I know I’m late to the party with this bit of news, but it’s too good to pass up.
Eidos’s UK PR firm was telling reviewers of Tomb Raider: Underworld to hold off on publishing their reviews if they planned on rating it below 8 of 10. This was confirmed by the PR firm itself.
“That’s right. We’re trying to manage the review scores at the request of Eidos.”
When asked why, the spokesperson said: “Just that we’re trying to get the Metacritic rating to be high, and the brand manager in the US that’s handling all of Tomb Raider has asked that we just manage the scores before the game is out, really, just to ensure that we don’t put people off buying the game, basically.”
Which sounds a lot like “No no no, we’re not trying to ‘trick’ people into buying the game. We just want the ‘bad’ reviews to come out ‘later’ after people have already purchased it.”
In response to the news of the “review management,” the firm put out another statement, pointing out that some sub-8 reviews had already been published and saying they were not in the business of telling reviewers what they can and can’t say. The statement ended with:
Barrington Harvey has been working hard to ensure the launch scores of Tomb Raider Underworld are in line with our internal review predictions over the launch weekend – but to suggest that we can in some way “silence” reviews of the game is slightly overstating our influence.
Which raises the question, does making sure the launch scores are in line with internal predictions involve telling reviewers not to publish reviews? Like the other guy just said you were doing?
Maybe Eidos’s representatives need to finish their instructions with “Don’t worry if you don’t, though. It’s not like we’re going to threaten to pull our advertising and get you fired. Not this time, at least.”