• We are delighted to introduce GiftBot 2.0, the next generation of our popular gifting feature. To celebrate, we'll be giving away some incredible prizes over the coming weeks in one big Giveaway Extravaganza!

Giant Bomb claims they were denied a Borderlands 3 review copy due to 'dubious E3 coverage'.

MadLaughter

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,154
Remember when Bethesda was like "No review copies anymore, we don't think it's fair that some people get to play early" and then they gave early copies to youtubers?
 

wollywinka

Member
Feb 15, 2018
164
That doesn't say anything about their intent behind the scores, which is what was brought up. If anything, I would say that the fact that their review scores are consistenly below the average makes it less likely they're doing things just for clicks
I take your point. While I agree that the reason for the low scores is unclear, I’m not sure that one can infer anything from.the pattern of reviews. It could equally be consistent click-baiting, or a generally contrarian house style.
 

Hella

Member
Oct 27, 2017
13,509
Remember when Bethesda was like "No review copies anymore, we don't think it's fair that some people get to play early" and then they gave early copies to youtubers?
2K's approach here is the same thing, though less blatant about it--well, at least before they confirmed that they're doing it to manipulate day 1 review scores.

Both companies want hype and advertising to be the sole catalyst for purchases, seemingly because they view critical analysis of their games as detrimental to sales. But 2K actually (apparently) went through reviewers on a case-by-case basis and deemed some "secure" (i.e. likely to score the game high). It's really dangerous for companies to be manipulating reception like this.
 

Hamchan

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
3,121
2K doesn’t have to give a reason for not providing a copy of the game to Giant Bomb so it’s pretty damn pointed that they specifically conveyed that reason for it. It feels like an intimidatory tactic.
 

Thorn

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,391
Every time I wonder "well maybe I should get BL3" a piece of news makes it easier to reaffirm my decision not to.
 

zoltek

Member
Oct 25, 2017
486
I mean whether or not they put a scored review out, Giantbomb still finds more value in their long-form video impressions and their podcast discussions, both of which are 2K denying their ability to do so around the time those other reviews are hitting. It's obfuscating their ability to have a discussion, either positive or negative, in the window where there would be a lot of people looking for the word on Borderlands 3.
Ah. I see. I think you and I differ re: the importance of a formal look at review code. From what I see, devout Era readers are as informed and fluent in videogames as most professional reviewers, if not more so in some cases. In other words, their opinions aren't worth any more or less than yours or mine. This is especially true when there are sometimes hours upon hours of unedited raw footage that allows one to make up their own mind. In Borderlands 3 case, I believe there was E3 gameplay footage and even a playable pre-release demo. Furthermore, let's say you really do value the opinion of folks at a certain outlet. Most of those will have already discussed the game; even Giantbomb had a half hour preview detailing their impressions.

Listen. I completely agree with you that 2K and/or Gearbox is most likely pulling some smarmy ass shit here. As you say, it's gross. My argument is that if you follow videogames regularly, you probably don't need what amounts to just another gamer's opinion to decide whether you are interested in purchasing a game.
 

Flutter

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,303
Listen. I completely agree with you that 2K and/or Gearbox is most likely pulling some smarmy ass shit here. As you say, it's gross. My argument is that if you follow videogames regularly, you probably don't need what amounts to just another gamer's opinion to decide whether you are interested in purchasing a game.
Being older with a mortgage and having to be careful on my expenses means that reviews are more important for me than ever.

I'm not going to buy games on a whim. Now I'll wait for impressions and reviews from people whose tastes are like mine. Only a few games are day one buys.
 

Trojan

Member
Oct 27, 2017
99
I have thoroughly enjoyed Giant Bomb dunking on Randy Pitchford the last 6 months. 2K and Gearbox look so petty in this situation. I would not be surprised if Pitchford himself dictated to the PR team who should get review copies and who shouldn’t.
 

daxy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,249
Listen. I completely agree with you that 2K and/or Gearbox is most likely pulling some smarmy ass shit here. As you say, it's gross. My argument is that if you follow videogames regularly, you probably don't need what amounts to just another gamer's opinion to decide whether you are interested in purchasing a game.
True, but there are broader implications too. Giant Bomb is big enough for this not to be a big deal to them, but if you're a budding website or video personality vying for attention on a daily basis, this can be crushing. And it has a chilling effect whether you were affected or not. You know that if you don't kiss ass and put up with it, some publisher might put you on their naughty list. I'm not saying everyone and their mum should be getting review codes, but by rewarding "the right" reviewers thusly, they are manipulating the overall sentiment toward the game. This is not to people's benefit (or that of the media) because it could have and most certainly will now cast into doubt criticism (positive or negative) of the Borderlands series and 2K's games. So these actions have negative effects that far outreach just Giant Bomb, Kotaku, freelancers or video personalities who may have been rejected for the way they spoke or wrote about a game. Someone will tell me I'm overthinking it, but this is how brands influence the message about their product.
 

