In December of 2007, game developer Guerrilla Games admitted to altering newly released Killzone 2 screenshots in order to make them look more attractive. “There are only the tiniest bit touched up,” said the company’s QA manager, Seb Downie, in a PlayStation.com reply to savvy gamers who noticed discrepancies when compared to actual gameplay footage. “There was a little bit of color-correction done and some minor polish, but nothing major,” he maintained.
Indeed, the advertised screenshot was hardly a radical improvement over its in-game counterpart. But it wasn’t the first time Guerrilla Games had altered the game’s appearance, either. Killzone 2′s debut trailer, shown in 2005, looked a lot more glamorous than it did two years later when proper gameplay was shown at E3. And who can forget EA’s exaggerated 2005 promo for its next-gen Madden? The screenshots looked superb, but the actual gameplay looked glaringly inferior when it was released later that year.
The Proof is in the Pudding
Faked, enhanced, or otherwise augmented screenshots are commonly called “bullshots.” Their intent is to make a game look more appealing than it actually is, and their occurrence has largely existed since video games were first commercialized. So are bullshots misleading or just good marketing?