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Publishers: withholding review code is wrong

Friday, 5 April 2013 08:26 GMT By Dave Cook

In the past fortnight we’ve seen a handful of middling games release ahead of reviews. VG247′s Dave Cook argues that the practice of withholding code can do more damage than bad metascores.

Dear publishers,

I don’t like being called a game journalist. I prefer to be called a game critic. For a long time my job has been to offer critique of games and topics for a variety of outlets, so that I can inform the buying decisions of my readership. These are your customers. These people pay you money for your products.

To properly assess a game I need time to play it through and to closely inspect every mechanic, element of design, multiplayer components and other separate parts to see if the complete package warrants the top-line asking price.

It’s a failure if I can’t give an accurate picture of what your product is like, then my readership spends good money on an inferior product.

When you realise you have a bad game on your hands, and you choose to hold no preview events for the press, or withhold review code until the game is already out, then, I’m sorry, but you’re effectively conning your customers.

I understand that “shock and awe” is a term used regularly in the game marketing world. I’ve interviewed enough independent developers who hate the phrase to understand that it exists. It’s the notion of keeping elements of a game secret until your marketing plan allows them to be made public.

You can file teaser trailers, screenshot reveals, release date reveals, pre-order incentive reveals and soundtrack composer reveals under “shock and Awe”. I call it something else. I call it deception. The games industry has become a circus of half-truths, mystery and false messages. You see this whenever studios release tarted-up bullshots of games. It’s a false image.

Transparency was once a dying virtue in the games industry, but it has found new life in the PC scene, where paid alphas and Kickstarter campaigns live or die depending on how open and responsive a studio can be. The open forum approach and the dialogue between consumer and developer can make for a superior product, but this is a rare thing in the triple-A market.

Developers now have to hit certain Metacritic scores in order to keep their publishers happy, keep their bonus pay and, in some cases, keep their jobs.

So when a publishing house like you knows it has a dud game on its hands you often engage in in a spate of dishonest rug-sweeping. Should you choose to give me and my press colleagues an early glimpse of such a product, it’s usually a cleverly-orchestrated ‘vertical-slice’ that makes your game look better than it is.

You may also push out trailers that give an incorrect view of the final product, but at times publishers might choose to hold no preview events for a bad game, or to withhold review code so that the press can’t tear it apart pre-launch. But here’s a better solution: make a better game. It’s not our fault that you ended up with a poor product. Stopping us, agents of the gaming press, from properly appraising your product before it goes to market reflects badly on you.

Sure, you may still squeeze sales out of people before the bad reviews come out, but what does that say about how you view those paying customers? From this side of the fence it looks like you see them as money in the bank, rather than loyal fans who have perhaps saved and squandered for your game for some time. That is no way to maintain customer loyalty.

Take your poor reviews like grown-ups and learn from the experience. See and understand what you did poorly and use it to better your next project. Iteration is a major part of game development.

Why not hold preview events early, read the resulting previews and use that feedback to make much-needed changes? How about paid alphas that evolve over time thanks to the input of gamers and the press? We can help you make these games better at a distance.

The games press needn’t be your enemy. Read what we have to say and use it like a tool. Talk to your fans properly.

Stop hiding behind misleading marketing campaigns and doctored images that dupe customers into parting with their money for nothing more than a fantasy. When they see the reality of your poor product having paid for the displeasure, they will pin the blame squarely on you.

Insight is crucial. Last year I argued in a blog that game reviews should tone back the philosophical fluff and just explain whether a game is good or not. That’s the core of any review. I was quickly accused of missing the point, and was told by a commenter that reviews shouldn’t just be a straight list of product features and opinions.

That’s not what I was saying at all. It’s just when I read an article about game that rambles on for four paragraphs about what the interviewee is wearing and having for lunch, I switch off. I’m not interested in how many big words a reviewer knows. Just tell me if the game is any good or not. When you, publishers, withhold final review code because you fear a poor Metacritic score, then you’re effectively curbing that insight.

I’ll concede that, yes, publishers in the majority have lifted the ‘red rope’ on studios. And I’ll agree that gamers today have never been given so much insight into how development works.

But there is still much work to be done. When I see a five second teaser for a teaser trailer that shows nothing, I can’t help but think we’re all missing the bigger picture here. Transparency can be useful for all corners of the industry – press, developer, publisher and consumer – but until certain companies realise that their customers are more than just money then this malpractice won’t cease.

Withholding code does your customers a grave disservice. When I see your game placed high in the charts without any reviews to criticise it, that doesn’t make me think you’re shrewd. I’m sure that many gamers reading this feel the same way.

