Open Letter to Duke Nukem PR

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TestECull:
...Threatening reviewers for telling it like they see it? Bad form, Gearbox. Bad form.

Except this guy isn't a member of Gearbox, he was merely a PR employee employed by Gearbox (and who was apparently let go). You might want to fact check first...

EDIT: 2K, not Gearbox

This whole corporatisation of the industry has really created a cynical milieu throughout the entire community. It's common knowledge (however erroneous it may be) that publishers and PR firms put pressure on media outlets for a favorable critical response. I personally haven't seen anything that leads me to question the integrity of the Escapist, and reviewers often have varying 'scales' they use to measure the quality and enjoyment of a game. The actions of the respective PR group were highly unprofessional and damage the trust consumers have in the industry as a whole. With opinion comes responsibility and a company which deals with public relations should know better than to attack the consumer end of the market; this paints publishers as money whores instead of ethical business people.

Koios:

TestECull:
...Threatening reviewers for telling it like they see it? Bad form, Gearbox. Bad form.

Except this guy isn't a member of Gearbox, he was merely a PR employee employed by Gearbox (and who was apparently let go). You might want to fact check first...

Employed by 2K.

Firehound:

Honestly, I think Metacritic says something here about the honesty of reviews from any source. 1 negative 'reviewer' review versus 182 negative user reviews on the PS3, 414 on the xbox, and over eight hundred on the PC, almost double the positive user reviews on all of them and double for the PC and then some. Combined with my own incredibly negative experience of DA2, I would be hard pressed to find it believable someone could say anything other then 'mediocre game' when trying to be flattering.

In fact, the DA2 review was full of PR-talk. and your dismissal of his arguments by attacking the first sentence and that alone makes it incredibly obvious that this is the case.

Actually, it works both ways and I think in the case of metacritic the integrity of a good deal of those reviews are more questionable. I distinctly remember a ruckus over review bombing, specifically of DAII. I even witnessed it for myself. People who review bomb have zero credibility in my eyes because they're not even attempting a balanced -- therefore -- a more authoritative and informative opinion.

This is not to say that your experience is wrong: I don't question that. I just don't think the matter is as you say.

Firehound:

Susan Arendt:

MirrorForTheSun:

Whatever helps you sleep at night. The review was full of the euphemism I've come to expect from PR firms, not "honest reviewers." Roleplaying "however you want" does not mean "Mean, nice, or snarky." However you want to rationalize it, I can't help but feel like you folks are using the opportunity of a fairly bad game that is expected by most to be bad anyway as a painless way to appear legitimate to your readers. I never called you liars, I implied that the opinions in the reviews weren't particularly honest. I understand! It's hard to cope with the high profile that comes with hosting Zero Punctuation. You've gotta make nice with the sponsors. (It's actually funny that DNF is plastered all over the site right now. It makes you guys seem like real rebels.) Just don't make yourselves out to be something you're not.

If assuming that someone who has a different opinion from yours is dishonest is what you need to do to sleep at night, so be it.

Honestly, I think Metacritic says something here about the honesty of reviews from any source. 1 negative 'reviewer' review versus 182 negative user reviews on the PS3, 414 on the xbox, and over eight hundred on the PC, almost double the positive user reviews on all of them and double for the PC and then some. Combined with my own incredibly negative experience of DA2, I would be hard pressed to find it believable someone could say anything other then 'mediocre game' when trying to be flattering.

In fact, the DA2 review was full of PR-talk. and your dismissal of his arguments by attacking the first sentence and that alone makes it incredibly obvious that this is the case.

I met a person the other day who swears that Mario 64 is a terrible game. People have different opinions and value different things in videogames; is that really so surprising?

There ARE positive user reviews for DA2. Clearly, it is not out of the question that someone had a great time with the game. This shouldn't be a matter for debate.

Oh, that response was rather funny.

Some say that publishers like EA, Activision had some behind the door deals to get better scores for reviews. I wonder whether it is true or not. If true, it is the safest way that Redner should follow.

