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Eidos UK PR firm: We are “not in the position of telling reviewers what they can and cannot say”

Friday, 21 November 2008 15:45 GMT By Patrick Garratt

tombraiderunderworld142.jpg

Eidos’s British PR firm, Barrington Harvey, has issued a statement on the subject of UK Tomb Raider: Underworld reviews after it came to light this afternoon that sites had been requested to not publish score for the game lower than 80 percent until Monday, three days after it goes on sale.

The story arose after Gamespot UK journalist Guy Cocker wrote on his Twitter on Wednesday that he had been told that, “If you’re planning on reviewing Tomb Raider Underworld at less than an 8.0, we need you to hold your review till Monday.”

VG247 then contacted Barrington Harvey to be told by a rep: “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.”

The following statement is from Simon Byron, one of Barrington Harvey’s directors. In its entirety:

Barrington Harvey is not in the position of telling reviewers what they can and cannot say. We love Tomb Raider and believe it merits a score of at least 8/10, but if someone disagrees that’s entirely their prerogative. No problem at all. Seriously: no problem.

Our original NDA stated that in order to receive an advance copy of the game, reviewers agreed not to post reviews ahead of 5:00pm, Wednesday 19th November 2008. Nothing else. No further obligations whatsoever.

As you can clearly see from the scores posted so far, Barrington Harvey has no issue with scores of below eight out of 10 being posted online. The Eurogamer review in questions caused “problems” in so much as it originally contained a couple of minor factual inaccuracies which, to its credit, the site has quickly rectified and addressed (without, quite rightly, changing the context of the review).

Any site, be it Gamespot or whoever, is entirely within their rights to post whatever score they want and no-one is under any sort of obligation to delay any review.

As an ex-journalist myself, I firmly believe in editorial integrity and the right to express an individual opinion. As an agency, we never – ever – make demands of the press in terms of awarding scores; at the end of the day, they are free to score as they wish.

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.

Tomb Raider: Underworld releases today for Xbox 360 and PS3.

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20 Comments

  1. Blerk

    We can’t tell them what to say, but we can tell them when to say it. :-)

    #1 6 years ago
  2. Blerk

    Sorry, “strongly suggest” when to say say it.

    #2 6 years ago
  3. TheDifficult3rdAlbum

    I rate this story 6.0 / 10

    #3 6 years ago
  4. Blerk

    Not before Monday, you don’t!

    #4 6 years ago
  5. OrphanageExplosion

    to suggest that we can in some way “silence” reviews of the game is slightly overstating our influence.

    And yet I still don’t see that GameSpot UK review… perhaps they’re just being a bit quiet as opposed to being ‘silenced’…

    #5 6 years ago
  6. JonFE

    Blerk, you’re on fire :)

    #6 6 years ago
  7. morriss

    He didn’t really address the real issue: Why should they hold back until Monday if the score is lower than an 8? Why is it acceptable to make the public think it’s better ‘across the board’ than it actually is, just to generate sales for the product?

    Still, made my Friday, anyway.

    #7 6 years ago
  8. Blerk

    Eidos just came round and torched my office.

    #8 6 years ago
  9. Dean

    “Barrington Harvey is not in the position of telling
    reviewers what they can and cannot say.”

    Fair enough. Nice of you to explain, Mr. Byron.

    “We need you to hold your review till Monday.”

    Umm… errrr.. whaaaa?

    Mr. Byron hasn’t even explained why, if BH don’t do this kind of shit, one of their employees is a: telling a GameSpot reviewer to play nice, and b: telling Pat that this is what they do.

    This stinks of lies.

    #9 6 years ago
  10. Deanzor

    .

    #10 6 years ago
  11. Egon Superb

    Didn’t Pat say the game is out today? So surely, Gamespot can just play it /really really/ quickly, then put up the review now. :)

    #11 6 years ago
  12. JonFE

    morris, pardon my ignorance, but didn’t he (Simon Byron) blatantly deny that anyone had to delay their below-8 reviews by saying :

    “Any site, be it Gamespot or whoever, is entirely within their rights to post whatever score they want and no-one is under any sort of obligation to delay any review.”

    Unless I’m mistaken he does address the issue. Whether he or his employer is lying (because both cannot be telling the truth), though, is another story.

