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

Alex840

Banned
Oct 31, 2017
3,117
Gross, did they need to do this? It seems the game is good and what people expected, why would they deny coverage.
I agree. The most shitty thing is that they’ve only sent code out to the people 2K already knew would like the game. I’m not saying more mixed reviews would drag the game down to a 70 or anything (I don’t think the score would change too much) but not purposefully avoiding suspected criticism seems really shady.
 

Salbert

Member
Mar 23, 2018
263
I know you're kind of just saying this in passing, but honestly this isn't a good take. Controversies shouldn't be entertainment. I mean you can look hard enough at anything and find a controversy surrounding something. Especially when it's framed in whatever way an OP wants to frame it in.
Nah, video game industry drama, at least of this nature isn't so serious that you shouldn't find it entertaining. There is nothing of true value at stake here.
 

Avitus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,303
Review sites (especially the aggregators) should just refuse to issue a score when this sort of widespread fuckery goes on.
 

Irrotational

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,496
I hope all the sites getting review copies late, issue harsher than average scores to screw down its metacritic score.

They should take a stand against publisher fuckery and bias.
 

Bad_Boy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,892
Me personally, I dont really feel bad for reviewers not getting a copy of the game early. I dont know any other industry that would complain about critics selectively not getting a early show of something. Shady or not , If its my product i can show it to who i want right?

Wanting this game to do bad just because the PR department at 2k is kind of shitty. A lot of good devs probably worked hard on the title.
 

Talus

Member
Dec 9, 2017
1,050
I hope all the sites getting review copies late, issue harsher than average scores to screw down its metacritic score.

They should take a stand against publisher fuckery and bias.
No. They should remain unbiased and professional. I want to know that they will rate a game based on the games merits and not be influenced by petty shit.
 

wollywinka

Member
Feb 15, 2018
164
I hope all the sites getting review copies late, issue harsher than average scores to screw down its metacritic score.

They should take a stand against publisher fuckery and bias.
If they did, that would in itself be biased. It would be like the people who give an Amazon product a one-star review because it turned up late.
 

xeecee

Member
Oct 27, 2017
606
Me personally, I dont really feel bad for reviewers not getting a copy of the game early. I dont know any other industry that would complain about critics selectively not getting a early show of something. Shady or not , If its my product i can show it to who i want right?

Wanting this game to do bad just because the PR department at 2k is kind of shitty. A lot of good devs probably worked hard on the title.
This has been a whole drama in cinema and music criticism for decades. There was a renewed big argument about it this very week, in fact—the film festival circuit is very, very selective for reasons similar to what 2k pulled here, and a lot of film critics have been annoyed about it for years.

not to mention the fact that “uh oh this movie wasn’t screened for critics ahead of time” is such a well known red flag for films it often becomes news when an anticipated film isn’t given critic screenings.
 

Irrotational

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,496
Remij wollywinka maybe....2k have pretty blatantly manipulated the system to get higher review scores, and probably, *some* higher sales...all while reviewers are using code that loses 6 hours of progress and is a pretty early build (early enough that their saves may not work with the final game).

Basically the current review score is based on the hopes and expectations of the reviewers...who have been selected to give the most positive coverage.

I read through the reviews, only ign explicitly mentioned bugs, and bad ones, while none of the others mention it at all. One mentions a pre release build in the footnote and one mentions an early version of the retail build (which won't be true if the saves don't carry over).

Personally I think it's fine if the remaining sites act to cancel out the existing bias AND highlight this as a shitty situation.
 

Stygr

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,464
@Remij @wollywinka maybe....2k have pretty blatantly manipulated the system to get higher review scores, and probably, *some* higher sales...all while reviewers are using code that loses 6 hours of progress and is a pretty early build (early enough that their saves may not work with the final game).
I really don't think Borderlands 3 needs reviews to sell.

The game is the sequel of a 20 million seller and in the last months, Borderlands 2 sold an additional 2 million copies, for a 2012 title it's pretty big.
Borderlands 3 will do really well regardless of metacritic
 

danm999

Member
Oct 29, 2017
5,801
Sydney
Me personally, I dont really feel bad for reviewers not getting a copy of the game early. I dont know any other industry that would complain about critics selectively not getting a early show of something. Shady or not , If its my product i can show it to who i want right?