Firehound:

Honestly, I think Metacritic says something here about the honesty of reviews from any source. 1 negative 'reviewer' review versus 182 negative user reviews on the PS3, 414 on the xbox, and over eight hundred on the PC, almost double the positive user reviews on all of them and double for the PC and then some. Combined with my own incredibly negative experience of DA2, I would be hard pressed to find it believable someone could say anything other then 'mediocre game' when trying to be flattering.

In fact, the DA2 review was full of PR-talk. and your dismissal of his arguments by attacking the first sentence and that alone makes it incredibly obvious that this is the case.

'Compared to my own experience, I can't believe anyone would say anything else.' Maybe you should try accepting the fact that other people have opinions that differ from your own. I didn't enjoy DA II, but it's getting slightly ridiculous that not a single thread goes by without someone harping on about how the Escapist has lost all credibility because Greg enjoyed the game.

Shamanic Rhythm:

Firehound:

Honestly, I think Metacritic says something here about the honesty of reviews from any source. 1 negative 'reviewer' review versus 182 negative user reviews on the PS3, 414 on the xbox, and over eight hundred on the PC, almost double the positive user reviews on all of them and double for the PC and then some. Combined with my own incredibly negative experience of DA2, I would be hard pressed to find it believable someone could say anything other then 'mediocre game' when trying to be flattering.

In fact, the DA2 review was full of PR-talk. and your dismissal of his arguments by attacking the first sentence and that alone makes it incredibly obvious that this is the case.

'Compared to my own experience, I can't believe anyone would say anything else.' Maybe you should try accepting the fact that other people have opinions that differ from your own. I didn't enjoy DA II, but it's getting slightly ridiculous that not a single thread goes by without someone harping on about how the Escapist has lost all credibility because Greg enjoyed the game.

Wasn't talking about the escpaist not having any credibility, so kindly keep your words away from my mouth. I don't put any stock in industry reviews. It's something I have never done. As in not ever. However, the white wash of a game that is at best mediocre, makes the review look more like an ad for DA2 then a review.

It doesn't mention the worst parts of the system, or glosses over them if it does, and basically, it is more a press release then a review. DA2 is not something worthy of five stars. Ever. At all. Instead of pointing out EVERY DUNGEON IN THE GAME IS REUSED WITHOUT SO MUCH AS A TEXTURE SWAP, he mentions that a couple are similar. He doesn't mention that every battle involves at least three waves of enemies that pop out of thin air.

That is why dragon age 2's review is wrong. I am not going to demand heads and cease my premium subscription, but I will say that that review is just not even trying to be a good review. It is instead a press release.

TIme for the off topic brakes to be engaged and put this runaway thread back on track.

pay·o·la/pāˈōlə/
Noun: The practice of bribing someone to use their influence or position to promote a particular product or interest.

Nope, not a made up word.

Firehound:

That is why dragon age 2's review is wrong. I am not going to demand heads and cease my premium subscription, but I will say that that review is just not even trying to be a good review. It is instead a press release.

How can a review be 'wrong'? A review is a subjective personal opinion. Opinions can be misinformed, but they cannot be 'wrong.' If Greg didn't mention the copy-pasted dungeons, then he felt it clearly wasn't a dealbreaker for him the way it was for others. Just because you or I found them annoying doesn't mean he automatically should have. Stop demanding everyone conform the same tastes as you.

I didn't know "payola" was a word.

Is it supposed to be a play-on-words with "Crayola", because they're using money to try and "color" a reviewer's opinions? If so, I like it. It's the sort of wordplay I'd be proud to have come up with.

EDIT: The guy probably just started throwing threats around because, as someone who whores himself out to corporations that (frequently) make shit games, he can't stand people that have actual integrity. Kind of like how

Shamanic Rhythm:

Firehound:

That is why dragon age 2's review is wrong. I am not going to demand heads and cease my premium subscription, but I will say that that review is just not even trying to be a good review. It is instead a press release.

How can a review be 'wrong'? A review is a subjective personal opinion. Opinions can be misinformed, but they cannot be 'wrong.' If Greg didn't mention the copy-pasted dungeons, then he felt it clearly wasn't a dealbreaker for him the way it was for others. Just because you or I found them annoying doesn't mean he automatically should have. Stop demanding everyone conform the same tastes as you.