    #12 6 years ago
  13. morriss

    I’ll have another look.

    #13 6 years ago
  14. No_PUDding

    My step dad is a Fed Ex delivery guy and delivers to quite a few publishers including Eidos. Anyone have any requests?

    I can ask him to shit in the lobby or something.

    #14 6 years ago
  15. wickedman

    the game really sucks, and is really sad because i am a fan of the series of games they did before this one, but Underworld really,really,really SUCKS!!!!!

    #15 6 years ago
  16. Michael O'Connor

    It does? My experience of the game has been nothing but excellent. It’s an extremely well polished title.

    Which makes this pseudo-embargo all the sadder.

    #16 6 years ago
  17. wickedman

    the movement of Lara is really bad and the camera is the worst,i think comparing this game to Drake is not even close,drake will beat Lara like a b@#$, if u feel my drift ;-)

    #17 6 years ago
  18. Curious_Orange

    Embargoes are part and parcel of modern games publishing.
    Accept it, deal with it. While sites like GamesRadar and Gamespot have editorial integrity, it’s often easier to respect the publishers wishes on a minor thing like delaying for a few days, and keeping a good relationship that allows them to get future access to the games and more importantly, advertising.
    It’s a dirty word, but Ads sell mags and keep websites afloat. The writers don’t work for free and the games sites and mags are not a public service. They need the cooperation of companies like Eidos to keep doing what they do.
    Does this compromise editorial integrity? Well, not usually, 99 times out of 100 the writers and editors are engaged in a constant struggle with publishers and ads people to keep giving the readers their honest unbiased opinions on the games with no interference.
    That doesn’t mean that almost every games publisher tries to influence mags and sites in a variety of ways – from embargoes, to free stuff, to attractive PR ladies coming round trying to charm journos with their womanly wiles (not being sexist but 99% of game hacks are blokes). The big thing here is that the frigging tea boy or whoever it was at Barrington Harvey showed remarkable stupidity in openly admitting an unsavory practice that everyone in the industry knows goes on, but doesn’t mention so brazenly. Methinks he’s not long for a job…

    #18 6 years ago
  19. Harry

    In my experience PR folks often ask for such stuff because the order has come down from on high. When the PR bod asks you they do so in a way that leaves you knowing they think it’s dumb and don’t expect you to say yes. You say no. The PR bod has followed orders and asked. And the world turns happily.

    I was recently asked not to post a review if the score was below a certain level. It was a minor title from a small publisher. I said no. But away from the ethics was a purely practical matter – my writers work freelance and are paid for features that get posted on the site. So an unposted feature meant no reward for someone’s hard work. And the idea of that offends me more than being asked to take a dive.

    #19 6 years ago
  20. zoydwheeler

    “We love Tomb Raider and believe it merits a score of at least 8/10, but if someone disagrees that’s entirely their prerogative. No problem at all. Seriously: no problem…”

    OH, FUCK OFF! JUST FUCK. RIGHT. OFF.

    #20 6 years ago

Comments are now closed on this article.

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    Episode 2 for Resident Evil: Revelations 2 is now available. If you’ve purchased the Complete Season, you’ll be able to download Episode 2 on PS3, PS4 and Xbox One. Steam players should see the episode go live around 9-10pm PST, and Xbox 360 owners should be able to download very early tomorrow morning, per Capcom […]

  • Here’s a sneak peek video for Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide

    Fatshark Games has released a sneak peek video for its upcoming Games Workshop title, Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide. Vermintide is a FPS, co-op action title coming to PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, and its set during the End Times of the Warhammer universe in the city of Ubersreik. Warhammer: End Times – Vermintide […]

  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare video shows Ascendance DLC early access weapon

    As you know, Xbox Season Pass holders now have early access to the Ascendance DLC Pack bonus weapons for Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. Now you can watch a trailer for the weapon. The OHM directed energy hybrid weapon can switch between an LMG and Shotgun “on the fly,” and it also includes the OHM-Werewolf […]

  • March PS Plus games include OlliOlli 2, Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty, more

    March PlayStation Plus titles have popped up on the PS Plus page. Noticed by NeoGAF user skynidas, the titles include: OlliOlli2 (PS4/VITA) Valiant Hearts: The Great War (PS4) Oddworld: New ‘n’ Tasty (PS4) Counterspy (PS4/PS3) Papo & Yo (PS3) Sherlock Holmes: Crimes and Punishment (PS3) A notice has also been posted on the EU PS […]

