Respawn Denies Paying Bribes For Positive Titanfall Coverage

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Respawn Denies Paying Bribes For Positive Titanfall Coverage

Titanfall

One of the producers on Titanfall says the idea that Respawn paid out bribes in exchange for positive press coverage is nothing short of insanity.

The response to Titanfall has thus far been very positive, as consumers and critics alike take their turns saying nice things about their experiences in hands-on previews and the all-too-short beta period. But as so often seems to be the case, when the gaming press really likes something, gamers start to get suspicious.

That's an awfully broad generalization, but it's typified by comments like the one on NeoGAF claiming that "the concept that money didn't cross hands for this [positive coverage] is just as ridiculous as believing your secret Nigerian uncle is a prince." The only question, according to the writer, is whether the payola came as a straight-up bribe or in a more subtle form as a generous ad buy.

It's a patently silly idea, but enough people seem to take it seriously that NeoGAF user and Respawn Entertainment employee DKo5, identified by PCGamesN as producer Drew McCoy, felt compelled to wade into the fray and set things straight.

"Anyone who thinks we weren't living in the shadow of decade+ old established franchises at our reveal at E3 are as crazy as their conspiracy theories of anyone getting paid off," he wrote. "We've had to fight tooth and nail to have a game that anyone would even know existed, let alone be excited for and want to create coverage of. I get it that its not for everyone, but to say we're paying anyone off is downright insanity. Not to mention the height of insulting."

It's a bit rich to suggest that the studio that created Call of Duty had to "fight tooth and nail" to get attention for its Next Big Thing, but there's no arguing his overall point. Claims that the fix is in are ridiculous, especially since the public has been able to take the game for a spin and seems to like just as much as the pros. And even if that sort of payola was prevalent in the industry - and I assure you, it is not - even the most cynical observer would have to admit that when everyone likes your game, you don't really need to pay people to say so.

Source: NeoGAF

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If they've been paying people to say nice things then surely all of the non-press people playing the beta would have shown up to call bullshit and say the game isn't good? Unless they paid off everyone who has played the game of course. Because that makes sense.

God forbid the people saying nice things, you know, just like it. That'd be crazy!

It must have cost them a fortune paying all those people who played the beta... I mean: "The beta was really good".
But really, no shenanigance: it really was

its actually not ridiculous that they say they fought tooth and nail, given all the shit activision gave the respawn guys. yeah they made the first few CoDs, but its hardly the same team

...a game dev and/or publisher that pays for good marketing?

Unheard of!

But honestly, isn't this par for the course by now?

We had the microsoft hashtag thing with the "you can't tell people about this marketing deal" clause a few weeks ago

Online reviewers - especially amature ones that don't work for an actual business - you never know if they're on the take or not. All you can hope is that they're upfront about any promotional stunts they take part of.

This is just stupid. I haven't played the beta myself but I've seen enough gameplay footage to thoroughly convince me that the game has some serious promise. The "It's ok. 9.6/10 - IGN" jokes can get silly enough as it is, but for people to make such a huge jump to the idea that somehow a game in a pretty public beta that's getting universal good coverage somehow cheated to get that praise is just plain crazy. Not only is their a much better explanation (the game might actually be good), but somehow managing to bribe all reviewers while somehow managing to pull the wool over the eyes of all the beta players would simply be impossible or unnecessary.

That's probably one of the main reasons I avoid NeoGaf. The signal to noise ratio over there is just too goddamned low. For every industry insider, game dev, or knowledgeable person you find there are ten morons who think being able to survive a round of solo/long/hell on earth in Killing Floor means that you're an expert on all things videogame. There's so much smug ignorance on that site it makes me squirm just reading it.

CriticalMiss:
If they've been paying people to say nice things then surely all of the non-press people playing the beta would have shown up to call bullshit and say the game isn't good? Unless they paid off everyone who has played the game of course. Because that makes sense.

You mean to say you haven't received your check yet? I got mine on Tues-

Err, nope. Nevermind. I agree completely. Yep. No money has ever changed hands anywhere, and especially not for positive press. No sirree.

>_> <_<

/whistles-innocently

Well that still doesn't exclude promotional deals which I'm sure there were none too few considering EA has this pegged as their billion dollar printing press.
And once you reach a certain level of hype then the rest is taken over by a Bieber cascade, because everyone has been told about it everyone is also talking about it, which means even more people hear about it and it unavoidably becomes the hippest newest thing everybody absolutely must have... and before you know it this all escalates into millions of screeching tweens mindlessly following whatever idol has been put forth.