Wrong is the incorrect word. terrible was what I should of used. I apologize. Writing at one or so in the morning doesn't help me much.

And stop white knighting. I have yet to demand greg stop liking DA2 this instant. I just think it is not a review but a press release. A five star review should not be given to a game that oversimplifies everything about the last game, for both good and bad, dumbs down conversation to 'dumbass' 'evil' 'good' 'question' 'MONEY'

I honestly can't see that as an improvement. I'm not saying the game was OMGTERRIBLEBAD, just that it wasn't digital Ambrosia. Reading over it, it sends up several buzzwords that reviewers don't tend to use. Pinnacle, as in pinnacle of success, is the biggest one. As in this is the ultimate game. It is the best. That isn't review speak, that is PR talk for- Buy it nowwwww.

The biggest issue is that it drips of fanboyism, which explains a lot of the issues I have for his DA2 review. Reviewers should take a step back and make sure they aren't being compromised by their love of a series, as is what probably happened here instead of some insidious PR company dropping bags and bags of money into the review copy's box. It's obvious that Tito likes Dragon Age, and when you like a series, your more likely to pave over the rough spots in a sequel when you talk about it.

But, seeing as you can't get past the whole 'he doesn't think it was a good review, in fact he thinks it was a bad. He must be trying to force opinion down throat. I can't let go of that, nor can I act like a rational being.' It was a bad review. Again, let me repeat the part that the review I don't agree with isn't going to make me stop my subscription and write angry letters. Better yet, so you actually read that part, let me write it again, IN CAPS. ONE REVIEW I DISAGREE WITH IS NOT GOING TO MAKE ME STOP MY PREMIUM SUBSCRIPTION OR DEMAND HEADS TO START A-ROLLIN.

If you need me to put each word on it's own line for you to get that I seriously think it's a terrible review, that's a bit far.

I may not care much for the subject matter but I can still appreciate a warm, well cooked (written), slice of condescending pie.

Tastes delicious.

MirrorForTheSun:
I never called you liars, I implied that the opinions in the reviews weren't particularly honest.

Any other hairs you wanna try splitting for us?

Bravo Mr. Pitts. Bravo.

When a dog takes a crap on the living room floor, you've gotta rub it's nose in it, just a bit.

To everyone else: the key here is consistency. Maybe you agree with Mr. Pitts' conclusions about the game, maybe you don't. But as long as his opinion and style remain consistent, you can use that opinion to gauge games for yourself.

Let's look at some of the points that Mr. Pitts dislikes from DNF. Grabbing unflushed turds and throwing them around, giant slappable wall-tits, in-game BJs for no apparent reason, fetch quests to acquire dildos for strippers.

Now examine those things, and list for me the games in which Mr Pitts reviews gave positive feedback for such items.

I'll wait.

Nothing? Nothing at all? So this level of toilet humor doesn't appeal to Mr. Pitts, and never has. Maybe that makes him too "high brow" for your tastes. But I for one agree with him, and have agreed with him on a great many games in the past.

Oh, and last thing, you might want to note that it wasn't ALL bad. Russ seemed to like the vehicle sections.

TheOneandOnly:
The solution, of course, is to not make terrible games in the first place.

Unfortunately when you work in PR you're paid to promote your client's product no matter how shitty.

And just a quick comparison between Duke Nukem Forever (henceforth: DNF) and Duke Nukem 3-D (DN3D.)

In DN3D you could interact with toilets to hear a flush and "Ahhh. Much better." Nothing told you this was available (had to find it out yourself) and there was no actual reward.
In DNF you get to watch yourself pee, aim it. You get to pick up poo and fling it. The game tells you to do these things, by putting instructions in the center of your screen. You get achievements for it.

In DN3D, you'd occasionally find "babes" captured by the enemy, begging to be killed. They were always covered (if barely) as needed. Also, strippers were covered up as well.
In DNF, they're butt naked, being raped by aliens, and moaning. Tits on the captured babes, tits on the strippers, tits on the walls.

In DN3D, the babes/strippers/etc were usually hidden or in limited supply.
IN DNF, they literally fall into your lap, face first.

