Cyberpunk 2077 Killed Hype But Elden Ring Brought It Back

Cyberpunk 2077 Killed Hype, But Elden Ring Brought It Back

Hype levels across the world were at an all-time low following the release of Cyberpunk 2077, but Elden Ring brought hype back from the brink.

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Cyberpunk 2077 Killed Hype But Elden Ring Brought It Back

Hype is one of the most powerful forces in the universe. With enough hype, a game can become iconic before a single frame of actual gameplay is ever shown to the public. Hype burns hotter than jet fuel and spreads faster than a wildfire. Once the hype train leaves the station, there’s no way to stop it. The inescapable allure of hype has been responsible for great and terrible things. As a hypeologist, I’ve seen communities rise to cultural dominance in the blink of an eye and self-destruct just as quickly, all in the name of hype. Perhaps the greatest story in hype history occurred in the space between Cyberpunk 2077 and Elden Ring – when hype died and was brought back to life.

It’s difficult to overstate how much damage Cyberpunk 2077 did to hype culture. We’ve collectively been disappointed by highly anticipated games before, but never to this degree. Spore wasn’t exactly the technological revolution people were expecting, but it was still a well-received game. Duke Nukem Forever was a dud, but after a decade in development hell, no one should have been that surprised. No Man’s Sky is probably the closest example to Cyberpunk 2077 in terms of how big of a disappointment it was, but a space exploration game from the makers of Joe Danger can hardly compare to CD Projekt Red’s open-world follow up to The Witcher 3. Cyberpunk 2077 was a spectacular failure the likes of which have never been seen before in part because it had such an unbelievable amount of hype behind it. Even if it had been released in a more stable state, similar to what it has become today, there’s no way Cyberpunk 2077 was ever going to live up to the hype.

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Globally, hype levels dropped to an all-time low following the release of Cyberpunk 2077. In the tail end of 2020, hype was virtually eradicated. People could no longer find the energy or passion to build up games in their minds and hearts anymore. For the first time ever, the gaming community adopted a wait-and-see mentality towards every game. Throughout 2021, several major games were released to overwhelmingly positive reactions, but were utterly hypeless up until release. Deathloop, Resident Evil Village, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, even Halo Infinite – all great games, all virtually unhyped. It was clear that Cyberpunk 2077 had broken gamers’ will to hype.

But if you were listening closely, the distant trumpet of an air horn could still be heard. It barely made a sound at first, but as 2021 came to a close, it started to pick up steam. As more and more people jumped on board, the sound became unmistakable. The hype train was back on track, and passengers were all chanting one name. Elden Ring! Elden Ring! Elden Ring!

Everyone knows what happened next. Elden Ring came out and lived up to every bit of the hype. It’s possible, perhaps even likely, that the failure of Cyberpunk 2077 made the success of Elden Ring even sweeter. Hyping up the wrong game leads to utter despair, but hyping up a good game? There’s no better feeling in the world. Elden Ring is a good game, maybe even a great game, but with the power of hype it’s quickly climbed to G.O.A.T. status.

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Elden Ring is the pinnacle of FromSoftwares Soulsborne design philosophy, and a reimagining of what an open-world game can be. It’s an important game that will no doubt leave a mark in gaming history, but it’s biggest contribution, by far, was bringing hype back from the dead.

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