Sincerely,

Dave Cook, game critic.

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35 Comments

  1. Samoan Spider

    Excellent letter Dave, I hope some of them sit up and take note. But like anything they know that a shiny turd, if given proper attention, will be shown to be a shiny turd and people won’t buy it. I don’t see this practice changing as much as we would all like it too. As with all industries, there are good guys and there are arseholes.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Lord Gremlin

    See, some of those publishers get around exclusively by lying to the customer. So, this entire article is basically telling thieves to stop stealing.
    It’s how they roll, stupid. They will die before they change.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. solsticegamer

    “Last year I argued in a blog that game reviews should tone back the philosophical fluff and just explain whether a game is good or not. ”

    I disagree because reviews can never be objective. What you refer to as “philosophical fluff” is often the reviewer’s perspective. There is a place in reviews for pros and cons, but beyond that, it’s about the experience, and that is very subjective. It’s something that can’t simply be explained with good or bad. That’s why it’s also pointless when certain reviews try to cover aspects like graphics, story, sound, just for the sake of it, like its a box that needs to be ticked. Sometimes those areas need to be left out, and at others they need to be highlighted more. It changes with the game.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Dave Cook

    @3 Yeah, box ticker reviews are bad, I said as such in my piece above and yeah there is scope for insight and back-stories and other information that help give real value to a review.

    But do I really need to know what Ken Levine is wearing or having for lunch by the pool of some expensive hotel in a BioShock Infinite interview feature? It adds no value to the piece.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. life28

    I call myself game critic too, because I review games for few years. Me, as editor in chief of independent office is always hard to get review copy of game, and usualy, we get them at day of release. There are still much publishers, who can access us into game before release and we can tell reader if game is bad, or good just before release, before buy. But…we are small office and I am scared every time, when I have to post my review back to publisher and their game has poor score. I am scared, that beacuse our reviews have poor score, we won´t get another game in future. So I think, this is one reason why publishers are bit late with review copies, they fear of sales in first days of release.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Dave Cook

    @5 “They fear of sales in first days of release.”

    Yeah that’s true, and that’s perfectly understandable. But it gives off a bad message. I see gamers often ask us why no reviews have gone live for a game that’s out in the same week. Suspicions get raised and everyone assumes the game is shit. It’s negative.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. DeyDoDoughDontDeyDough

    I agree.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. rbevanx

    “When you realise you have a bad game on your hands, and you choose to hold no preview events for the press, or withhold review code until the game is already out, then, I’m sorry, but you’re effectively conning your customers.”

    It’s their choice to show the game or not, you don’t see magicans showing their tricks before the show…
    I think it’s when they show footage as “in game” when it’s not in game it’s conning people, like with the recent Aliens game.

    It’s not a legal requirement for the publishers to issue a review copy and calling then con artists doesn’t help your argument I’m afraid.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. OmegaSlayer

    Great read.
    Publishers must hear the customer base or they bomb like DmC.
    Because we’re not cash cows and we know what we want.

    Also Dave…nice guts to pull out a piece like this.
    It will gather hate more than enlighten publishers, because…simply because it seems all the people in charge of something in this world are presumptuos, dumb and full of themselves, so they refuse others’ people honest and well thought opinions.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. silkvg247

    Good read.. not sure on the “grow up” part, I think really it’s more to do with them being professional and taking responsibility.

    I wonder which game/games triggered this article?

    In either case, at least the more experienced gamers know to wait for scores before they buy. I made my gf hold back from that walking dead trash.. she’s a fan of the show, she was going to buy it.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. sb319

    This seems curiously naive.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. ps4some

    Nice words Dave I agree entirely.

    You’re pissing in the wind though :)

    #12 2 years ago
  13. viralshag

    What’s the difference between a bad game getting withheld review code and a good game held under wraps by an embargo? The news of whether they are good or bad games will generally come to light at the same time and it’s often at the same level of risk.

    Not to mention the fact that game sites, like VG, will often promote/hype/release any info about said bad/good game before launch. I think game journalism is just as bad for misleading potential customers or catering to their readership.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. frostquake