DN3D featured huge sprawling maps, jet-pack exploration, hidden passageways, etc.
DNF levels are on rails.

DN3D let you carry enough firepower to arm a small nation
DNF: 2 weapon limit, because all the cool games are doing it.

The list goes on, but literally EVERY change was a negative one (unless you count polygons) Any one or two of those would have been annoying but bearable. The whole list is just too much. Suffice to say, Mr Pitts is well within his rights to give the game a good verbal lashing. And the company that cries about said lashing needs to get a wake-up call as well

Firehound:
snip

This is getting way off topic, so I'll just reiterate my point that all you are doing is holding out your opinions as though they are facts, and claiming that because Greg failed to acknowledge them, he was guilty of being either a 'fanboy' or a willing compliant in a PR scandal. I have nothing more to say.

Now back on topic. Good on you, Russ. I just read Gamespot's review before and I must say, the days of Kane and Lynch have been put well behind them, as they absolutely tore the game a new one. I'm guessing they were looking at being on this 'blacklist' as well.

I loved this post, but I can't help but remember how angry some video game enthusiasts get at game reviewers when publishers publicly admit to using review scores as a basis for company decisions, like determining whether or not to finish a certain game or retain a certain development team.

Today, it's "Way to fight back! How dare the PR firms threaten you!"

Tomorrow, it could be "Why should the development team suffer because of some site's opinions? That's not fair!" or "So what if it has less than a 70 on Metacritic? Game sites don't know what good games are anymore!"

Now I'm reminded of that one Penny Arcade in which Gabe reveals the difference between a homage and a ripoff is how much he likes it.

(Of course, I'm well aware The Escapist is definitely not like other video game sites. That's probably why I like it. ;) )

Firehound:

Susan Arendt:

MirrorForTheSun:

Whatever helps you sleep at night. The review was full of the euphemism I've come to expect from PR firms, not "honest reviewers." Roleplaying "however you want" does not mean "Mean, nice, or snarky." However you want to rationalize it, I can't help but feel like you folks are using the opportunity of a fairly bad game that is expected by most to be bad anyway as a painless way to appear legitimate to your readers. I never called you liars, I implied that the opinions in the reviews weren't particularly honest. I understand! It's hard to cope with the high profile that comes with hosting Zero Punctuation. You've gotta make nice with the sponsors. (It's actually funny that DNF is plastered all over the site right now. It makes you guys seem like real rebels.) Just don't make yourselves out to be something you're not.

If assuming that someone who has a different opinion from yours is dishonest is what you need to do to sleep at night, so be it.

Honestly, I think Metacritic says something here about the honesty of reviews from any source. 1 negative 'reviewer' review versus 182 negative user reviews on the PS3, 414 on the xbox, and over eight hundred on the PC, almost double the positive user reviews on all of them and double for the PC and then some. Combined with my own incredibly negative experience of DA2, I would be hard pressed to find it believable someone could say anything other then 'mediocre game' when trying to be flattering.

In fact, the DA2 review was full of PR-talk. and your dismissal of his arguments by attacking the first sentence and that alone makes it incredibly obvious that this is the case.

Ok, which part would you like me to address? The idea that we have to "make nice with the sponsors"? You need look no further than the site buyout of Duke Nukem to know that we don't change our reviews to suit advertisers. It's also not a unique situation. I believe the same thing happened with The Conduit. Roleplaying "however you want" was not limited to "mean, nice, or snarky" in the case of DA2, in my personal opinion, but arguing that point with someone who believes otherwise seems fairly pointless. I believe the game to be good, you think it's bad - that's really all there is to it. No conspiracy, no ulterior motive, no drama. Some people simply believe that everyone who reviews games is on the take, and use whatever evidence they can to prove their point.

