The 2019 Game Awards started with a rapid-fire pre-show where they stuffed a bunch of trailers and “smaller” awards. Among these presentations was a brief ad for the PlayStation game Dreams. It featured Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Jack Black in their costumes from Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and the just-released Jumanji: The Next Level. They talked very quickly about the kind of Jumanji-esque levels one could make in Dreams. But they sort of forgot that there’s an actual Jumanji game.
Dreams is an upcoming PlayStation 4 exclusive game that gives players the freedom to create their own levels or even games. It’s like Little Big Planet on steroids, which makes sense because it’s made by the same developer. It releases on February 14, 2020. It’s also being published by Sony, who just happens to produce the Jumanji movies. Dreams will have Jumanji-themed content, so having Jack Black and The Rock advertise for it makes sense.
Still, it’s odd when you consider that there’s an actual Jumanji video game. It’s literally called Jumanji: The Video Game. It came out this year for PlayStation 4 (and Switch, Xbox One, and PC) and even stars likenesses of Jack Black and The Rock’s characters. Sales of the game have to go to Sony in some capacity, so it seems like the company would want to have its stars push the game. Instead it had them talk about a game that hasn’t even come out yet.
The most likely explanation is that Jumanji: The Video Game was not very good. It’s got very low scores on its few reviews on Metacritic. TheGamer’s own reviewer said “There is some potential here, but sadly, it is far from utilized and the result is a bargain bin title with a big name franchise slapped on the cover.”
If Sony was going to spend the money on an ad for The Game Awards, and use legit movie stars for that ad, it makes sense to use those resources to promote its best. Dreams is one of 2020’s most anticipated games, with people already creating amazing things in the beta. Maybe sweeping the official Jumanji game under the rug in favor of a promising creative game that could have Jumanji elements is the smart play.
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