Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Bethesda Changes Review Policy.

Okay, that's not the most exciting sounding title but it is something that will impact for us all going forward.

From now on Bethesda will not be providing review copies of their games anymore. Reviewers will receive their copy 1 day in advance. Here is Bethesda's statement

"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."

Obviously, this has upset the larger outlets as they are used to having a large amount of time to play the game before release. (a good amount do it to give the game an unrushed review, others just to enjoy their free game) but this move means big things for smaller outlets but the real winners are the Streamers and Let's Play's, these can hit the web minutes after launch and allow buyers to see raw gameplay before their purchase.

Of cause, the gamers are the most at risk, as there won't be any "full reviews" for us to use before launch. Which with Bethesda they do serve a secondary function: bugs and performance. Historically Bethesda open worlds have plenty of bugs but more importantly the studio has had issues with the Playstation versions of their games and reviews give PS gamers a chance to see if it's worth jumping in. However, to Bethesda's credit, They are suggesting anyone whose uses reviews to gauge their purchases should wait for said reviews.

Bethesda has two upcoming games Skyrim: Special Edition and Dishonored 2. We don't expect this design to affect these games too much. 90% of the Skyrim reviews will be the same as original and GOTY release, with the improved graphics and console performance shouldn't take that long to ascertain. Dishonored 2, on the other hand, is all new but is a far smaller game than Fallout or Elder Scrolls.

UNHAPPY? Take action!
Of cause it's us gamers who have the power, If you are unhappy with the idea please contact Zenimax (here) and don't forget to make your feelings known on their Facebook and Twitter.

Abe's Take
Personally, as a gamer, I'm okay with Bethesda doing this, simply because Bethesda's games are games that I take great pleasure exploring and discovering myself. Fallout 4 was a wonderful enigma to a lot of gamers but on day 1 we were blasted by IGN and Gamespot with huge guides, "don't miss this" articles and constant videos. Also, the review copies tend to be the source of story leaks and spoilers, In my case, the Fallout 4 twist was spoilt the day before launch on FB.

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