    Adapt or Die? Evolve or be Replaced? They make perfect sense! But not to a Company run by a Board!
    Remember the ONLY responsibility a board has is to its shareholders! And the only responsibility is P R O F I T!
    While the CEO of Gaming companies may know what is going on, the majority investors, either are on the board, or have a pawn on the board, and some of these people are extremely clueless about how the gaming industry only works! The only reason they are there, is the potential for profit!
    There are great many Documentaries that explain this concept, and why consumers will always be the last concern, ALWAYS!
    The Upper Echelon\Board\Majority Shareholders, will do whatever it takes to make a profit, Not giving review copies, gutting and splitting up a company to make a profit. Their goal is to give the LEAST for the Most! Least for Maximum Return.
    There is a Major Shift in the Economy right now in the USA, and parts of the rest of the world, but most Corporations will NOT change their formulas. As long as they get their profits, they could careless about the workers\developers or the consumers. Once they get their profits out, they are more then happy to let the company go Bankrupt.
    A company I worked for, which I shall not name, was bought by a certain past Presidential Candidate here in the USA. Instead of Him or his board being happy with a smaller profit over the long term, it was much easier to make a quicker profit by gutting the company and then putting it into bankruptcy! Even though thousands of people lost their jobs, the Board and CEO made a ton of quick money, even though if they would have kept the company they would have made more in the long term, but it was too tempting to turn a quick buck! This type of behavior exists in all Companies, including Game Companies!
    So good luck in getting any Company\Corporation to change!

    STAY FROSTY MY FRIENDS!

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Dave Cook

    @13 good games deserve your £45, bad ones don’t.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. viralshag

    @15, How do I know it’s a good game or not? Embargos are usually lifted upon the day of release. People will often have the games pre-ordered anyway if the hype train has been at work.

    So what’s the difference? It’s not like hyped good looking games have turned out to be disappointing before.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. silkvg247

    @15 No game deserves £45, that’s extortion :p

    #17 2 years ago
  18. SameeR_Fisher

    Great read Dave and totally agree, I hope other ‘game critics’ take the same stand as you, and start voicing concern regarding such matters.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Dave Cook

    @18 They aren’t. They mostly disagree, but thanks for reading.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Samoan Spider

    @19 And that Dave, is why we are here. We know that you guys aren’t just shills so fuck ‘em.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. ps3fanboy

    very good written article by dave cook here, he hit the nail on the head with this one.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. SameeR_Fisher

    @19: wait what ?!, I thought they won’t talk about it to not harm their relationship with the publisher or something, but disagree ?!

    I mean yeah sure people can disagree, but what is there to disagree about holding out a review copy ?!

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Dave Cook

    @22 I was told my opinion was naive and uneducated. I admit I could have offered more insight into some areas and presented the case of the other side better – I mean that sincerely – but mostly I was told that a PRs job is to help their employer make money and if shrouding the facts is the way to do that then who I am I to argue?

    I still cannot accept that with a smile. I don’t even blame the PR though, I blame the top tier marketing execs. I know lots of PR folk and understand they’re just doing their job, but again it’s my failing for not explaining that better in the piece.

    I used to work in PR for a legal firm though (nothing to do with gaming though) so know full well what parts of the job entail. I should have just stated it better. My bad on that one.

    Live and learn eh?

    #23 2 years ago
  24. SameeR_Fisher

    @23: Dave, I am sure you could have written it better, but to me when I read this piece it felt coming out from me, it was easy to relate to what you are saying as a fellow gamer.

    And really these people see that kind of PR the way to go ?!, seriously ?!, I mean as you said the top tier execs want something specific, but the amount of deceive the consumer goes through should matters most, to say this bluntly we are the reason company X is kicking, loyal consumer who have faith that company X give quality titles, betraying such trust is really dangerous.

    yeah Dave, live and learn, you know most readers here love your pieces, so keep them coming, keep voicing our concerns that may go unchecked, I for one will be always supporting.

    Cheers

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Dave Cook

    @24 thanks pal, much appreciated :)

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Lengendaryboss

    Very impressive letter Dave, stick it to the man :D. I can understand why publishers do it: to fool the uninformed crowd, get as much sales as possible thats the sort of anti-consumer, greedy and sad tactics i don’t like in a publisher. Everyone should know what they are getting into, which is again something the uninformed crowd don’t know about.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. DSB

    It’s certainly brave.

    It’s just another case of control being given over to publishers and PR because the press refuses to stand up for itself.

    If a movie studio refuses to hold press screenings before a premiere, the press responds by covering that irregularity and letting everyone know just how little confidence they have in their movie.

    The obvious result is that 99% of all movies have press screenings after which the press can write what they like.

    The videogaming press doesn’t respond in the same fashion, and so they don’t get the same respect.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. RocknRolla

    I haven’t been registered on this site long, but Dave this is the best I’ve seen from you! Great job man! Keep this up :) this is why I never buy games not known to me before I watch a review, I sudgest the whole should wait for a review as well haha :)

    #28 2 years ago
  29. salarta

    As Dave said, withholding the chance for critics to review a game until it’s already out is ultimately a bad thing for sales. If it’s a bad game, then it’s the difference between a loyal customer seeing the review and merely skipping that one game, or the customer wasting their money on a bad product and deciding not to buy countless future games that they’re on the fence about in case they suck as bad as the first one they wasted their money on.