Wanting this game to do bad just because the PR department at 2k is kind of shitty. A lot of good devs probably worked hard on the title.
I don’t think Jeff is so much complaining as he wants to let people know they’re selectively releasing review codes to inflate their meta score. Probably because they don’t have that much confidence in their product reviewing as well as they would like.
 

Imperfected

Member
Nov 9, 2017
6,575
I really don't think Borderlands 3 needs reviews to sell.
If the reviews didn't matter, there would be no reason to duck them. Even a bad review is basically free advertising in terms of increasing awareness of your product, the release date, and just ensuring that potential customers are saturated with news about it in the run-up to release. You would never turn down a chance at free publicity unless you were explicitly concerned about the risks negative publicity would pose.
 

Chandler

Member
Oct 25, 2017
920
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?
Borderlands/ Gearbox is surrounded by controversy from both Randy and 2K, that's what I'm talking about. Randy is an all-around shithead and I really don't like that he's the head of the company that makes one of my favorite IP's, and 2K is one of those companies that you can tell literally cares about nothing but scraping money. They both make it hard to talk about Borderlands because the scummy shit they both pull are usually the center of attention.
 
Nov 2, 2017
302

dan2026

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,584
I smell Randy's foul stink all over this news.
He's just the kind of petty arsehole who would harbour a personal grudge against critics.
 

Zappy

Member
Nov 2, 2017
3,334
This behaviour is re-inforced by the way people bang on about metacritic as though the cumulative score is a trophy or a stick. Its terrible and we can stop publishers caring by stopping the nonsense and overreactions.

The review threads on here show exactly why publishers do this - 19 good reviews and one average to middling one and the average one is championed and talked about for weeks on end. It needs to stop. Pick reviewers you like and trust and read them and stop using aggregated nonsense as some kind of a justification or trophy.
 

Nora

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,293
Ideally, all media outlets would stand together and refuse to run reviews until after launch in situations like this, to prevent publishers from blacklisting whoever they want to. But that will never happen.

Anyway, fuck 2K and fuck Pitchford. Even if I was interested in BL3, their stink is so all over the game at this point, I'd feel dirty just playing it.
 

Patapuf

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,933
Me personally, I dont really feel bad for reviewers not getting a copy of the game early. I dont know any other industry that would complain about critics selectively not getting a early show of something. Shady or not , If its my product i can show it to who i want right?

Wanting this game to do bad just because the PR department at 2k is kind of shitty. A lot of good devs probably worked hard on the title.

Literally every media industry - and many consumer product industries - send early product for testing. And you bet there are complaints when publishers try to game that system for positive coverage.

Especially when it's for products that aren't just a movie tickets or a 60$ game.
 

wollywinka

Member
Feb 15, 2018
164
Remij wollywinka maybe....2k have pretty blatantly manipulated the system to get higher review scores, and probably, *some* higher sales...all while reviewers are using code that loses 6 hours of progress and is a pretty early build (early enough that their saves may not work with the final game).

Basically the current review score is based on the hopes and expectations of the reviewers...who have been selected to give the most positive coverage.

I read through the reviews, only ign explicitly mentioned bugs, and bad ones, while none of the others mention it at all. One mentions a pre release build in the footnote and one mentions an early version of the retail build (which won't be true if the saves don't carry over).

Personally I think it's fine if the remaining sites act to cancel out the existing bias AND highlight this as a shitty situation.
Having spent 15 years as a magazine journalist writing for international publications, none of this surprises me. Admittedly, I stopped back in 2005, and things have changed a lot since then, but even so, reviewers were still cherry-picked. PR companies (the good ones, at least) would cultivate a relationship with journalists, take them out for lunch, invite them to launch parties, get them drunk or high. Yes, it was all rather corrupt, but that was just the way it worked. Journalists were selected and lobbied like politicians.