I'm not the person who reviewed the game, but my own experience with DA2 was quite positive. I loved the art style and the writing, really enjoyed the character of Hawke and the companions - far more than DA:O, in which I disliked a lot of my party. (Except Shale. Nothing but love for Shale.) In particular I loved the Qunari, whose culture I found to be fascinating. The repeating environments completely sucked and made it tough to be enthusiastic about having to leave the city for a quest, and the difficulty level overall was not as hard as it probably should've been. Does that sound like "PR speak" to you, or like I actually enjoyed the game? RPGs, perhaps more than any other genre, instill very specific expectations and demands in their audience. DA2 was a large departure from DA:O, so I understand why it left a lot of people cold, especially those who enjoyed playing in tactical view. Is it really so hard for you to believe that someone might not have the same preferences as you that you default to believing they're lying instead?

Either you believe we like DA2 that much, or you don't. That's really all there is to it. And if you believe we're lying about that game, you believe we're lying about every game we review.

Edit: Just saw a post of yours where you said your issue with the review is that it comes off fanboysish. You know, if you'd said that from the start, I'd have been less offended. I don't agree with that statement, but that's certainly a far different accusation than "You took money to write this review." We don't make shit up just to make an advertiser happy, ever. EVER. I don't pretend to speak for Greg on this matter, but as someone who's been reviewing games for about 10 years, I do know that there have been times where my personal preferences have influenced a review more than was probably appropriate. I'm not suggesting that happened in this case, but I'm not so daft as to say it never happens.

I wonder how many drama queens out there among the reviewers are also doing something like this. That dickhead was already forced to apologise and got fired. That's pretty much as severe as punishments go for stuff like this but no, news post covering this wasn't enough we also need snarky open letters.

Even if they stopped pre-releasing games to you guys, I'd still watch your reviews. You guys at the Escapist are great and I get excited when I see a new review uploaded, even if its for a game I'll never consider playing.

lowkey_jotunn:
And just a quick comparison between Duke Nukem Forever (henceforth: DNF) and Duke Nukem 3-D (DN3D.)

In DN3D you could interact with toilets to hear a flush and "Ahhh. Much better." Nothing told you this was available (had to find it out yourself) and there was no actual reward.
In DNF you get to watch yourself pee, aim it. You get to pick up poo and fling it. The game tells you to do these things, by putting instructions in the center of your screen. You get achievements for it.

In DN3D, you'd occasionally find "babes" captured by the enemy, begging to be killed. They were always covered (if barely) as needed. Also, strippers were covered up as well.
In DNF, they're butt naked, being raped by aliens, and moaning. Tits on the captured babes, tits on the strippers, tits on the walls.

DNF pushes the envelope of its predecessor. There's no real surprise there. It isn't a remake, after all. Doubly so, as the standards to which video games are held has changed over the years. A DN3D remake would seem pretty tame these days.

Also, for what it's worth, I haven't interacted with a single toilet other than the initial one (which did annoy me a bit). Poo flinging is strictly optional.

lowkey_jotunn:

In DN3D, the babes/strippers/etc were usually hidden or in limited supply.
IN DNF, they literally fall into your lap, face first.

Um, the critical path for the second level of the game goes directly through a strip club. The more scantily clad women in the second and third episodes show up with increasing frequency during the game. They were neither hidden nor limited.

lowkey_jotunn:

DN3D featured huge sprawling maps, jet-pack exploration, hidden passageways, etc.
DNF levels are on rails.

This is an interesting aspect to it. The levels aren't the sprawling, exploration-heavy, backtracking affairs of twelve years ago. On the other hand, they also aren't the push forward to win greased tubes of the modern shooter. There's exploration to be had, if you look for it. I'd be interested to know when the levels were created... Were they a recent attempt to create "old school" levels, or are they a missing link from the past?

I do miss the jetpack, though.

lowkey_jotunn:

DN3D let you carry enough firepower to arm a small nation
DNF: 2 weapon limit, because all the cool games are doing it.

Definitely a problem.

lowkey_jotunn:

The list goes on, but literally EVERY change was a negative one (unless you count polygons) Any one or two of those would have been annoying but bearable. The whole list is just too much. Suffice to say, Mr Pitts is well within his rights to give the game a good verbal lashing. And the company that cries about said lashing needs to get a wake-up call as well

I don't believe that saying that a game isn't as good as its predecessor is anywhere near the same thing as saying that a game is abysmal, or deserving of the bile that this particular title has been getting. Particularly when most people haven't played the predecessor at any point during the past decade.