    Using deception to sell one game is not worth, in the eyes of a sane person, the loss of a sale for ten future games. It’s also one of many reasons I stopped buying anything associated with Squeenix back in 2011. Among the many horrible things about Squeenix’s practices, both FF13 and 3rd Birthday as well as other games involved the writers, directors and marketing openly lying about the content or purpose behind the content as a ploy to boost sales. I can’t support or respect a company that treats its customers like morons.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. Dave Cook

    @28 and @29 thank you guys. Much appreciated.

    #30 2 years ago
  31. Gekidami

    Pat would not agree:
    http://www.vg247.com/2012/05/21/how-diablo-3-gave-metacritic-a-giant-middle-finger/

    “Reviews written after launch, especially those for games which feature a heavy online component, are more accurate and less susceptible to being tainted by publisher control. For the most savvy consumers in the games space – yes, that’s you – that means you’re going to get better reviews from unhurried experts”

    Interesting divergence in opinions.

    “They aren’t. They mostly disagree, but thanks for reading.”
    Indeed.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. Dave Cook

    @31 divergence of opinions is good though I’d say. We are two different people after all. Shows we’re a democracy in the end. Thanks for reading bud.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. scott_wright

    Having just read this I hope you don`t stop doing pieces like this they are great!

    I understand you don`t want people to dislike you Dave but you are doing great work!

    #33 2 years ago
  34. FuzzyPixels

    @31: It depends on what you hold the function of a review to be, and indeed the nature of the game at hand. It’s impossible to successfully review an MMO before launch, and indeed irresponsible to do so, but the vast majority of games may certainly be critiqued in both a timely and thorough manner…

    …given that the actual code arrives on time.

    But it depends what we’re writing for. Are we writing for consumers? Are we writing for developers? Ourselves? Posterity? All of the above?

    Personally, I think Dave’s frustration is warranted, but the practices of PR and marketing folk must be in the interests of their clients rather than those clients’ customers. Sadly the two are not always the same. As critics, it’s up to us to try and change the culture of blind buying, to make transparent what reps seek to make foggy, report on delays and stonewalling and hold publishers to account when code is late. We need articles like this from more of the top tier sites, honest writing (what a novelty!), but coupled with action.

    #34 2 years ago
  35. Dave Cook

    @34 thank you :)

    #35 2 years ago

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    Rockstar is set to release a patch today that will fix a bug preventing players from installing the game. The bug is tied to Windows usernames that use certain characters not supported by Rockstar. There’s already a workaround available on the Rockstar Support site, but those waiting for an official update will be able to […]

  • Prey 2 dev’s new mobile horror Lost Within out now on iOS and Fire

    Remember Lost Within, that mobile survival horror erstwhile Prey 2 developer Human Head Studios was making with Amazon Game Studios? It’s now available on iOS and for Amazon’s Fire devices, through the appropriate App Stores. There’s a little bit of extra info on it on the AGS blog, if you’re keen; unfortunately the blog doesn’t […]

  • Let’s take a look at Blood Bowl 2′s Chaos faction

    Blood Bowl 2: The Chaos Theory is only the latest in a much loved series of games based on a game based on two other games. Blood Bowl is a popular Games Workshop tabletop game which blends the fantasy universe of Warhammer with a fantasy sport drawing inspiration from American football and related games. It’s […]

  • “Second-person” shooter Screencheat coming to PS4 and Xbox One

    Goldeneye players should be familiar with the concept of screencheating, which is what this new indie is all about. Screencheat has been on our radars for a while but has now been confirmed for PS4, sparking a new wave of interest with a trailer and PS Blog post. However, it was one of a number […]

  • World of Warcraft Timewalking will make old dungeons fun again

    World of Warcraft will soon introduce a feature called Timewalking, designed to make you feel young again. When WoW players participate in a Timewalking event, they’ll be transported to a randomly selected classic dungeon. Upon entering, their level and gear will be scaled way, way down to the Dungeon’s Heroic level – so they won’t […]

  • Bloodborne and Dark Souls messaging – in real life

    Soapstone is a cool little app that mimics the messaging system found in Bloodborne, Dark Souls and Demon’s Souls. Bloodborne and Dark Souls fans will surely agree that the asynchronous multiplayer side of things, with players leaving anonymous tips, encouragement and jokes for each other, is one of the cooler aspects of the From Software […]

