Media Manipulation: the "Bullshot" phenomenon

Target renders. Bullshots. Pre-renders. Grading. Post-processing. A whole new terminology has built up within the games community to describe the ways and means by which game-makers are creating promotional material that may or may not actually look like the product they'll eventually be playing on their consoles and computers. Where did it begin, why are they doing it, and in the internet age where any kind of fakery and shenanigans is swiftly jumped upon, shouldn't they really be stopping it?

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DelbertGrady3947d ago (Edited 3947d ago )

Very interesting and well-written read. Nice to get the bullshot explained by someone who has worked as a magazine editor and knows his stuff.

N4GAddict3947d ago

very informative article

Voozi3947d ago

Yea pretty good article

Redempteur3947d ago

nice article ..everyone does it except nintendo since there are not even in the HD area yet ..

i guess more and more people cheated and then cheating became the norm .. that's sad

C_SoL3947d ago

how people trip over this sh!t (I'm talking about the people down below)........Is the trailer supposed to look sh!tty? Honestly these trailers get me hyped up about the product that I want.

People are so delusional these days. Watch tv people it happens everyday.....Media Manipulation. So Boo-Hoo

FamilyGuy3947d ago

As long as it looks similar to what you're really going to be seeing in-game. I prefer game play videos to trailers anyway as trailer are supposed to be enhanced, just like movie trailers showing the best, most exciting or funniest parts of a movie. Trailers are made to sell the idea of what you're getting so there's no point in calling "bullshot" when you're looking at a trailer anyway.

Good read, and good info on how these things really work.

ShiftyLookingCow3946d ago

agreed. Whats worse? Fanboys love them, they would rather be deceived than see what the actual game looks like.

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DelbertGrady3947d ago (Edited 3947d ago )

They also "missed" the Killzone 2 and Motorstorm trailers from E3 2005.

Here's a bullshot as well:

Fishy Fingers3947d ago (Edited 3947d ago )

I believe pretty much every promotional screen has had some sort of "work" on it. Especially ones released early. Epic certainly take the biscuit though.

PirateThom3947d ago

Of course promotional shots have work done, Epic are just worse than anyone else.

1080p? Massive improvements to anti-aliasing and textures?

This isn't even rendered via a 360, it's a high end PC.

NaiNaiNai3947d ago

PirateThom Open zone is over there -------->

BTW how did you get so many bubbles you were down to 4 like a week ago..

*on topic*

I don't see the problem with bullshots. Gives you a general Idea of what the game "should, could" look like. Most of the time its not to far off.

N4GAddict3947d ago

As long as it ends up looking relatively close, I see no problem with bullshots.

PirateThom3947d ago

Open zone is over there, not sure how it relates to my post though.

And I've never had 4 bubbles.

wxer3947d ago

@ soda

that's killzone2 gameplay

im pretty sure it is

i paly the game evryday and thats what i see

Boody-Bandit3947d ago (Edited 3947d ago )

First of all you are the last person that should be telling people to head to the open zone.

2nd Pirate Thom has been riding 10 bubbles for as long as I can remember. I know because I bubble him every time N4G allows.

Now on topic:
Nearly every dev and publisher are guilty of bullshots. I don't know why it's a big deal. It's just part of the whole hype machine and a good (no doubt deceiving) PR tool. I never fall for them. I take everything I see and read from the gaming media with a grain of salt until I play the game for myself.

This was actually a good read.

crillyconlig3947d ago

gears was the worst offenders, cant compare kz and motorstorm, those where target renders

crillyconlig3947d ago

thats actual in game screen of killzone

Voozi3947d ago

wxer that one screenshot, they admitted to doing minor touchups to it


"Guerilla Games’ Seb Downie, while conceding that some slight adjustments have indeed been applied to the images in question, has insisted that nothing was changed in terms of content or composition, with only slight aesthetic detailing being subjected to Photoshop-like enhancements.

"They are only the tiniest bit touched up," wrote Downie on the official PlayStation 3 forum, before adding that "a little bit of colour-correction [was] done and some minor polish, but nothing major. Still very close to reality and it looks better in motion in my opinion.""

But I mean, nothing compared to this lol

poopsack3947d ago

i lold at nai sending people to the open zone, its like hey join me at my home, its lonely there.

On topic, its an ok article, and its not an offense to me if thats what im seeing while i play, and in GT5P, it is.

Now, gears that bullshot is extreme, very extreme. The killzone 2 i think is touched up also, but with a couple of filters, and these were filters that were later added to the game before release, so i see it more as a target render touch.

ShabzS3947d ago (Edited 3947d ago )

i think epic was hyping up its unreal engine 3 at the time with some cool screens... who could forget they even said they used a 100 percent of the 360's processing power for their first UE 3 game gears 2... real question is who actually believed them through all of this ?

Saaking3947d ago

Soda, Killzone 2 actually looks like that picture. Gears 2, not even close.

Noob3947d ago (Edited 3947d ago )

You haven't played the game. It looks so much better, especially in motion.

This would of been a much better example.

That compressed picture looks like it is from the final build of the game which has more color and is at a higher resolution. The older builds looks more grayish. Nice fail.

@ Xiphos

I agree. Other games like MGS4 use it too but they don't abuse like Gears and Halo does.

Megaton3947d ago

Yeah I'd say Epic is the biggest offender. They make Gears look better than CGI sometimes, then the game comes out running standard UE3 graphics. I've noticed that with many games that run on UE3, though. I guess that engine just works well for bullshotting.

lol @ Soda's Killzone image. That's how the game actually looks, you should try it sometime, you might like it.

DonCorneo3947d ago

no upcoming xbox game (odst and forza are not good-looking in motion).

plus, there are no screenshots for GT5, as far as I know. how can you bullshot an actual moving trailer? it's either a cgi movie or it's using the in-game engine. of course, pre-rendered will look better than actual gameplay.. if you want to judge, wait for actual gameplay footage (the videos has the phrase actual gameplay footage in it)

the kz2 trailer was cgi, same with ms. the actual engine for them aren't even at 10% during that time. nobody said it was in-game.

having played the beta, we already know uncharted 2 looks good.

Information Minister3947d ago (Edited 3947d ago )

Of course this is biased. What did you expect? These are the same guys who already decided months ago that FF XIII looks better on the 360. No word of praise towards the PS3 ever came out from Digital Foundry's staff. Quite the opposite.

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CIO Caveman Trolls3947d ago (Edited 3947d ago )

"They missed Naughty Dog and Uncharted 2" = Bullcrapshot

coolirisGB3947d ago

Forgot to post links to Uncharted 2 and Heavy Rain.

DonCorneo3947d ago (Edited 3947d ago )

because we already played the beta.. LOL.. xbots, do you remember back in 2007, xbots playing the gaylo 3 beta and cannot accept that the graphics were fugly -- saying that it's just the beta version and the screenshot (bullshots) show it's gonna be good?

denial mode up until the actual release.. and then xbots said, gaylo 3 is not about graphics, it's about having fun.. LMAO

frnkyl3947d ago

Don't forget Gears of War 2 XD

yoghurt3947d ago

Actually Soda, the real thing doesn't look that much different - seriously!

wxer3947d ago

thats a gameplay pic

and i don't thin GT needs this
GT always deliver

DelbertGrady3947d ago

I never said it did. I just thought it was annoying that PirateThom had to focus on flaming instead of writing something constructive for once. The article already mentioned Halo 3, Mass Effect 2 and Star Ocean 4 but NO, that wasn't enough for him. He had to take it one step further.