In reviews land, we at GameSpot have been put in a really tough position by multiple developers and publishers of late. We refused to cater to one of these whims last week, in regards to the review code provided to us for Ninja Gaiden II by Microsoft. In case you weren't aware, code provided to...
The more recent mind-boggling publisher requests have come from Konami regarding Metal Gear Solid 4--requests that we believe cross the line. The first involved an event that we wanted no part of. The majority of the American press was flown to Japan for a so-called "boot camp," where journalists spent two and a half days playing Metal Gear Solid 4 under the watchful eyes of the development team, socialized and dined with them, and then provided focus group-type feedback on the final day. We flatly refused this request, because we believe that this puts journalists in an unethical and awkward position. In our eyes, it would be inappropriate for us to participate in the development process. And we think most reasonable people would agree.
[edit: I reworded the above paragraph to more accurately reflect what this boot camp entailed. It was an invitation for journalists to participate in the development process, not a specific reviews event. However, we don't wish to blur the lines of journalistic integrity by participating in development. This was not a previews event, so GameSpot would have published no content based on this visit.]
It has also been widely reported that Konami blatantly asked the press not to mention two pieces of pertinent information in their reviews: how long the cutscenes are, and how long the installation process is. Publishers routinely ask reviewers not to publish certain story points because they are considered spoilers. That's fair, and we've never resisted requests of that nature. However, cutscene length and installation length are pertinent subjects within the context of a review, and speaking on a personal level, I believe it is flat-out wrong for any publisher to request that pertinent information be left out of a review. The journalist decides what information is most important for the review--not the developer or its publisher.
These are mind games that put us in an awfully awkward position. Of course we want our reviews to be timely and competitive, but never at the expense of accuracy and objectiveness. As reviews begin to trickle out from other publications, our audience complains that we're "late," and by securing exclusive reviews and playing along with these unreasonable publisher requests, some publications foster this idea that the reviews process is a race to publication. Publishers create this environment--but many press outlets enable it, without questioning it, because it brings them all-important traffic. I, for one, am more interested in a review that isn't haunted by these specters, and I think you would want the same.
As of this writing, we are unsure if we will have a Metal gear Solid 4 review published by the game's release date. We have not received review code, and the earliest Konami is willing to provide it is on the 9th, three days before release. It's unfortunate that publisher politics have reached this point, where refusing to meet these unreasonable demands means that we and our readers are effectively punished. Please understand this much: We will bring you a review of Metal Gear Solid 4 when we've played the same code on the discs you buy, and played it in an appropriate, unbiased environment. We think you'll agree that this is the only real choice.
I think the whole review process has gotten so out of hand and SO much money is involved now that I DON"T trust anyone, which is a shame. After Kane & Lynch, I realized that I probably will never see another HONEST review again, unless it comes from a reader of coarse, and then you have to weed out the fanboys from the fair minded people.
I thought this was all cleared up? The requests were either that the code was not final, and therefore the install times were not correct; or that the contents of the install screen and certain cutscenes were to be considered spoilers... Was that not the case???
I would expect nothing less from GS and I am proud to be completely satisfied with these high standards. Congratulations to GS for your coverage and perspective. This is what I like about this site.
We do agree. and i think it is a must for Gamespot to explain what they do for their users. Like this blog does.
As a hardcore gamer and as a MGS fan I can say that anyone who scores this game more than 6/10 is a corrupted incompetent pig.
More power to you Gamespot, we're prou of you for trying to do things right. As long as we get a review eventually, I don't think the time it takes matters all that much.
I've noticed that the amount of people saying "OMGWTFGSISGIVINGA 7.5" has really decreased. I love GS, and I don't care what crap happened to make them "lose their integrity", because the editors are the ones with the integrity, and I trust every review they put out. That being said, I still go to Jeff's site as well, just because I like Jeff's reviews. Now, I haven't played MGS4, but I'm thinking it's pretty damn good. Thanks to the guys out there who write the reviews, we all know what you wish you could say about CNET.
Wow. Unfortunately, in today's time, true integrity in the press is only found in a couple of fake news shows and Gamespot. Will you Gamespot folks be so kind as to take on our government? Keep up the great work!
our complaints at you guys being late on reviews is that games with good reviews seem to come out right around the release date whereas bad reviews seem to come late, very late in some cases.
