A couple of weeks back I leaked the existence of Rush of Blood, a VR experience themed around Sony Exclusive Until Dawn, six days before it was officially revealed with a trailer at Paris Games Week. The leak, which was not in the best interests of the PR team and the developers involved, was outright denied in a Reddit AMA the same day I leaked the news.
As you can now see, I knew what I was talking about when I leaked the game’s existence.
So, how do leaks to press happen in the video games industry? Well, while it’s different in every case, I can give you a little bit of a look into how it happened in this particular case.
My initial source on the news was an unrequested email from a fan of my work. The person, a fan who presumably liked my work enough that they wanted to be a part of my continued career success, emailed me claiming they had played a piece of Until Dawn DLC back in late August, several weeks before the main game was released. The person claimed that they had only just found time to play Until Dawn itself, and instantly recognized one of the game’s key enemies from his demo experience.
At this point, I asked the single source for additional information that I could later verify with other sources. They claimed that they had been invited by an outside market research firm in late august to Sony’s London offices to test a piece of VR DLC titled Rush of Blood. They described it as entirely on rails, a motion based first person shooter, and featuring a demo around twenty minutes in length that they were required to play multiple times, with multiple control schemes, before being asked a series of questions.
After seeing a copy of the original email from the market research firm confirming elements of that timeline, I started to make further queries and see if any of the information cited had been previously referenced publicly.
The phrase “Rush of Blood” had been used in an interview regarding Until Dawn getting DLC in the future, but in an odd context that stood out as an attempt to hint at the title.
At this point, I suspected I was on to something.
From here I did some research on the firm that organised the market research. I was able to use public information to find out how many people were invited to Sony, and over how many days, which gave me a good sense of how openly I could discuss my source without them being identifiable as the source of the leak.
From there, I went to Twitter, looking for tweets on those dates that might be referencing vaguely the leaked content market research tests, and found a second source who I privately contacted.
I saw emails from the market research firm to the second source, as well as travel documents showing they went to Sony R&D on the days they claimed. I know enough people were invited that they can’t be picked out based on that info.
Both described the content, both gave the name Rush of Blood, and one was able to show an image containing the name. The name linked up with an interview that had appeared a few weeks prior.
Both were able to confirm several bits of key info independently, including what controller options were available, how many times they played the demo, what questions they were asked and even little bits of info regarding names of staff.
At this point, I knew I had a story, and I had a strong suspicion that the news was going to break at Paris Games Week, due to a number of other Sony affiliated VR developers showing an interest in the event and lining up announcements around it.
So, there you have it, a little look into the world of video game announcement leaks to press. I hope you found this interesting and informative.