  • Mass Effect fans, get a load of this My Talking Elcor plushie

    I have been waiting to write about this all day because oh my god. Mass Effect attracted a devoted fanbase and Bioware has found tons of clever ways to satisfy that fanbase’s desire for clothes, collectibles, books, comics and toys related to the future world of Commander Shepard and company. The company has been so […]

  • Homeworld Remastered Collection headed to retail

    Homeworld fans can purchase a neat little package of gloriously remastered nostalgia soon. The Homeworld Remastered Collection has been available online since the end of February, but is now on its way to retail thanks to a deal between new rights holder Gearbox and Ubisoft. The PC exclusive will launch in physical form from May […]

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt download size lower than predicted

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a hefty install footprint, but it’s not as bad as we expected. The Witcher 3 was expected to be a 50GB download after a note to this effect was added to the PlayStation Store. It looks like that might have been a placeholder figure, as DualShockers noted today that […]

  • Bloodborne, beaten with a Guitar Hero controller

    Come on now, you didn’t expect anything less from the Souls community, did you? Bloodborne has been vanquished with a Guitar Hero controller, just a few weeks after its release. Kotaku reports Bearzly took nine hours to finish the game, which is probably less than many players using a Dual Shock. You can watch a […]

  • Vendors? New social space? Your House of Wolves questions will be answered

    Destiny players learned more about House of Wolves in this week’s Bungie update than you might realise at first glance. Resident Destiny expert Arekkz cast his eagle eye over this week’s Bungie Weekly Update, which announced next week’s Reef tour livestream. I personally am most excited to learn about gear upgrade paths, but Arekkz points […]

  • GTA 5 playable with Virtuix Omni VR treadmill

    You’ve seen GTA 5 with Oculus Rift, Now see GTA 5 with the Virtuix Omni. GTA 5 PC has unlocked a number of exciting possibilities. Modders and hackers are still working on making the game’s files accessible to third-party creation tools, but several cool things have been produced even with this barrier still in place. […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: play as Rain and other locked characters on PC

    Mortal Kombat X players comfortable with tinkering with the game’s files can unlock unplayable characters. Mortal Kombat X includes a number of familiar fighters available only as opponents, not playable characters. if you’re super keen to try out Rain, Baraka and co, you can – with a bit of fiddling. Redditor XVermillion figured out that […]

  • Madden 16 release date set for August, of course

    Madden NFL 16 has a deeply unsurprising release date. Madden’s release date always falls at the end of US summer, and Madden 16 is no exception. EA Sports has announced that the NFL sim will release on PlayStation 3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on August 26. We have absolutely no further information at […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront won’t have Battlelog support

    Star Wars Battlefront is not just Battlefield in a Hallowe’en costume, so don’t expect the same suite of features. Star Wars Battlefront is the subject of intense anticipation and curiosity, so it’s not surprising a bunch of rumours have turned up. One of these rumours suggests that Battlefront will have its own version of Battlelog, […]

  • Battlefield Hardline beats Bloodborne to top March NPD chart

    PS4 had a good month but it was EA’s multi-platform Battlefield Hardline that was the best-selling game. March 2015 NPD at a glance Total spend down 6% YoY. Hardware and software both down. Console hardware blamed for significant hardware dip. Accessories up. Battlefield Hardline tops software chart. PS4 outsells other consoles. Wii U, 3DS and […]

  • Destiny: House of Wolves gear upgrade paths will be revealed next week

    Destiny developer Bungie will reveal new equipment upgrade paths during a livestream next week. Destiny: House of Wolves will release on May 19, the developer announced last week, promising a full schedule of reveals over the next few weeks. It also gave a broad outline of some of the things it will be discussing in […]

  • Don’t forget: the Elder Scrolls Online Welcome Back Weekend kicks off tomorrow

    Just a quick heads up to remind you that The Elder Scrolls Online Welcome Back Weekend kicks off tomorrow, April 17 at 10am EDT. The free weekend is an incentive to bring back beta players which tried the game, but decided not to pursue a purchase. You can play the MMO until 10am EDT on […]

  • Tale of Tales announces May release for Kickstarter success Sunset

    Those attending Kill Screen’s Two5six Festival next month will be able to play Tale of Tales upcoming title Sunset before it’s released. Along with the news provided to us by BeefJack, Tale of Tales have also released new set of lovely screenshots which we have posted below. Sunset will be released on Linux, Mac and […]

  • Take 50% off select racing titles through the Codemasters online store

    Codemasters has launched an online store and is celebrating by giving you 50% off the titles listed. Here’s what’s on sale: F1 2013 Classic Edition F1 2014 – F1 RACE STARS BUNDLE F1 2013 GRID 2 GRID 2 Reloaded GRID Autosport DIRT 3 Complete Edition DIRT Showdown Toybox Turbos F1 RACE STARS Hit up the […]