I`m sorry to hear this. MGS4 did not deserve a ten (my opinion and humble),..it has some problems. But I am enjoying the royal hell out of it. Still, i applaud what honesty was shown here. But then, i was impressed with halflife 2, episode 2, and there was no wind, unlike MGS4... something else carried it just a bit farther, still justifiably didn`t make a 10 I`m honestly thinking that 9 tp 9.5 out to be as good as one can get..except we will see how Duke Nukem forever does,..or not. I like GS, even after dumping that last guy, There is a spirit that lives on.
I don't really care much about what MGS4 score is actually. I haven't even read the review yet. All I read from the comments of TomBrady was that he's ready to wreck some of his stuffs... and yet, when the review of MGS really came out... his nick was suddenly 'banned'. Gee... prolly he deleted his account and ran away? I check Youtube as well this morning just in case I found some interesting stuffs like video of some guy wrecking his ps3 and x360.. but gee, what i find when i type tombrady is nothing... sad... really sad... or maybe better said i kinda predict it that some people only got big mouth. >_>;;
im sorry, just reading some of these comments.. and really guys, some of you need to get a life outside of trying to burn GS and lurking forums. I've been a devout GS'er for 6 years, and rarely has a review led me astray. They are probably the most gamer-orientated review site out in the intahwebs. Cheers to G-Spot. Office politics are a part of every day life wherever you go, media or otherwise. It is sad that one man should face the brunt of that but this happens everywhere for politically charged reasons, and its usually the distant power types (cnet) that presume they have the clout to step in. GS is being diplomatic in its commentary concerning The Incident because Cnet is still the boss, and any inflammatory remarks are practically asking for trouble. If people have a problem with GS, to the point of which they make personal attacks on its (IMOP) fantastic editorial staff, please do a "Tombrady121" and nick off.
well, just make it inclution~guys. not all the game is as good as we thought, even after tested version, sometime the alpha and beta test always changed a lot of detail~!
Where's Tom Brady? I wish he'll smash his PS3 and X360. I hope he's man enough to back up his words. Or he's even worse than the GameSpot crew. He dares to say something like that, does he have the balls to do it? I'll eagerly youtube his name for these few days.
Well Mr. TomBrady? We're all waiting for you to smash your systems over your head. And now I assume all you mad fanboys are content. It seems that Kevin's anger towards Konami did not effect the review of this game.
TomBrady121, I eagerly await the YouTube video of YOU smashing your PS3 and 360, since Kevin V. here did give the game above 9.0. Sorry, man. But you promised it so many times in this comment section, you're going to have to do it. Go!
So, the review's up. Will the fanboys be happy, or should GS have given it an 11 and the Nobel Peace Prize too?
I don't think Gamespot played a good strategy regarding the review of MGS4. I think Gamespot should had accepted the terms but, only release the review after getting the final copy and making sure it plays the same way. This way the review could have been released earlier then waiting until the 9th to start the review process. I don't think Konami asked to release the review before time. Also, I don't know why mentioning going to boot camp as a cause of the late review (pointless).
irregardless you dont have to right to judge the game poorly on something that makes the series what is without having the same issue with every other game in the series
Enough already! We get it. Ever since the "Kane and Lynch" incident, you people have gone out of your way to tell us how "ethical" you are. Do we really need a 6-paragraph diatribe about how ethical you are??? Just review games. This is the reason I have not bothered to renew my premium subscription. Your more worried about telling us how good you are than just being good. Write reviews and report the news. Lets just assume from here on out that you are ethical and full of integrity. Now, maybe, there will be timely news articles and reviews. And, by the way, what's with the "voice over" work on the Bourne Conspiracy review??? I hope that's not a new trend... UGH!!!!
lennygundam14, Give me a break, I can smell the desperation from the Sony Loyalists all the way up here. Its truly amazing how ludacris fanboys can get, and how people seem to work themselves into such a frenzy over an appliance. Thus far Gamespot seems to be one of the only reviewing sites that are not caving to mounts of hype and developer demands. I watched review site after review site heap 9's and above on Uncharted only to be disappointed over the fact that the game lasted seven hours with zero multi player, The same can be said for Heavenly Sword. If the game drags on, then I want to know about. I would much sooner a actual review that those of us who actually buy games can use rather then some fluff to puff up Sony loyalists.
