Accusations of review bribery are common in the games industry, especially when a game’s die-hard fans have opinions wildly different to the majority of reviewers. There are many reasons why this might be. Perhaps the reviewer has different taste, maybe they had to play 3 other totally crappy games that week and so the last one shone bright in comparison, perhaps they really are a shady character who hangs out in dark alleyways close to E3 in a black trenchcoat, waiting for CoD-branded briefcases.
It turns out Titanfall producer Drew McCoy isn’t a big fan of these accusations, however. He took to popular game discussion site NeoGaf last night to complain about persistent rumours of bribery surrounding Titanfall...
“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,” McCoy said. “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.”
We’re not convinced anyone is going to buy the idea that Respawn “had to fight tooth and nail to have a game that anyone would even know existed”. Let’s be honest, the reason Titanfall is generating so much hype is because, with Xbox One flagging behind PS4 in sales, Microsoft want to push their big exclusive as hard and repeatedly as they possibly can. Most developers fighting for a toe into the outrageously competitive gaming market would give their right arms for the kind of money, marketing campaigns and backing Titanfall is getting from both EA and Microsoft. But, nonetheless, we get that it must be frustrating to be accused of bribery just because your game is not universally loved by anyone who tries it.
Having played and enjoyed the PC version of the Titanfall beta here at GD, we have to say we thought it was pretty decent, even if we’re not exactly in a hurry to run out into the streets proclaiming it as revolutionary and genre-changing. Maybe that’s partly why we are yet to receive our solid gold Titan statue and Big Bag Of Cash.
However, we can kind of see McCoy’s point. what’s especially odd about this particular run of bribery accusations is that the beta we played was an open beta. Literally thousands of regular, unaffiliated users have played the game, so much of the coverage about the game on the internet over the past few weeks has been from your average gamer. If you want to be a developer who doesn’t get accused of paying for good reviews, letting basically everyone play your beta before you release the game is basically being as transparent as you can.
The lesson to be learned from this is possibly just that Drew McCoy should spend a little less time reading conspiracy theories on the internet.
Did you participate in the Titanfall beta? Did you think it was a great game, or just another shooter that isn’t worth the hype?
Tell us your thoughts on these issues in our discussion area!