Game development is a very expensive business. When you’re spending tens of millions making a game, I think it would be naïve not to expect a publisher to take steps to protect their sizeable investment. Unlike The White House excluding journalists as punishment for critical coverage, publishers are not obliged to give review copies to every outlet. The only goal is to ensure that their product is positively received. Do I agree with it? Not really, but that’s the way it is.
 

Gjerven

Member
Nov 30, 2017
7

Zelas

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,158
If you dont like people talking about your child porn fetish and other shadiness, then dont be a scumbag that’s into child porn and shady shit.
 

SteveWinwood

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,632
USA USA USA
Here's the BL3 discussion

Jump till 1:57:24 for when they discuss the message from 2K.

Should also be noted as some people posts in this thread. They do not feel entitled to getting it early.
the 2k drm they're talking about only for reviewers sounds like a nightmare
 

Rhaknar

Member
Oct 26, 2017
15,293
Me personally, I dont really feel bad for reviewers not getting a copy of the game early. I dont know any other industry that would complain about critics selectively not getting a early show of something. Shady or not , If its my product i can show it to who i want right?

Wanting this game to do bad just because the PR department at 2k is kind of shitty. A lot of good devs probably worked hard on the title.
TV shows get sent early to tv show reviewers

Movie reviewers go to early screenings.

Like what the actual fuck are you talking about?
 

XandBosch

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,693
Me personally, I dont really feel bad for reviewers not getting a copy of the game early. I dont know any other industry that would complain about critics selectively not getting a early show of something. Shady or not , If its my product i can show it to who i want right?

Wanting this game to do bad just because the PR department at 2k is kind of shitty. A lot of good devs probably worked hard on the title.
This 100%.
 

ninhead

Avenger
Nov 18, 2017
357
Imagine a world where the leader of a nation denies access to a press conference to all media outlets that have ever been critical of him, but will send a video copy of it to the previously mentioned outlets when the "good" outlets file their reports on the 6pm news. It's controlling the narrative. That's not a good thing, whether it's for something as big as a press conference or as niche as a high-profile game release.
 

Charpunk

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,031
Me personally, I dont really feel bad for reviewers not getting a copy of the game early. I dont know any other industry that would complain about critics selectively not getting a early show of something. Shady or not , If its my product i can show it to who i want right?

Wanting this game to do bad just because the PR department at 2k is kind of shitty. A lot of good devs probably worked hard on the title.
It's not about that. It's about the shady as hell way they are going about it and flat out lying about security reasons to their faces and then being all "well maybe if you kissed our asses more.." all while sending out access to sites that they thought would hook them up with the positive scores.
 

Gestault

Member
Oct 26, 2017
6,379
Me personally, I dont really feel bad for reviewers not getting a copy of the game early. I dont know any other industry that would complain about critics selectively not getting a early show of something. Shady or not , If its my product i can show it to who i want right?

Wanting this game to do bad just because the PR department at 2k is kind of shitty. A lot of good devs probably worked hard on the title.
It's actually very obvious in most industries, and affects the credibility of a publisher, if they try to "game" the field when it comes to strategically restricting review materials. It doesn't mean it's not happening, but there are different degrees, and it's rightfully called out because it makes it harder to get a useful range of reviews.

Honestly, an end-user spending their energy defending any practice that willfully distorts the info buyers use to make purchase decisions is one of the more pathetic things I can imagine. Other than blind brand affection, there's no reason to support something that makes it harder to make an informed buy. The vacuous, catch-all "people work hard and that's why you shouldn't criticize anything about it" rationale only makes that blind brand loyalty seem even more likely.

In this situation, we have a publisher appearing to lie both to other professionals and the public about their rationale. This is indefensible, and it doesn't imply confidence in a product when you can't give a straight answer about something like that, and have chosen to hide your game from a seeming majority of reviewers.
 
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Irrotational

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,496
Having spent 15 years as a magazine journalist writing for international publications, none of this surprises me. Admittedly, I stopped back in 2005, and things have changed a lot since then, but even so, reviewers were still cherry-picked. PR companies (the good ones, at least) would cultivate a relationship with journalists, take them out for lunch, invite them to launch parties, get them drunk or high. Yes, it was all rather corrupt, but that was just the way it worked. Journalists were selected and lobbied like politicians.

