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Spoiling a Trailer.

Today I learned something new. Something interesting.

Apparently you can spoil a trailer. Let me tell you the story.

Over in Japan, game companies are taking part in the annual Tokyo Game Show. Developers from all over the country announce their attendance ahead of time, giving full schedules and lists of the games they're bringing to the stage and the show floor. Square Enix always attends this event and they're a huge part of the hype. Square Enix's Kingdom Hearts series is a pretty common presence at TGS, if there is in fact a Kingdom Hearts game known to be in development.

New Kingdom Hearts III footage was released as part of the show, which I was very much looking forward to. Square announced that the game would be at the show quite some time ago in the form of a new trailer. If you're interested in Kingdom Hearts III, I can safely assume you've seen it by now. Every major gaming news site has covered it and so has every prominent Kingdom Hearts "YouTuber".

This new trailer seems to feature Xion, a fan favorite character who met her end in her debut game back in 2009, and it seems the villains of the series may have gotten their hands on her. She appears for only a split second in a montage of other characters under the villain's control. She was on screen for such a short time that I missed her entirely. Hours later I was showing my brother the trailer and only noticed her appearance then. I quite like this character so I took to Twitter to write my reaction to this particular 0.2 seconds.

Having done that I got back to work on Hero 2's pause screen graphics, only to be drawn back shortly after by a notification on my phone. My Xion tweet had received a reply. It was from someone who follows me, and I follow him as well. He was very upset that I had spoken about this trailer, which at this point was practically old news in terms of internet discussion. As I stated before, every single source of Kingdom Hearts news, both official and unnoficial, both entire websites and individual fan's blogs and YouTube pages, had covered the trailer meticulously. It had been up for over half a day at this point.

Therein lies the rub, however. He tells me "before you say "subscribe to the YouTube channel", and then gives a paper thin excuse as to why that's inconvenient for him. For reference, the Kingdom Hearts YouTube channel does post the same trailers in multiple languages but Kingdom Hearts news is infamously slow. They upload new trailers infrequently, and although things have certainly picked up the pace this year, Square Enix hasn't uploaded multiple versions of trailer in different languages since July of 2017. Paper thin, indeed.

I reply to this by telling him that I was speculating, and I have no way of knowing definitively who it is that's featured in the trailer. The Kingdom Hearts series features time travel, clones, fake people made of memories, fake people made of nothing, numerous alternate versions of established characters, and other shenanigans. These elements are utilized for quick plot twists and misdirection, so no one can say for sure if that's Xion until the game is released. An example of this point comes from one of the primary characters, Riku, having already spoken of a mysterious "other me" that the series hasn't even hinted at beforehand, in previous trailers for the game.

I also took issue with the idea that you can "spoil" a trailer, particularly given the aforementioned amount of time and coverage that already surrounded this one. He's going to blame me for his not having seen it yet, then give his reasons why he actively avoids the location where the trailers show up. As little sense as that makes, it only gets better from here.

He gives a three tweet long reply. First he tells me that my original tweet was not speculation, it was a statement of fact. Nothing that I can possibly say on this subject could ever be a fact unless I was on the development team of the game. I am not. Besides, if I had said "Xion might be evil now" he would still be angry because he still wouldn't have seen the trailers he does nothing to stay up to date on.

He tells me that I can, in fact, spoil trailers. I ruined the "reveal" that the entire trailer built up to. The trailer treats nothing like a reveal. There's no build up, there's no suspensful music while we pan up to see who's hiding behind the camera angle. She's just there, if it's her. It just happens. The trailer makes a bigger deal out of Aqua being evil, something we've known for months. All of this is besides the point, as the trailer is public, free to view, and had been up for hours.

He goes on; Trailers spoil content, period, he says. They are inherently spoilers for the content that they advertise. To prove this he mentions that the website TV Tropes has an entire trope called "Trailers Always Spoiler". Goodness. I hadn't factored in TV Tropes Dot Com when I decided to talk about a Kingdom Hearts trailer that was three hours old when I woke up at 7:30 that morning.

I disagree with this idea for reasons that should be obvious. Game developers, movie producers, music composers, you name it, they all release previews of their work. What they put out for you to see could very well be a spoiler, yet you wouldn't know it unless they told you, but I know that's not what he meant. The idea that a trailer, in and of itself, is one giant spoiler is nonsense. If he truly believes that and expects not to get spoiled, he would have to close his social media accounts, break off from any friends he may have that share his interests and become a shut-in. You wouldn't want to accidentally learn that Sora still walks on two legs in Kingdom Hearts III, would you? That was in a trailer so it's all one big spoiler.

His second point is to tell me that he doesn't follow major Kingdom Hearts news sites. He asks "why would I?" Perhaps, and I'm just spitballing here, throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks, but perhaps you would do that so you can avoid having to give the angry, irrational responses that you're giving to the situation you are in right now. He goes on with "I do not even follow minor sites that I do like".

So he won't follow the YouTube channel which would send a "new trailer" notification straight to his phone, in an instant, wherever he is in the world. He won't follow large Kingdom Hearts news sites that could tell him when new information on the game becomes available because after all, why would he? And he just can't be bothered even to follow websites that he personally likes.

His immediate next post asks me 'what roadblocks do I put in my own way?', which made me laugh out loud, long enough to wake up Chell, my cat. She's a heavy sleeper. He says that subscribing to a YouTube channel or periodically checking in on news from websites dedicated to his interest is too much. These decisions aren't "roadblocks", these are attempts "to not spend literally all day online instead of doing something useful in my life". Unless he's watching trailers during an Entmoot that's a bit of a time scale disparity. This comes from someone whose Twitter bio reads "A slacker who who wastes his time doing everything but what he actually needs to do".

He's not finished yet, either. He tells me that I'm blaming him for my own mistakes, which he must now take action to correct in the future.

He promptly un-follows me. I still follow him though so I get to see his passive aggressive comments to himself. He goes on about how sick he is of Kingdom Hearts fans. He states "If you accidentally (I assume "spoil something") the correct response is "Oops, sorry about that."", and the incorrect response is to get defensive and blame others. "That is how you make enemies". I try my best not to call names, but no one over the age of twelve speaks this way.

Then he posts the trailer himself and complains about how he was already "spoiled" but there are "no spoilers from me except the thumbnail which I do not control". The thumbnail is a spoiler now. What about the title, that clearly reads "KINGDOM HEARTS III - Big Hero 6 Trailer"? Aren't you going to apologize for that to all of the virgin eyes you might expose? The description might be a problem too because it confirms Donald Duck is in the game.

All snarking aside I found this exchange to be laughable mostly because I'm very understanding of spoilers, believe it or not. Six hours after Dream Drop Distance launched on 3DS someone on GoNintendo had changed their avatar to Axel to holding his brand new Keyblade. Axel wielding a Keyblade is a twist that's revealed literally minutes before the credits roll. I know what it's like to have something big actually spoiled for you. The difference is that this detail was important and came from the ending of a 6 hour old released game, not something minuscule that came from an official trailer for an upcoming game released half a day ago.

We had followed each other for quite a while and we spoke about various things over that time. He never struck me as someone who flies off the handle at absolutely nothing but here we are. You can't really get a grasp on someone's personality through a platform where you can only speak in sets of 240 characters or wherever the character limit currently sits. Oh, shoot, he still follows me on Gab. Wonder if he's gonna take care of that.

As increasingly irrational as every response became I won't be unfollowing him any time soon. Not over something like this, anyhow. It takes a lot. It's just the internet.

Anyway, back to drawing up pause screen graphics, I guess. Thanks for reading!

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Entertainment Hero

Jeremy Hathcock

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