  • Spy_Watch coming to Apple Watch from Surgeon Simulator devs

    Surgeon Simulator developers Bossa Studios have announced its working on an Apple Watch game called Spy_Watch. Spy_Watch, according to the developer, has players heading up a spy agency which isn’t faring too well. Players will need to train a spy and then send him out on various missions to “reclaim the agency’s former glory.” Real-time […]

  • Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power hits Steam Early Access next week

    Frozenbyte has announced Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power will launch on Steam Early Access next week. The early access title will run you $19.99/€19.99/£14.99 and you can purchase it come April 21. If the short video above isn’t enough to tempt you, a video showing nine minutes of gameplay was released last week.

  • Journey, Flower, flOw trilogy to be released this summer on PS4 in 1080p at 60fps

    A remastered version of the Journey Collector’s Edition is coming to PlayStation 4 from ThatGameCompany. According to Gamespot, the trilogy will contain PS3 titles flOw, Flower and Journey on one disc, and it will run in 1080p at 60fps. A standalone version of Journey will arrive close to the trilogy’s release on PS4 through the […]

  • Here’s a few screenshots of PS4-exclusive Alienation from Housemarque

    Screenshots for Alienation, Housemarque’s four-player co-op PlayStation 4 exclusive, have been released and you can have a look at them in the gallery we’ve posted. Announced at gamescom 2014, the game features three main character classes, weapon customization, and various team set-ups. The game has players shooting at things with twin-stick gameplay with a top […]

  • Star Wars: Battlefront website notes November 17 release, teaser video and first image hit

    The first Star Wars: Battlefront image has been posted, and apparently it appeared on the official website at some point this morning. The game will also be released on November 17, according to the official website’s source code. The release date is noted in the code located in the image below. Props to Gematsu for […]

  • Mortal Kombat X is the fastest selling entry in the series to date

    Mortal Kombat X has sold faster than any other game in the series to date, making it the “biggest launch” in Mortal Kombat history, according to creator Ed Boon. Speaking in a series of tweets, Boon said both the mobile and console versions have “literally millions of players getting online” resulting in the servers being […]

  • Shadow of the Beast reboot resurfaces with some new screenshots

    The Shadow of the Beast reboot, which was announced in 2013, has show its face once more with early screenshots. Screenshots of the Amiga classic remake show off the Karamoon’s desert and the main character, Aarbron. According Matt Birch, CEO and founder of Heavy Spectrum, the team is currently hard at work on the “core […]

  • Halo: Spartan Strike arrives on Windows 8, iOS and Steam today

    Halo: Spartan Strike is now available on Windows 8, Steam, iOS devices and Windows 8 phones. The mobile top-down shooter will run you $5.99. Halo: Spartan Strike tells a new story in the Halo universe set during the events of Halo 2 on New Mombasa in 2552. Those playing on Windows 8 devices can compete […]

  • Final Fantasy 15 video shows highlights from the Episdoe Duscae demo

    Square Enix has released a Final Fantasy 15 video which shows highlights from the Episode Duscae demo included with launch editions of Final Fantasy Type-0 HD. FFT0 has shipped over one million copies worldwide, and a player feedback survey is available for the Duscae demo until May 19. Final Fantasy Type-0 HD is available on PlayStation […]

  • Bloodborne has sold over 155,000 digital units since release – SuperData

    PlayStation 4 exclusive Bloodborne has sold over 155,000 digital units since it was released on March 24, according to SuperData’s latest report. The figure produced by SuperData is worldwide and comes on the heels of the one million units sold announcement earlier this week. “After the release of the beautiful but terribly short game The […]

  • Nintendo US eShop update: Mega May returns, Super Smash Bros. update, Mii Fighter costumes

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with a Super Smash Bros. update and the StreetPass Mii Plaza games Battleground Z and Ultimate Angler. The update is rather detailed, and a bit larger than normal, and you may wish to pay special attention to the activities listed. Here’s the full update: StreetPass […]

  • Here’s your first look at Sony boss Shuhei Yoshida in Super Time Force Ultra

    Sony Worldwide boss Shuhei Yoshida is a playable character in Super Time Force Ultra, and today, Capy Games has provided a couple images of the man himself in the game. Yoshida was announced as a playable character in the game during Sony’s PlayStation Experience event back in December 2014. The PS4 and Vita version will […]

  • The wait is almost over – The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has gone gold