  • Sci-fi horror game Caffeine will release on Xbox One, PS4 alongside PC – new trailer

    Caffeine creator Dylan Browne has announced the Unreal Engine 4 game will be released on Xbox One. The game will be published through Microsoft’s Indie Program. As previously announced, it is also coming to PC and and now PlayStation 4. Caffeine is a sci-fi horror game which stars a young boy who has been abandoned […]

  • Xbox 360 Preview program invites going out this month

    Much like the Xbox One Preview program, starting early this month, invites for the Xbox 360 Preview program will start rolling out. Select invitees will be able to join program directly from their Xbox 360. A special Xbox Live message will be sent, directing users to head over to their Settings page. Further instructions are […]

  • Tron: Legacy director in negotiations for Gran Turismo film

    Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski is said to be in early negotiations to direct the Gran Turismo film. This is according to the Hollywood Reporter, which states Michael De Luca is still slated as one of the producers alongside Matt Milam, Dana Brunetti, Josh Bratman, DeVon Franklin and Elizabeth Cantillon. Plot details are still unknown […]

  • Fifth add-on pack for Alien: Isolation is available for download

    The Trigger, which is is the fifth add-on pack for Alien: Isolation, is available to download from today. In it, players will “compete against the clock” across three new maps in Survivor Mode. Set before the events of the main game, players step into the shoes of Sevastopol Station’s Ricardo who will do what he […]

  • HBO Go app now available on PlayStation 4

    Sony has announced the HBO Go app will be made available for download later today for PlayStation 4. The app works just like the PS version. Now you can watch True Detective, Game of Thrones, Veep and more through your console. Information on installation is available through the PS Blog.

  • Skyrim mods no longer restricted to 100MB in size

    Bethesda has announced a beta for Creation Kit update 1.9.33, lifts the 100MB size restriction for Skyrim mod makers. The beta is for both Skyrim’s PC launcher and the Creation Kit which will allow for unlimited file sizes. Here are the notes: Creation Kit 1.9.33 Update Creation Kit now supports unlimited file sizes for mods […]

  • Mad Max release date set for September, PS3 and Xbox 360 versions canned

    Mad Max from Just Cause developer Avalanche Studios has been given a September release date, along with the new of a last-gen cancellation. The axing of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions were announced via Game Informer. Mad Max is the magazine’s featured game for the April issue. Avalanche, according GI, nixed development on […]

  • MGS 5: The Phantom Pain out in September, Kojima “closing the loop” on saga

    Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain will be released in September, according to an IGN Italy video, which also features Hideo Kojima discussing “With Metal Gear Solid 5, I’m finally “closing the loop” on the Metal Gear saga. The video has since been removed, but an image cap of the date is posted above. […]

  • Forza Horizon 2 Rockstar Energy Car Pack now available

    The Rockstar Energy Car Pack for Forza Horizon 2 for Xbox One is available now, alongside the free car for March. The free car is the Acura Integra Type-R, and the Rockstar pack included the following vehicles: 2014 Volkswagen Beetle GRC 2015 Subaru WRX STI 1996 BMW 850CSi 2015 Jaguar XFR-S 1970 Volkswagen #1107 Desert […]

  • 3DS firmware update kills web browser exploit

    Nintendo has issued a 3DS firmware update which fixes a web browser exploit that was being used to run pirated Game Boy Color ROMs since January as well as inject code within downloadable games. Another piece of code, per Eurogamer, changed the setting on the handheld to make it region-free. The exploit was only available […]

  • Unreal Tournament video shows updated textures on Outpost 23

    The latest footage from Epic’s new Unreal Tournament has surfaced, and it shows off the game’s first high-textured map which is called Outpost 23. As you can see from Zaccubus’ video, its the same are which Epic showed in the flythrough video from last year, only with updated textures and some new areas outside. The […]

  • Final add-on for Sunset Overdrive arrives in April

    The final add-on for Sunset Overdrive, Dawn of the Rise of the Fallen Machines, will be released in April. On April 1 to be exact. No, that’s not an April Fool’s joke from Insomniac Games either. Below, you can watch a fist-look at the new story, area, and traversal mechanic.