GotMurf:

Withard:

GotMurf:

To be honest... I agree with this guy.
This response wasn't really needed. It just seemed petty. You could have kept your journalistic integrity without getting into a pissing contest of snark.
Just sayin'.

Negative.

Russ simply in an amusing way highlighted the problems with games reviewing.

Or maybe you don't believe this is a problem we have?

....jus sayin

It's definitely a problem. I just don't think being immature and snide about it is the way to fix it.

It is for this community and hence the response being made in this style to appeal to the tastes of the majority of the community. Though having read another article, that explained this problem in a more informative and less snide manner, it has also come to symbolize my distaste with this site as of late. Then again, no point in blaming this site for what it always tended towards and will tend towards everafter - a safe haven for Gen Y's method of dealing with the world - both for good and, as I've noted, also for ill.

I feel like Russ is now some nefarious Bond villain; prepared to drop Jim into a vat of molten lava from his chair carved from obsidian and skulls.

o7

nexekho:

And you don't think that'd be miserable PR for the company who blacklisted said site?

Obviously it already was. But what do readers who read reviews care about? Reading new releases or blacklisted sites? More importantly, what do advertisers care about?

Review journalism has always been about access, and outlets with more access does better. Blacklisting a site denies that access. Try asking an advertiser to pay money while also admitting that your magazine cannot get advance review copies, especially of big releases.

More frequently viewed or industry sites are pretty immune to this as they're must have outlets. Variety, for example, is a movie industry trade magazine and it's bad form not to invite a review - they can't afford not to. The Chicago Sun-Times not only is a newspaper that has a wider audience, but also has built its reputation on acclaimed critics like Roger Ebert. Games journalism, unfortunately, depends more on blogs and outlet-owned magazines (see Escapist and Gamestop-owned Game Informer). There is no equivalent. Game Informer won't give a bad review if Game Stop will lose sales (with a notable exception here and there). The Escapist is known more for its features so it can get away with a bad review, but then again, look at the advertising on this site. Neither can get away without having advanced copies and losing the revenue from timely reviews.

This time, several outlets stood up to a PR company for even inferring something wrong. Will they still be "blacklisted"? We actually do not know. We know that they took back comments, but what's to stop this PR firm (who has other clients) from actually blacklisting magazines? What magazine will admit it?

As is the case with most things, it isn't one entity at fault. The blame doesn't solely lie on the publisher, the reviewer, the PR firm, the advertiser, or the user. This is just the way the business is. Power is taken from those who give it. Users want up to the minute reviews, holds the magazine accountable. Advertisers want magazines that get user eyeballs, holds the magazine accountable. The magazine does its best to get advance copies to review, holds the publishers accountable. Marketing and PR firms are hired by publishers to get out advanced reviews as well as guarantee good reviews, so publishers can hold those firms responsible. Games need to be good to get good reviews, publishers hold game devs responsible for game quality, PR firms for good reviews. Everyone's job is on the line, really.

The magazine has the least amount of power in this situation. It needs advertisers. For advertisers to pay, it needs readers. To have readers, it needs up to the minute coverage.

In this case, the PR firm publicly made a threat. Sometimes, it's not all that public (http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010/09/hydrophobia-developer-defends-game-attacks-critics.ars), however. The Escapist is a notable enough blog to post a stunt like this editorial, but what about a smaller blog just getting started? What are they going to do?

We need a magazine with the kind of pull of Variety for Film and TV. One that's expected and prestigious to get reviews from, good or bad.

Russ Pitts:
Open Letter to Duke Nukem PR

Trust is important. That's why threatening game reviewers is a dangerous game.

Read Full Article

I have an honest question as I really don't know how to feel about this letter and many of the responses it has elicited from fellow forum goers (and Derek Smart!).

