their lineup of first-party studios. Already knocking at the door is The Order: 1886, developed by Ready at Dawn. It’s no surprise that Sony is out to show this game off to everyone, but could Sony’s desire to hype the game be too risky for the game to live up to?

The Order: 1886 debuted as one of the earliest exclusives announced for the PlayStation 4. Pioneered as an anachronistic spin on Victorian-era London, the game mixed steampunk and supernatural elements to make a captivating teaser for the potential of Sony’s new system. Developed by Ready at Dawn, who earned their acclaim by some stellar offerings on the PSP, like Daxter and the God of War games, Chains of Olympus and Ghost of Sparta (they also ported Okami to the Wii), The Order marks the company’s first foray into full, AAA development and it’s a steep challenge. Moving from handhelds to one of the forerunners of Sony’s first-party lineup is no easy task, so The Order has its share of skepticism along for the ride. Ready at Dawn have a lot on their plate.

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This makes Sony’s heavy advertising of The Order: 1886 to be quite disorienting. Aside from a tremendous amount of hype at trade shows and conventions, Sony even netted a 30-second ad spot prior to the 2015 Super Bowl. That’s an expensive advertising window, meaning Sony has a lot of faith in this game. Quite frankly, they have every right to get excited for it. It’s one of the earliest games announced for the system, and the premise alone is something fresh and hypnotic (Victorian ghostbusters? Hell yeah!). While Sony has plenty of returning talent for the PS4 with Naughty Dog’s Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End and From Software’s Bloodborne, Ready at Dawn (for all intents and purposes) are a new face for Sony’s console line. The Order is a fresh new IP by a studio who have yet to make a huge name like Naughty Dog or From Software have. It’s a great opportunity for the company to blossom and get more eyes on them.

But Sony’s hype for The Order: 1886 feels misguided as well. The amount of anticipation Sony aims to brew with their ample advertising seems counterproductive, especially after the assembly line of disappointments that 2014 brought us. Sony is doing everything they can to convince everyone that The Order is not just a must-buy for the PS4, but a reason to go out and buy the console outright. If 2014 taught us anything, it’s that hype can kill a game. Destiny, Watch Dogs, even Titanfall suffered because of this hyperbolic approach to gaining attention for a game, and Sony is putting a lot of money down performing a practice that’s been discouraged since last year.

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Sony’s desire to pump The Order: 1886 up since its debut has both helped and hurt the property. They’ve inflated expectations exponentially, but have also turned everyone’s heads toward what could be a flagship franchise for the PS4. Between the still-budding studio of Ready at Dawn and the game’s expensive advertising, it’d be foolish to say The Order doesn’t have some factors against it. On the other hand, this could be a prime opportunity for Sony to kickstart a bold new franchise in the Playstation library. Can The Order: 1886 live up to the community’s (and Sony’s) expectations? There’s really no telling at the moment, but rest assured: this’ll be a game that everyone with a PS4 will be talking about all year.