As much as I believe that there certain shenanigans like the one alleged here do go on in the industry, it's really hard to believe that it happened in this case. There was open beta where everyone was on an even keel to see how the played. It wasn't some backroom payout when everyone had the chance to play it and see for themselves.

Had this been a closed event with handpicked members of the press, I would be suspicious, but we all got to play and if it was as terrible as some people hoped it would be, then the general outcry would completely drown out whatever praise the media was willing to give it.

Well, I, for one, got a LOT of money for saying it was a fairly decent beta experience. Thanks for the $512.36, EA! You're totally not the worst company in America! (that'll cost you another $22, btw... I expect the check by next Tuesday).

CriticalMiss:
If they've been paying people to say nice things then surely all of the non-press people playing the beta would have shown up to call bullshit and say the game isn't good? Unless they paid off everyone who has played the game of course. Because that makes sense.

I played the beta, after 2 hour's I stopped because I found it more boring than regular CoD as it was nothing but 'use cloak, camp at corner, kill with smart pistol' over and over again the only people who actually summoned Titans in the matches I played were at level 1 - 4.

I think Jim Sterling put it best in a recent Jimquisition. An attempted bribe would be a bigger earner if they made it into a story - in the form of ad revenue from increased traffic - than an actual bribe would be.

I daresay there's a certain amount of unstated quid pro quo goes on in the form of exclusive access and ad buys, but it'd be a foolish move for any developer to just show up with the proverbial envelope of used cash.

Andy Chalk:

It's a bit rich to suggest that the studio that created Call of Duty had to "fight tooth and nail" to get attention for its Next Big Thing, but there's no arguing his overall point. Claims that the fix is in are ridiculous, especially since the public has been able to take the game for a spin and seems to like just as as much as the pros. And even if that sort of payola was prevalent in the industry - and I assure you, it is not - even the most cynical observer would have to admit that when everyone likes your game, you don't really need to pay people to say so.

Respawn isn't the studio that created Call of Duty, it's just founded by the people who created Call of Duty.

I agree though, having played the Beta I have no trouble believing that the overwhelmingly positive coverage of Titanfall is completely genuine. And I don't even like CoD

Kumagawa Misogi:

I played the beta, after 2 hour's I stopped because I found it more boring than regular CoD as it was nothing but 'use cloak, camp at corner, kill with smart pistol' over and over again the only people who actually summoned Titans in the matches I played were at level 1 - 4.

I find that very hard to believe, I played the beta for about 12 hours and never encountered anyone using that strategy. At any rate anyone who did camp in a corner with cloak and a smartpistol wasn't very effective and you probably simply didn't notice all the Titans on account of hiding in a corner the whole match.

Can you really blame anyone but yourself when you choose to play the game in the lowest effort manner possible (against all in-game incentives) and find it boring?

It wouldn't surprise me if the media was payed off to over-hype it, even if the game is still good. Who says your game needs to be bad to pay people to say extra nice things about it?

Still, I suppose that's better than flat-out deceiving the public, and it would be impossible to determine who's adding on the extra tiny bit of praise just for the extra cash.

Edit: Also, I'm EXTREMELY surprised that captcha accepted "terrible service" when it asked me to describe Dominoes Pizza...

Infernal Lawyer:
It wouldn't surprise me if the media was payed off to over-hype it

Who is the media?

*EDIT*

I mean, it's just silly to make such a broad proclamation.

Kumagawa Misogi:

CriticalMiss:
If they've been paying people to say nice things then surely all of the non-press people playing the beta would have shown up to call bullshit and say the game isn't good? Unless they paid off everyone who has played the game of course. Because that makes sense.

I played the beta, after 2 hour's I stopped because I found it more boring than regular CoD as it was nothing but 'use cloak, camp at corner, kill with smart pistol' over and over again the only people who actually summoned Titans in the matches I played were at level 1 - 4.

Really, and that worked? Like you got a decent score(KDA, CS and game score) in the matches you played? When I played the beta anyone that camped was utter useless and there were Titans all over the place all the time. That and when using the cloak it is painfully obvious where you are if you're on foot. I may have been killed by people who were cloaked but I always seen them and had a fair chance to kill them.

Also 9/10 if I or anyone died to a full 3 shot lock on smart pistol they whole heartedly deserved that death.

If I tried to play the game like that I'd be fucking bored out of my mind too.

I wouldn't say paid off, but considering a bad review means the loss of your job sometimes (Gamespot) it is understandable.

Irridium:
God forbid the people saying nice things, you know, just like it. That'd be crazy!

Don't you know? Anybody who doesn't hate everything was obviously bought off by SOMEone. Scorn, pessimism and derision are cool and edgy!