Trojan

Member
Oct 27, 2017
99
Being older with a mortgage and having to be careful on my expenses means that reviews are more important for me than ever.

I'm not going to buy games on a whim. Now I'll wait for impressions and reviews from people whose tastes are like mine. Only a few games are day one buys.
I’d recommend finding 2-3 reviewers that have a similar taste to you and are fairly objective in their reviews. Then you can follow their impressions to guide you vs a meta score that muddies the waters.
 

Flutter

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,303
I’d recommend finding 2-3 reviewers that have a similar taste to you and are fairly objective in their reviews. Then you can follow their impressions to guide you vs a meta score that muddies the waters.
Yeah, that's what I mean. Karak, Martin Robinson, Maximilian Dood for example.
 
Oct 28, 2017
143
Australia
For what it's worth, both the Eurogamer and Kotaku pieces about why they haven't reviewed the game cetainly offered similar viewpoints if you read between the lines.
 

btkadams

Member
Oct 25, 2017
736
I find this so shady. I hope it gets more attention. I will always be a fan of Giant Bomb for their integrity.
 

stupei

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,748
Remember when Bethesda was like "No review copies anymore, we don't think it's fair that some people get to play early" and then they gave early copies to youtubers?
This approach only seemed to bury Dishonored 2 and Prey too since there was barely any talk about either at release with nobody except the YouTubers even able to do so. They didn't have the name recognition of Doom to overcome how much Bethesda really screwed Arkane.
 

zoltek

Member
Oct 25, 2017
486
True, but there are broader implications too. Giant Bomb is big enough for this not to be a big deal to them, but if you're a budding website or video personality vying for attention on a daily basis, this can be crushing. And it has a chilling effect whether you were affected or not. You know that if you don't kiss ass and put up with it, some publisher might put you on their naughty list. I'm not saying everyone and their mum should be getting review codes, but by rewarding "the right" reviewers thusly, they are manipulating the overall sentiment toward the game. This is not to people's benefit (or that of the media) because it could have and most certainly will now cast into doubt criticism (positive or negative) of the Borderlands series and 2K's games. So these actions have negative effects that far outreach just Giant Bomb, Kotaku, freelancers or video personalities who may have been rejected for the way they spoke or wrote about a game. Someone will tell me I'm overthinking it, but this is how brands influence the message about their product.
I agree entirely with your sentiment. Marketing is almost never the consumer's friend. I would argue in this case we (i.e. Era) are informed enough to not need the marketing to arbritrate our decision to buy or not to buy.

To your point about lesser publicized entities being screwed over by this type of practice. Completely concur once again. Once more, marketing is not the consumer's friend. This type of practice has been going on since the advent of advertising. Doesn't make it right but I'm not smart enough to think of a way to combat it short of legislative intervention, and I don't see that working well whether it truly be at the government level or self-legislation via the ESA or some similar entity.
 

zoltek

Member
Oct 25, 2017
486
Being older with a mortgage and having to be careful on my expenses means that reviews are more important for me than ever.

I'm not going to buy games on a whim. Now I'll wait for impressions and reviews from people whose tastes are like mine. Only a few games are day one buys.
I hear you. I am in a similar boat but for me, I watch a Let's Play or extended gameplay segment for even 5 minutes, deep down I already "know" whether or not I am going to buy a game. I suspect this is true for many folks, that marketers know this, and that this is why CGI-only announcement trailers are still a thing. I also suspect that most of us here are fluent enough in gaming to not fall for the oohs and aahs of non-gameplay CGI extravaganzas.
 

Imperfected

Member
Nov 9, 2017
6,575
This approach only seemed to bury Dishonored 2 and Prey too since there was barely any talk about either at release with nobody except the YouTubers even able to do so. They didn't have the name recognition of Doom to overcome how much Bethesda really screwed Arkane.
More or less. They basically buried a half-dozen good games they were publishing to prop up sales of two extremely mediocre titles they developed in-house (Fallout 4 and 76) by trying to work the review system. I suppose it's down to how much their take is as a publisher in the end, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was a net loss overall, and it's certainly been a huge loss in terms of brand value. (Trying to trick people into buying mediocre Fallout games is killing that brand, and not letting DOOM, Wolfenstein, Dishonored, and Prey stretch their legs stymied the growth of all those brands to the point where people have barely even noticed some of the sequels releasing.)

It's a stupid, shitty way to run your publishing business that punishes all the developers under your umbrella in the end.
 

Dogenzaka

Member
Apr 20, 2019
383
Going back and watching the Unfinished for this is the clear smoking gun here.

It's funny because in my minds eye i don't remember it being as scathing as it is although i vividly remember them not being big on it. I remembered it as "it's more borderlands" but watching it again they really really don't care for the game and chalk it up as something that's beyond it's time.