Game development is a very expensive business. When you’re spending tens of millions making a game, I think it would be naïve not to expect a publisher to take steps to protect their sizeable investment. Unlike The White House excluding journalists as punishment for critical coverage, publishers are not obliged to give review copies to every outlet. The only goal is to ensure that their product is positively received. Do I agree with it? Not really, but that’s the way it is.
I don't have your experience etc but that all makes a lot of sense. What stopped the other review outlets throwing the PR company under the bus though? Why didn't they call out the cherry picking and selective coverage?

GB, Kotaku etc are not going far enough to call out 2K, AND other outlets on this. I get the reluctance to start an internet hate mob...but they ought to do something IMHO
 

jimtothehum

Member
Mar 23, 2018
259
Imagine a world where the leader of a nation denies access to a press conference to all media outlets that have ever been critical of him, but will send a video copy of it to the previously mentioned outlets when the "good" outlets file their reports on the 6pm news. It's controlling the narrative. That's not a good thing, whether it's for something as big as a press conference or as niche as a high-profile game release.
This 100%.
 

Nora

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,293
I don't have your experience etc but that all makes a lot of sense. What stopped the other review outlets throwing the PR company under the bus though? Why didn't they call out the cherry picking and selective coverage?

GB, Kotaku etc are not going far enough to call out 2K, AND other outlets on this. I get the reluctance to start an internet hate mob...but they ought to do something IMHO
That's just how it works everywhere. It's access journalism. Also in games a lot of people are in it because they're basically paid fanboys and girls. And there's no solidarity across company lines. One outlet loses access? Great, one less to compete with for clicks.
 

XandBosch

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,693
Na, it's not shitty at all especially when the game is from known sleazebag Randy pitchford. Some may not care but that doesn't make the ones that do bad.
Imagine a world where the leader of a nation denies access to a press conference to all media outlets that have ever been critical of him, but will send a video copy of it to the previously mentioned outlets when the "good" outlets file their reports on the 6pm news. It's controlling the narrative. That's not a good thing, whether it's for something as big as a press conference or as niche as a high-profile game release.
I don't see those as the same thing...at all lmao. It's not like they're only sending it to a select few outlets, they're sending it to enough outlets that'll most certainly be unbiased in their reviews. They're just not sending it to one independent outlet, who isn't really entitled to a copy anyway.

Not to mention this isn't about access for media outlets for coverage of important issues - it's a video game that people can choose to buy or not buy...and one that people will buy anyway and their thoughts will flow into the internet like water regardless of whether or not one little indie outlet gets a review copy (which they can just buy like everyone else).

I'm not denying it makes Gearbox look bad, but I don't really see this being a huge deal. It makes them look petty, not like fascist dictators lol.
 

ninhead

Avenger
Nov 18, 2017
357
I don't see those as the same thing...at all lmao. It's not like they're only sending it to a select few outlets, they're sending it to enough outlets that'll most certainly be unbiased in their reviews. They're just not sending it to one independent outlet, who isn't really entitled to a copy anyway.

Not to mention this isn't about access for media outlets for coverage of important issues - it's a video game...and one that people will buy anyway and their thoughts will flow into the internet like water regardless of whether or not one little indie outlet gets a review copy (which they can just buy like everyone else).

I'm not denying it makes Gearbox look bad, but I don't really see this being a huge deal. It makes them look petty, not like fascist dictator lol.
How is it petty to essentially manipulate review scores in an industry that can see sales vary wildly due to said scores?
 

XandBosch

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,693
How is it petty to essentially manipulate review scores in an industry that can see sales vary wildly due to said scores?
I meant it's petty to not give Giant Bomb a copy for free because they (Gearbox) didn't like what they (Giant Bomb) said about them during E3.

And I wouldn't really label this as "manipulating review scores". If anything, it's not nearly as bad in that respect as Bethesda denying anyone review copies. If people really want to know what Giant Bomb has to say about the game, they can just wait for them to buy it and give their thoughts on it.