Imagine: you’re sitting with your family on Thanksgiving Day, watching football or the parade or a Hallmark movie marathon, when suddenly you see a commercial for the new Star Wars game. “Cool,” you might think, for roughly twenty seconds, until it spoils the ending and one of the game’s coolest surprises.
That’s what it was like to be Kotaku editor-in-chief Stephen Totilo last Thursday, who hadn’t yet finished the excellent new Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order when he saw this commercial, designed to promote the game on Xbox One.
Obviously, don’t watch this or read any further unless you’ve finished the game (or don’t care).
Yup, that’s Darth Vader around 20 seconds in. Given that Jedi: Fallen Order tells a brand new story set between the Star Wars prequels and original trilogy, there was no reason to think that anyone from the movies would appear, which is why Vader’s menacing appearance at the very end of the game makes for such a cool surprise. A surprise that was just ruined for a whole lot of people who watched TV on Thanksgiving weekend.
It’s not clear who was responsible for this trailer—Electronic Arts is the publisher of the game, but it’s hosted on the Xbox YouTube channel—but it’s led to a whole lot of angry fans. What were they thinking? Even staff at the game’s development studio, Respawn, have been fuming both publicly and privately about the spoiler. (EA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.)
Put another way, as Stephen wrote in Kotaku Slack over the holiday, “what the hell.”