Originally reported by Stephen Totilo over at MTV’s Multiplayer blog, it seems that Konami has been asking print reviewers not to talk about either the length of the cut scenes in the game or how big the mandatory install will be on the PS3 hard drive. It seems that Konami is worried that either of these “issues” could be viewed as negatives for the title, so they’re hoping that reviewers will keep their mouths shut. Even with this request, reports have come in saying that the game’s install requirement is 4.5GB (mandatory) and that cut scenes can reach up to 90 minutes each.
So what’s the big deal? Shouldn’t Konami be able to make these sort of requests? Well, I guess they can, but it’s a bit shady. With recent examples of the review process being influenced (Gerstmann-gate, Rockstar’s handling of reviewers with GTA IV), this is just another blow to gaming journalism’s credibility. A reviewer shouldn’t need a list of things that they should emphasize or avoid. A publisher should simply put their product into a reviewer’s hands and accept whatever opinion the journalist comes up with. Now, if a publisher wants to point out factual errors in a review, that’s fine, but I’m getting sick and tired of the pressure that publishers and developers are putting on the media when it comes to review coverage.
Personally I’ve had to turn down the rights to an exclusive review because the publisher said that I could only have it if I promised an 8.0 or above. They wanted a commitment from me that same day, despite the fact that I had only spent about 3 hours with the game. I declined their offer, and the next day the game’s first review popped up online with a 9.0 (from a rather humble site). I won’t name that game, but it happened to be for the DS and was a semi-major release for its time. I know this stuff is happening, but I have no idea who is getting caught up in the dirty play and succumbing to the publisher BS tactics.
Thanks to Stephen Totilo for exposing this issue. Even if this looks minor, the implications of this sort of behavior are quite serious.