Yesterday Gary Steinman, global content lead at Besthesda, posted about “Bethesda& Game Reviews“. If you remember the release of DOOM earlier this year, there were no early reviews because Bethesda only sent out review copies on the day before release. While many people see no early review as a sign of a bad game trying to avoid reviews, DOOM blasted many people away with its amazing singleplayer campaign that hearkened back to the FPS of many years ago.
Now Steinman says that other Bethesda titles will follow suit, with review copies only going out a day before. Considering the download speed of most people in South Africa, this could mean getting the game after release thanks to large file sizes.
While this will mostly hurt international reviewers, who are used to getting games well before release (overseas journalists had three weeks with World of Final Fantasy before launch), in South Africa it is a rare luxury to receive titles ahead of time. At least Bethesda is being upfront about it, instead of dangling us along on a string, scrabbling to clear timetables to make space for a game.
While for games like DOOM, which is relatively short compared to other Bethesda titles, a bit of crunch means a review can be out a few days after launch. Something longer than that? That is where the midnight oil reserves come in, I guess. I wonder what other publishers might think of when they see this? The post says “We also understand that some of you want to read reviews before you make your decision, and if that’s the case we encourage you to wait for your favorite reviewers to share their thoughts” but at the same time, the marketing is punting the fact that if you pre-order you get the game one day ahead of release. So reviewers are just pre-ordering customers? Someone else can ruminate on that one.
At Bethesda, we value media reviews.
We read them. We watch them. We try to learn from them when they offer critique. And we understand their value to our players.
Earlier this year we released DOOM. We sent review copies to arrive the day before launch, which led to speculation about the quality of the game. Since then DOOM has emerged as a critical and commercial hit, and is now one of the highest-rated shooters of the past few years.
With the upcoming launches of Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2, we will continue our policy of sending media review copies one day before release. While we will continue to work with media, streamers, and YouTubers to support their coverage – both before and after release – we want everyone, including those in the media, to experience our games at the same time.
We also understand that some of you want to read reviews before you make your decision, and if that’s the case we encourage you to wait for your favorite reviewers to share their thoughts.
Skyrim Special Edition releases globally on October 28 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Dishonored 2 releases globally on November 11 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
So if you see international sites bemoaning the pressures of getting a game so close to launch date, now you know how they respond to our status quo.