A lot of people like the game therefore some think Respawn are bribing people?

I must have missed my cheque then.

Christ, are people really that thick to think this kinda shit?

No, Respawn, we don't think YOU did. We think EA did. They've done this before.

It might not be a straight up bribe. But some way to squeeze out illegitimate positive press for Titanfall. Like denying ad revenue or something.

Respawn wouldn't be responsible for paid media that would be EA who they're contracted to. At any rate if they had it would have been a waste of money TitanFall is amazing. One of the few times I played a beta for 20 minutes and immediately preordered the game.

Andy Chalk:
to like just as as much as the pros.

You have to many "as" ... from irked irked to as as

Everyone is a cynic. Something going well that you don't like? Clearly some money changed hands! What other explanation could there be? "People like different things", pah! The foolishness of such a statement!

Unless a genuinely bad game starts getting praised, I think it's a pretty safe bet to assume nothing nefarious happened.

I dunno the beta just didnt click with me. Not hating on people who liked it, but i deff fail to see how some people claim this revolutionizes fps games.

What? You mean I've been saying nice things about the game for free when money was on the table?

I've seen good reviews from some people who almost certainly would not have been paid even if that sort of thing were going on. But honestly, anything connected to Microsoft is going to be under suspicion since the Machinima incident. That's just how it is. And really, if the article was instead that a scheme had been unearthed where people were being paid for good reviews (by EA, by the way, not the devs), I wouldn't have been surprised.

I don't believe Respawn did, would, or needs to pay people to give the game good coverage. They are, however, working with both EA and MS, who have and will continue to offer deals for good coverage, so it's hardly 'insane' to think /those/ guys would. But in this case they couldn't have gotten that much good coverage across the board without someone leaking the payoff details.

[sarcasm]Sure no company would ever try to pay to have a good word out about their game that can still be preordered and probably will have a review embargo until at or almost at the release date.[/sarcasm] This could be going on with any big game about to come out and we might not know about it unless someone snitched or an email leaked. Business is just like politics; overexagerate the good things and lie about or outright deny the bad until your backed into a corner and have to save your reputation.

When a game does blow ass and they tricked a lot a of people into preordering it, then it really is a problem. I haven't preorderd anything in years and probably never will again because of that risk. But, hypothetically, I might check out the next big hyped up game about to come out that doesn't have some stupid preorder bonus, since it might be a better game than the one that does because the producer felt it didn't need something extra to sell well. I'll just see what reviews Titanfall gets and if the mostly positive ones have a "BUY TITANFALL NOOOOOWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!" banner ad next to them, then someone might be getting paid to make pretty words. I'm still not really interested in an multi-player only FPS that costs $60 and will probably need a $10 map pack to play some game modes in a month, anyway.

I think whether they are or aren't is irrelevant since we've played the beta and the majority agree that it was good. Even if we did want to find them though, how are you going to sort out the honest reviews from the paid off ones?

Irridium:
God forbid the people saying nice things, you know, just like it. That'd be crazy!

You don't understand. We have to hate everything now.

No.

Everything.

Hate.

Have to.

Now.

I'm not sure it wouldn't have been better just to remain silent about the whole thing; I certainly never heard this rumor before they brought it up. Maybe I'm just poking in on the wrong circles.

But, no, I'm not buying the idea they paid for good press. This thing has had a long publicity burn, a pretty significant development cycle, ample publisher support, and has been put together by people with a good reputation; it would be more surprising to find out it wasn't actually worth a damn. I'm not saying the above never leads to a bad game, just that that turn of the narrative isn't exactly a natural fit.

As Jim Sterling already pointed out, any journalist or critic with half a brain would much rather leap at the opportunity to expose bribery like this, instead of just taking one. They would gain an astronomical level of respect and influence, and the money they'd earn down the line would dwarf what any company could pay them a thousand times over.

Who the FUCK would take a petty bribe over that?

Honestly I can't see Respawn doing this, between the obvious quality shown in the beta to the statement 'Don't Buy The Game on Faith Alone' that a dev posted, it really doesn't make sense for them to do so.

EA and Microsoft however have both the reason and the means to pull it off.

Clearly the game is terrible and every one covering, even the word of mouth from the people who've played it in the beta have been paid off handsomely to say only nice things about it.

I'd offer a more serious post in reply, but this kinda deserves to be mocked. I mean the worst thing I've heard about it so far (that I recall) is there's not enough 'of it' in the beta, so I'm pretty sure this is just a case of some one trying to start shit cause they don't like it and wanna try and drag it down.

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