    CD Projekt RED has announced the news we’ve all been waiting to hear: The Witcher 3 has gone gold. This means Geralt’s latest, and possibly last, adventure has been sent to the factory to be pressed into lovely gaming discs. “We worked so damn hard over the past three years to bring you this game,” […]

  • Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is a “couple weeks out from beta,” new trailer

    Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture is just a “couple of weeks out from beta,” according to development studio The Chinese Room, and a release date will be announced “shortly.” To give you an idea of how development has been coming along since it was announced at gamescom 2013, the team has released a new trailer […]

  • GTA 5 on PC looks incredible, but I can’t recommend it to console players

    As much as Matt Martin loves GTA 5, he can’t recommend upgrading from console to PC just for a slick editing suite and even prettier graphics. “This is the third time in as many years that I’ve bought GTA 5.” I have a Grand Theft Auto 5 obsession, as I’m sure you know if you’ve […]

  • The Forest engine updated to Unity 5, major graphical and gameplay improvements made

    The Forest’s latest patch added substantial improvements to the game. The Forest version 0.16 is now live on Steam with plenty of new additions. The game has been ported over to Unity engine version 5. The plant and skin shaders have been replaced or rewritten. Many other visual tweaks have been made, such as model […]

  • Star Wars: Battlefront banner leaks from Star Wars Convention

    EA has been setting up the Battlefront booth at Star Wars Celebration, and one leaked picture shows what could be the game’s main art. Someone on Reddit posted a picture of the game banner at EA’s booth. Here it is: Lots of things happening here. There’s a Star Destroyer in the distance, TIE Fighters and […]

  • Get GTA 5 working with Oculus Rift using this tool

    There’s a way you can play GTA 5 in VR if you own an Oculus Rift Dev Kit and have a bit of cash to spare. VorpX, the go-to program for adding VR support to games has received an update recently to support GTA 5. This is far from perfect, as it only translates the […]

  • FIFA Ultimate Team: week of April 15 team revealed

    This week’s Team of the Week is now available for anyone to challenge in FIFA Ultimate Team. The team members get selected each week based on their performance during the weekend matches. You can fire up FIFA Ultimate Team on any platform and challenge this squad. You’ll also find some Team of the Week items […]

  • Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will let you stealth all encounters, including bosses

    Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will bring back one of the original game’s major features. Deus Ex: Human Revolution is considered by many to be a great game and worthy of bearing the franchise name. One of its grating issues though was its boss fights. You only had one way to fight them: be confrontational. The […]

  • Project Cars PC specs and supported wheels announced

    The release date of Project Cars is inching ever closer and more details have been revealed to answer all your burning questions. Project Cars developer Slightly Mad Studios has revealed the full list of supported steering wheels on all platforms, as well as the minimum and recommended PC specs. Minimum specs CPU – 2.66 GHz […]

  • GTA 5 gets custom FOV mod on PC

    Those not satisfied with GTA 5′s built-in field of view slider can use a new mod to push the number even further. The PC versions of GTA 5 – just like its PS4 and Xbox One counterparts – lets you switch between third and first-person view in shooting and driving. The game has an FOV […]

  • Win! GTA 5 on PC!

    Want to win a Steam key for Grand Theft Auto 5 on PC? Just enter here. GTA 5 released on PC this week and is going down a storm. We like it a lot, which is why we’re giving away a Steam code for Rockstar’s latest. All you need to do is enter your email […]

  • GTA 5 topples Skyrim’s record for highest concurrent players on Steam

    Not factoring in Valve games, GTA 5 is the new king of concurrent player numbers on Steam. GTA 5 is very popular on PC, even more popular than games like Skyrim in its heyday. The number of concurrent players for GTA 5 has peaked today at 301,246. This makes it the only non-Valve game to […]

  • Mortal Kombat X: what does a modern fighting game look like?

    Mortal Kombat continues to evolve as NetherRealm adds RPG systems and daily challenges to a solid fighting game, says Sherif Saed. “Mortal Kombat X takes many cues from games like Destiny, Call of Duty, and GTA Online with hourly, daily and weekly events.” For as many of its familiar facets, Mortal Kombat X has enough […]

  • J-Stars Victory VS+ coming west in June – new trailer

    J-Stars Victory VS+ will make the jump (see what I did there) to the west after all. J-Stars Victory VS+ is the western title for the fighting game which stars characters from a variety of Shonen Jump-published manga. Bandai Namco has announced the fighter will release in Europe on June 26 and in the Americas […]

  • Codemasters F1 license good through 2016

    Codemasters has at least one more F1 game in it. F1 2015 isn’t out yet, so Codemasters is naturally not talking about what it might get up to in the future. We do know what it can get up to, though; Codemasters’ Steven Embling told Videogamer has the option to continue the series. “We have […]