I know that consumer media outlets and publishers have had an ambivalent relationship in the past, and PR is concerned with the promotion and subsequent sales of games -- especially with the rediculous sums of money which go towards marketing games (Homefront?). I do not question the unprofessionalism of TRG's actions and they have paid for it accordingly. I often get the feeling that the business of gaming has become a playground where snarky politics and corporate moneybags fight each other at the expense of consumers, sowing disinformation and distrust. This creates consumer cynicism towards the industry's capacity to ethically deliver progressive, or simply entertaining AAA games without the faux-political baggage that is becoming more and more prevalent with the industry power-wolves. More and more I am finding myself shoehorned into a demographic based upon a publisher, rather than an individual game.

I feel it detrimental to all when consumer oriented media outlets get involved in the mud-slinging, whether with intention or inadvertently. In a prior post on this thread, I stated that opinion -- even on the internet -- requires responsibility and too often I'm finding that many groups associated with the gaming industry are lowering the standards at which business is dealt between one another. Therefore:

Was it really necessary to post an open letter addressed to The Redner Group? And why has gaming become a hobby of cynicism and vitriol? Perhaps I am missing the point?

A cynical part of me thinks gaming has simply become a place for corporate-urinal-politics (pardon the analogy) which is breeding a culture of Schadenfreude within the consumer base. All these scandals and marketing/money machines are getting in the way of my favorite hobby (aside from sipping Earl Grey tea) and it's disconcerting to see gamers being drawn into it.

I don't want to partake in the celebration of another person's downfall, even when justified; judging from many responses here, your letter has been construed as snide swipe at a former aggressor. I like to think we're better than that.

I hope this makes sense :)

Still Life:
This whole corporatisation of the industry has really created a cynical milieu throughout the entire community. It's common knowledge (however erroneous it may be) that publishers and PR firms put pressure on media outlets for a favorable critical response. I personally haven't seen anything that leads me to question the integrity of the Escapist, and reviewers often have varying 'scales' they use to measure the quality and enjoyment of a game. The actions of the respective PR group were highly unprofessional and damage the trust consumers have in the industry as a whole. With opinion comes responsibility and a company which deals with public relations should know better than to attack the consumer end of the market; this paints publishers as money whores instead of ethical business people.

I think the main mistake of most PR bozos is that they assume that the consumer is a complete moron. Remember "all I want for xmas is a psp?"
Frankly, I generally don't trust any reviews anyway. Not because I have any reason to question the integrity of the reviewer (except if it's on gamespot) but just because they probably have different tastes. That and I sometimes wonder if even getting the game for free is enough of a kickback: I've sometimes enjoyed games I got for free (or just really cheap: $5-10) that I wouldn't have enjoyed if I had paid $60 for it.
So I guess what I'm saying is:

Russ,
If you guys are being offered good money for favorable reviews, I say take it. Just be sure to lay it on really thick.

I applaud you, editor in chief. You totally annihilated this Redner.

jmarquiso:
[quote="nexekho" post="6.291738.11598107"]
This time, several outlets stood up to a PR company for even inferring something wrong. Will they still be "blacklisted"? We actually do not know. We know that they took back comments, but what's to stop this PR firm (who has other clients) from actually blacklisting magazines? What magazine will admit it?

And so it begins.

http://www.thesixthaxis.com/2011/06/16/eurogamer-blacklisted-as-duke-pr-scuffle-rolls-on/

Looks like mr. Pitts and mr. Butts could be real good friends.

What is a 'venom' filled review anyway? Do they not understand that if you release a game thats been in development for 12 years and had a lot of peoples hopes pinned on it, if it fails its going to fail HARD.

Duke is probably not any worse than an average FPS, but the fact that its average is part of the problem. (Mechanically speaking)

average games dont take 12 years to make, nor do they contain 'classic' gaming characters that flop.

Well, 2K has fired them anyways. They really should have stopped to think before tweeting all that nonsense.

Fasckira:
Nice work Russ, be interesting to see if he responds though I think the sensible thing for him would be to read it, absorb it and then carry on. If he tries to respond he could end up digging a hole.

Ah, but what a magnificently hilarious digging it would be to watch.

It's nice to see that the level of engagement between reviewers and PR has been slowly gaining towards the reviewers favor.

BrownGaijin:
It's nice to see that the level of engagement between reviewers and PR has been slowly gaining towards the reviewers favor.

I'm not sure what you mean. From what I can see, this entire spectacle simply creates more bad blood.

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