Doesn't help that abby taps on how all the drama and everything surrounding the game will potentially impact whether she buys the game or not.
After watching this Unfinished video, I don't really blame 2K for not giving them a code? Abby and Dan just handwave everything as "more of the same lol" going on to say that it's no different from Borderlands 2 and that if someone told them it was an expansion they'd believe it without question. They're being so (willfully?) ignorant and down on it. They made up their minds on it before they even touched it and won't acknowledge any of the improvements, changes, or features. It's wild that they act like this but then Jeff and Abby will eat up just about every Call of Duty game.
 

Einbroch

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,622
Smart companies won’t give two shits about journalists and will just give their games to streamers. Way easier to control and has way more reach.
 

Kin5290

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,697
I really wish we could just remove 2K and Randy from the Borderlands IP, I'd really like to see the game not surrounded by the idiocy of it's creator/ publisher.
Does Randy Pitchford actually hold an officer or other senior role at 2k games or is this a case of ResetERA confusing developer and publisher again?
 

Kin5290

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,697
I think they’re talking in a larger sense about the direction of borderlands, not just this issue
Well, no, because other people are pinning the review shenanigans directly on Randy Pitchford and 2k as if they’re the same entity.

Now Pitchford is enough of a cult of personality and big name that I’m sure he could theoretically have a say in the publisher’s review strategy, but nobodies doing the extra work to actually demonstrate that’s the case.
 

FreezePeach

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,491
Smart companies won’t give two shits about journalists and will just give their games to streamers. Way easier to control and has way more reach.
This is correct, because streamers have basically been spawned from being sheep to their viewers and will bend the fuck over for anyone that gives them access. Its amazing because you see streamers with like 20k viewers at a time completely shit on "writers" reviewing games because apparently they dont like games anymore. Their philosphy is why bother with these out of touch writers when you can just watch them ((((((give them a fuck ton of money and bits))))))) and get the real ((((truth))))). Of course all of that is masked in a whole lot of forgiveness and veiled praise but i mean who cares about objectivity anymore. There are bits to be made.
 

Gunblade47

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
409
Yea I'm not touching this game even if it's god's gift to earth. There's so much shady shit surrounding it that the attempt to condition the media to only speak positively about their games is just another controversy for the pile at this point.
 

Igniz12

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,158
Im actually surprised marketing now goes to these lengths to vet outlets for their pre coverage before deciding to give them review copies. Especially as GB is not a traditional site like most other places. Is this the first time that a dev has withheld copies to a site preemptively because they believe they won't get a fair review? Usually these kind of actions happen after a publisher gets a poor review on their previous games, not before.


Smart companies won’t give two shits about journalists and will just give their games to streamers. Way easier to control and has way more reach.
Actually I noticed they are approaching the pre coverage in 2 ways: One is the traditional way of giving it to established media outlets to talk about the main game and the story, characters and whatnot. And the other is giving it to streamers months in advance to grind out the late game content.

I suspect the people who care about the latter dwarfs the former so in essence they are already doing this.


After watching this Unfinished video, I don't really blame 2K for not giving them a code? Abby and Dan just handwave everything as "more of the same lol" going on to say that it's no different from Borderlands 2 and that if someone told them it was an expansion they'd believe it without question. They're being so (willfully?) ignorant and down on it. They made up their minds on it before they even touched it and won't acknowledge any of the improvements, changes, or features. It's wild that they act like this but then Jeff and Abby will eat up just about every Call of Duty game.
TBF this was footage taken from the E3 site so they had to find time to sit down and play through a random section of the game on top of all the other stuff at E3 so maybe they could be forgiven for not being in the right environment to be expected to give a objective take on the game. Not to mention this was a month later before the actual video went up.
 

Pabz

Member
Oct 25, 2017
343
The year of 2029 is upon us. The last known person to get a single review copy of a video game is Greg Miller, who will shill for anything you pay him to.
 

inguef

The Fallen
Oct 28, 2017
11,377
Does Randy Pitchford actually hold an officer or other senior role at 2k games or is this a case of ResetERA confusing developer and publisher again?
I assume you have no clue about what's been happening around Pitchford lately?

The year of 2029 is upon us. The last known person to get a single review copy of a video game is Greg Miller, who will shill for anything you pay him to.
And he's available for parties!
 

FairyEmpire

Member
Oct 25, 2017
15,051
So they really attempted to launch with a high Metacritic by cherrypicking truster reviewers, and even if the game goes down like 5-10 points 2 weeks later who cares, it's the early word of mouth and sales that bring the most money. They must be pissed about that PC Gamer review which drastically alters the average.

This, however, isn't a completely isolated thing. I'm not aware of a time we were denied a game because of negative or indifferent coverage in the past, but I can definitely tell you about review events where they scrutinized your past writings about said game and the franchise, making sure you are very positive about the game before signing the paper. For games that don't send review copies but only do press events to selected press and gaming personalities, it amounts to the same thing really. This one by 2K seems particularly fishy because they could have just limited all to the usual press event and not raise suspicion, but instead they cherrypicked online reviewers with lame excuses. Not a good look.