  • Heroes of the Storm playable at EGX Rezzed

    Heroes of the Storm will be playable at EGX Rezzed. This will be the first UK public hands-on with the online team brawler. Blizzard will also host giveaways and friendly tournaments at its stand. Tickets for all three days of Rezzed are still available, and you can purchase a pass through the official website. EGX […]

  • PES 2015 Data Pack 4 coming next week with Winter Transfers, new faces

    Data Pack 4 for Pro Evolution Soccer 2015 has been dated, and it updates the game with Winter Transfers, new player faces, and additional stadiums. The latest free update contains real-time player transfers made within the January window, and player ratings have also been updated. Additionally, a number of improved likenesses to key players will […]

  • Here’s the changelog for Dragon Age: Inquisition Patch 5

    Notes for upcoming Patch 5 for Dragon Age: Inquisition have been posted, noting improvements to gameplay and stability, and the new features outlined back in early February. Along with the new party storage system added to the Undercroft at Skyhold, players also have the ability to adjust the size of subtitles. Below you will find […]

  • Game of Thrones, Mortal Kombat X, Batman mobile games on the way

    Warner Bros. has announced free-to-play mobile titles spanning its DC Comics, Mortal Kombat and Game of Thrones properties. The following five new games under development are: Mortal Kombat X from NetherRealm Studios: The game blends fighting and card collection with cinematic gameplay and Fatalities. Play as both classic and fighters, and if you own the […]

  • Win! Beta access to new MMORPG Skyforge and DLC worth $70

    We have ten Wrath of the Gods Founders Packs to giveaway for new RPG Skyforge, worth over $70. All you need to do to win a Wrath of the Gods pack is enter your details in the form below and we’ll pick 10 winners at random on Thursday, March 5, after 3pm GMT. Skyforge is […]

  • PC gaming expected to be worth $35 billion by 2018

    PC gaming is alive and well. In fact, it’s expected to be worth $35 billion by 2018. According to game-business group Open Gaming Alliance, the PC gaming industry is expected to grow beyond its current $26 billion worth and to a massive $35 billion by the year 2018. The information is based on data collected […]

  • Advanced Warfare: new patch adds new weapon, Master Prestige ranks, more

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare has received a new patch that gives season pass holders early access to a new weapon and everyone else a myriad of fixes and additions. The patch went live today on Xbox 360 and Xbox One, without any official notes. CharlieIntel reports that among the new additions is the new […]

  • Destiny’s end game and raids explained

    Destiny’s end game can be a bit obtuse to those not used to MMO games. Fear not, we’ve got a few quick tips on how to crack it. Arekkz Gaming has a video for new players of Destiny or those who are looking to brush up on their knowledge of the game. Today’s theme is […]

  • Capcom adds local co-op to Resident Evil: Revelations 2 on PC

    Following fan outrage over lack of local co-op support for the PC version of Resident Evil: Revelations 2, Capcom has now added it. Resident Evil: Revelations 2 now officially supports split-screen local co-op in both campaign and raid mode. The update is currently in beta on Steam, but anyone can opt-in to try it. Capcom […]

  • New Destiny glitch spawns infinite Thralls on Earth

    Destiny’s latest glitch spawns infinite Thralls to help fuel your bounty hunting and loot lust. The glitch is simple to replicate. You’ll need to start The Dark Within mission on Earth, on any difficulty. Then follow the steps in the video below (Via DualShockers) to get to an area out of the map. You’ll then […]

  • Battlefield 4 Winter Patch is here with new game mode, netcode improvements and more

    DICE has released the Winter Patch for Battlefield 4. The patch brings an eSports focus with new game mode Squad Obliteration and plenty more. Battlefield 4 Winter Patch is now live on all platforms. It’s just over 400MB on PC and 1.34GB on consoles. The patch adds new game mode Squad Obliteration and more customisation […]

  • HTC hopes to see Half-Life on VR headset Vive

    Vive manufacturer HTC said that it hopes to see Valve games, including Half-Life, on the virtual reality headset. Speaking to the BBC, HTC chairwoman Cher Wang said that Valve is keen on having its games available on the VR headset. “I think Valve’s best game is Dota, right, and Portal and [Team Fortress] and I […]