>The general sense of bummer-dom that I am feeling towards Tomb Raider: Underworld is only getting worse.
1. Gamefly keeps backing up the release date. When I checked on Monday, it indicated that I would already have the game in my hands; as of 12:18pm today, however, they’re not even sending it out until tomorrow, which means I won’t get it until probably next Tuesday at the earliest.
2. And I should probably be glad I’m not playing it, if the reviews are to be believed. There aren’t very many reviews out there, though; I’ve only seen scores from IGN (7.5) and 1UP (B), and one other review from action button dot net. I’ve been a little surprised that there haven’t been more reviews thus far, but then I came across…
3. …this morning’s Joystiq article about Eidos UK blocking TR:U reviews under 8/10 from publication, which is just mind-boggling.
From the Joystiq piece:
Really Eidos? Really? You didn’t lose enough goodwill being blamed for getting the world’s most popular video games journalist fired and bringing a respected games portal to its knees? (Yes, we know you denied any involvement. This sort of thing certainly makes that seem credible.) You thought maybe journalists would keep this quiet because you were buds? Because they were worried about not getting advance copies of Just Cause 2?
It’s funny; after the Kane&Lynch fiasco, I rescinded my membership from Gamespot in protest and solidarity with Gerstmann and started up this blog. I felt so hurt and betrayed – startlingly so, to be honest, because I certainly wasn’t prepared to have such an emotional investment in a fucking videogame website – and it took a rather long time for those feelings to subside.
In the process, though, I was forced to open my eyes a bit and really see what was happening to the industry as a whole. The fallout from Gerstmann-gate revealed a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes goings-on, not just with the press but with the publishers; suddenly it was revealed just how important things like Metacritic were to the perceived success of a particular title.
I was going to put something in here about how the movie industry does something similar to this, but the more I think about it, the comparison isn’t totally fair. If a movie studio is releasing a movie that they know is going to be savaged in the press, they simply elect not to show it to the press so it can’t be reviewed, hoping to get as much as they can on the opening weekend before word of mouth can trickle out. What Eidos is doing here, though, is a bit more slimy and evil; they thought they had an AAA title, and they shuttled it off to get reviewed, and now that the first reviews are starting to trickle in with less-than-hoped-for scores, they’re trying to suppress the rest of the reviews unless those reviews are favorable.
I read something the other day about how one of the CEOs of a major publisher was saying that “the videogame market is recession-proof.” With the economy falling apart and any number of developers closing up shop, though, I’m not entirely sure that it’s fair for the market to be taken for granted. And shit like this only makes “the market” that much more skeptical. Until I read this article, I was pretty sure I was going to forgo Gamefly and spend my lunch hour buying TR:U at the Best Buy near my office; now I’m somewhat tempted to take it off my queue altogether.
In the words of The Dude, “this aggression will not stand, man.”