  • Project Cars has pretty deep graphics options on consoles

    Project Cars offers players a wide variety of ways to customise their graphic settings on PS4 and Xbox One. Project Cars is a graphics showcase and all early indications suggest it’s going to be one of the best-looking games out there. Slightly Mad’s commitment to graphics seems to go deeper than making things pretty, though: […]

  • Super Smash Bros. patch nerfs Diddy Kong – report

    Super Smash Bros. 3DS and Wii U is great but Diddy Kong is a beast and must be stopped. The latest Super Smash Bros. 3Ds and Wii U patch seems to have nerfed Diddy Kong, a character so over-powered that serious tournament players generate controversy by choosing to use him. Nintendo doesn’t publish patch notes, […]

  • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel developer shuttered

    Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel developer 2K Australia has been closed down. Kotaku broke the news, and also had word from an anonymous source, who said that all staff have been let go. 2K responded to our request for comment with the following statement: We can confirm we have taken steps to begin the studio closure process […]

  • Samorost 3 trailer shows Amanita still in fine form

    Samorost 3 looks as delicately beautiful as its siblings. Samarost 3 developer Amanita Design has a reputation for gorgeous, slightly surreal world building. This new trailer for its latest adventure looks just as if not more lovely than the previous Samarost games and Botanicula. Samarost 3 is coming to Mac and PC later this year, […]

  • Amnesia dev’s new project SOMA now in beta

    SOMA is nearly here and I am torn between excitement and horrified dread. SOMA is the latest horror project from Frictional, the team behind Amnesia: The Dark Descent. We’re pretty excited to see what Frictional comes up with next, and we won’t have too long to wait, apparently; the developer has announced that SOMA is […]

  • Steam Guard mobile authenticator now in beta testing

    Steam is now testing its latest security measure. Steam helps you protect your account by offering two-factor authentication, a solution so beautifully elegant and effective that it’s astounding every gaming network doesn’t do the same (looking at you, Sony). Valve’s version is called Steam Guard, and it works via email. This isn’t always super convenient, […]

  • Godzilla battles Mothra in new trailer

    Godzilla lets you stomp around cities and battle classic kaiju. I’m in. Godzilla is coming to PlayStation 3 and PS4 in early July, but we haven’t seen a great deal of it since its December reveal. The new trailer below gives you an idea of just what Natsume has done with one of the biggest […]

  • Tales of Zestiria to launch this year – new trailer

    Tales of Zestiria continues Bandai Namco’s delightful new habit of bringing the popular JRPG series to the west before the shine wears off. Tales of Zestiria is coming west in northern autumn, the publisher has announced. That’s not a bad turnaround, given it first hit Japan in January, and localisation of text-heavy titles is expensive […]

  • Project Cars release date locked down, new trailer released

    Project Cars finally has a release date. Project Cars will release on May 8, Bandai Namco UK has announced. We haven’t yet had an update from Namco Bandai’s other regional offices, but its probably safe to bet the racer will release around the same time in the Americas, Europe and ANZ region. We can now […]

  • Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains trailer shows combat, online multiplayer

    Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains has plenty to offer fans of the anime. Previously known as Attack on Titan: The Last Wings of Mankind, the Spike Chunsoft action game is coming west thanks to Atlus. Gematsu reports it’s due in both Europe and North America in May, via the 3DS eShop. The trailer below […]

  • Bloodborne stamina recovery rate affected by equip weight

    Bloodborne players have unearthed an important gameplay detail not mentioned in the game’s menus or manual. In Bloodborne, players need to manage their stamina carefully for best results. A far more aggressively-tuned affair than past Souls games, Bloodborne does away with equip weight limits, and items have no listed weight details. As far as players […]

  • Street Fighter’s Ryu, Fire Emblem’s Roy spotted in Super Smash Bros. patch – rumour

    Street Fighter’s Ryu is rumoured for future Super Smash bros DLC following datamining of the latest patch. Super Smash Bros. 3DS and Wii U were updated recently, and hacker shinyquagsire23 claims to have found some interesting files while poking around in the 3DS patch data. As detailed on Reddit, the audio files included a new […]

  • Suikoden 3 PEGI rating suggests PS2 Classic re-release

    Suikoden. Suikoden 2. And now: Suikoden 3. Suikoden 3 has been rated by PEGI for PlayStation 3, presumably ahead of an upcoming re-release. Gematsu turned up the rating, and although we have no further information at this time, it’s not much a leap to assume the RPG will turn up as a PS2 Classic on […]