I for one hope that Gspot gives this game the score it deserves not the score the users want to see. If it is 10 worthy then give it a 10 if not then don't do it. GTA IV was not deserving of a 10.
All of those other evil gaming websites are bad, only GS is good! Only listen to GS.....no conspiracies for 6 months!
C'mon GS! Stop with the bias and hatred against the PlayStation 3! This game has earned the same score as GTA4...
God, this community has gone to complete and utter ****. The GameSpot staff isn't corrupt. The GameSpot staff has some of the best people in the video game journalism business. CNET fired Jeff. GameSpot didn't. Personally, I think it's great that GameSpot has done this. Publishers are constantly pushing around reviewers influencing them. And GameSpot reviewers have NEVER been affected by that. GameSpot never sacrificed their intergrity. CNET did it for them.
"How ironic, you won't do something asked by Konami after treated to a standard sway-the-critics event, yet the endless giftbaskets and bags of money for the Halo 3 review, compliments of Microsoft, didn't seem to phase your judgement. This site is beyond a joke. Preaching to the choir, what little you have left" Agree with this.
Isn't this entire thing mute since as of June 5th Revewiers can talk about the cutscene length and the load time length
Kudos to Gamespot for turning down the Boot Camp concept. I want a review of the game, not a review of a game from a reviewer who has spent three days in Japan being wined and dined by the game developer
I always thought that the boot camp thing sounded really weird, and that it seemed pretty unprofessional for a journalist to attend it. I'm glad to know that at Gamespot you guys are still keeping your integrity and staying professional.
Any sign of the review code Kevin? Today is the 9th, and Konami said they would provide it by today, right? Or am i mistaken?
To all the folks nattering like spooked hens over all of this (I personally reckon that MGS 4 is looking awesome, not matter what the score is) a few words from our good friend Frank Provo that I've managed to dredge up from the depths of the interweb: "But you reminded me of one thing I'd love to re-iterate: The GameSpot staff did not fire Jeff. The GameSpot staff are NOT corrupt. GameSpot itself is NOT the problem. CNet is. CNet's management is. The problem lies with the puppet masters. Unfortunately those masters have ruined GameSpot's credibility and reputation... a reputation built up for more than a decade." So uh, no offence to Cnet (i.e. please don't erase me) but some of you need to quit insulting Gamespot when they are obviously trying to repair any perceived rift with mega-transparency and integrity. Also, TomBrady121: good riddance!
When I first heard about this I thought it was ridiculous, but now I'm actually siding with Konami about it. They've since come out and said, they don't mind if a reviewer says cutscenes or installs are too long, or too short, or just right, they just don't want the actual length of cutscenes to be mentioned, and they don't want the install process described, as both could spoil things for the player. My favourite part of the article was the part about not attending the boot camp so as to not put GS in a difficult position to review the game in an unbiased manner. When did that become an issue on this site?
I actually agree with all game preview NDAs (non disclosure agreements) if they are valid only until a game gets to retail its fine, otherwise any reviewer could find mayor flaws that gamers could only see after buying the game, which is at least unethical.
This discusion has no point. Everyone asks about a review, without caring that , if they do one, wouldn't be on the final product. Do you want a good review of the same game that you will get, or the review of some "maybe" unfinished product?? Please be patient, the game and the FINAL review are only a few days away. I'm sure GS will be objective while doing it, and will also leave any feeling, good or bad, aside from the review.
Hey, good for gamespot. But I really, really hope this doesn't effect your judgement in the final review, you seem angry and Konami, and hey, your human, so I could see that anger going into the review.
And life is tough as it is, everyone has a job to do and there's no need to make anyone's job tougher. Gamespot's job is to cover games and give reviews, so there is no need to bash them for their work. The most we should be doing is to judge for ourselves which site gives the most helpful or objective reviews and then stick to that site etc. Well I'm sure nobody wants to receive trouble at work.
The review should be penalised for all these cheating. That should deter publishers from pulling any funny stunts.
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