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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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  • No, Far Cry 4 is not currently free on PSN

    You may have seen a few Tweets from people saying that the PS4 version of Far Cry 4 is available to download from PSN for free. This is not true. A few readers have tipped us off to what looked like a glitch on PSN that allowed players to download the full version of Far […]

  • What is Metal Gear Solid: The 1984 Collection?

    Konami is teasing a Metal Gear Solid thing called “The 1984 Collection.” The Metal Gear Solid Facebook page posted this image about an hour ago: The caption reads, “Step back into the 80′s with our new MGS collection coming very soon! Stay tuned!” This is supposedly in reference to the clothing line that was announced […]

  • Portal, The Simpsons, Jurassic World & Scooby Doo packs listed for Lego Dimensions

    Lego Dimensions is likely getting a few unannounced content packs. One of which is themed around Valve’s Portal. A set of unannounced content packs for the upcoming Lego Dimensions have been revealed by US retailer Walmart. The listings include packs for The Simpsons, Scooby Doo and Jurassic World, and most interestingly, Portal. The listings have […]

  • This is the most authentic recreation of GTA 2 in real life ever

    Affordable drones have many uses. Most of them are not nearly as exciting as recreating GTA 2 in real life. I am surprised it took us this long, but someone has finally captured footage using a drone that resembles the protagonist’s experience in the classic GTA 2. These aren’t just shots of cars from a […]

  • PlayStation 4 sales reach 2m in the UK

    Sony has sold 2 million PlayStation 4 consoles in the UK, faster than it did with the PlayStation 2 – the company’s best-selling machine in the country. MCVUK is reporting that as of last weekend, 2 million PlayStation 4s have been sold in the UK. The data is based on GfK Chart-Track estimates. This makes […]

  • H1Z1 gets female characters, skin colour options planned

    In an effort to improve diversity in the game, H1Z1 developer has added female characters. Female survivors can now be found throughout the world of H1Z1. Developer Daybreak added the new feature in a patch released last Friday. You will be able to choose a female avatar in the main game and in Battle Royale. […]

  • Possible teaser site for Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi’s new game opens

    Either Castlevania creator Koji “IGA” Igarashi is working on a soon-to-be-launched Kickstarter for his new game, or someone is pulling an elaborate prank. At PAX Prime last year, during Keiji Inafune’s Mighty No. 9 panel, a flyer was handed out to attendees that showed what appeared to be a 2D game of some sort with […]

  • Destiny weekly reset for May 5: Heroic and Nightfall strikes detailed

    Tuesday is here and Destiny’s weekly reset is also here. Bungie announced that your weekly Destiny grind has now begun. The Nightfall and Heroic strikes are now live too. This week’s strike is Winter’s Run. Rainbow burn is back for the Nightfall, which means you do more damage with all elemental weapons, but also receive […]

  • PC version of Project Cars delayed in Australia due to severe weather

    Recent weather conditions in Sydney, Australia are responsible for a slight delay of the PC version of Project Cars in the country. Sydney recently suffered from storms that caused flooding in some areas. One of those is the place where publisher Namco Bandai was storing PC copies of Project Cars. The stock was “severely damaged,” […]

  • Twitch’s new process makes it easier for streamers to appeal flagged content

    Twitch has updated its appeals process concerning videos that have been flagged by the audio ID system. Towards the end of last year, Twitch introduced a new audio recognition system that scans archived streams and automatically mutes the audio whenever copyright music is identified. The system has been in-use ever since and Twitch has today […]

  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a day one patch, but it’s not a major one

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will indeed have a day one patch, to make the first-time experience as smooth as possible. Like many modern games, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt will have its day one patch. According to the developer however, it wasn’t born out of necessity. Miles Tost, level designer at developer CD Projekt […]

  • CoD: Advanced Warfare owners get free pistol today

    Advanced Warfare developer Sledgehammer Games is adding a new pistol to the game, free to all players. The M1 Irons is a new pistol that comes to Advanced Warfare starting today. The weapon is offered as a thank you gift from the developer. Sledgehammer says the Irons is good at range and packs a punch. […]

  • Fall down the Skullgirls Big Band music video rabbit hole with me

    Skullgirls is a pretty amazing fighting game, but did you know it’s also a passable music creation suite? Earlier today I was idly perusing an episode of PlayStation Underground showing off Skullgirls 2nd Encore, a re-release of the indie fighter packing in loads of new features and coming to PS4 – with full cross-play! – […]

  • The many uses of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood’s pipe weapon

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood adds a sick new weapon to BJ’s arsenal: a pipe. In Wolfenstein: The Old Blood, a pipe is not just a pipe. Not only can you bash nazis with it, you can use it to climb walls, reach hatches, and even break through some walls. Plus? You can dual wield it. […]

  • Mortal Kombat X teaser gives first look at Predator

    Mortal Kombat X’s next celebrity guest was teased during the latest Kast. Today’s Mortal Kombat X Kast was mostly about all about Jason, but also included a very brief nod to Predator. You can watch the full livestream to see the tease in situ if you’re really keen, but IGN shared this convenient edit: There’s […]

  • Rock Band 4 has count-ins, drum fills and vocal harmonies

    Rock Band 4 will more closely emulate the feeling of being a real musician with some neat personalisation touches. For Rock Band 4, Harmonix elected to double down on player ownership of their experience rather than technical precision. To this end, it has implemented a number of cool new features. I am wildly envious of […]

  • Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z, Lost Planet 3 developer shuttered

    Spark Unlimited has gone down with all hands. The Yaiba: Ninja Gaiden Z and Lost Planet 3 developer has been shuttered and all staff laid off. Chief technical officer John Butrovich confirmed the news in a statement issued to IGN. “Spark Unlimited is closing as a video game developer. The ongoing opportunities for smaller mobile […]

  • PS Now subscription available on PlayStation 3 this month, Vita coming soon

    PlayStation Now’s all you can eat service has finally been dated for PS3. Subscriptions to PS Now, Sony’s cloud-based gaming service, will be available on PS3 from May 12 in the US. The all you can eat package will also be made available on select Bravia TVs and Sony Blu-ray players on the same date. […]

  • GTA 5 is even better with a gravity gun

    GTA 5 modders have made a dream come true, adding a gravity gun to your arsenal of mayhem-causing weaponry. GTA 5 isn’t ready for this. It looks like a heck of a lot of fun, but the poor old Los Santos po po can’t deal with the resulting carnage at all. If Rockstar were ever […]

  • “Mod makers should be able to make money from their creations,” says DOOM creator

    DOOM co-creator John Romero has weighed in on the paid mods debate. Paid mods are a hot issue right now. For years, Valve has been enabling content creators to make money from their work on Counter-strike: Global offensive, Dota 2 and Team Fortress 2, but when it partnered with Bethesda to offer the same for […]

  • Watch WRC driver Kevin Abbring smash through a DIRT Rally challenge

    WRC driver Kevin Abbring has been participating in Dirt Rally’s daily events – and kicking ass. Dirt Rally seems to have ticked one of the most difficult to attain boxes of racing development – creating something professional drivers like to play, and which rewards their years of experience. Codemasters published the video below showing Hyundai […]

  • Mortal Kombat X patch to bring PC version up to console standard

    Mortal Kombat X PC will be fixed tomorrow, NetherRealm has promised. The PC version of Mortal Kombat X has come under fire for poor performance, including stuttering frame rate and bugs as plenty. About 45 minutes into a recent Twitch stream, NetherRealm boss Ed Boon said an update will drop tomorrow to address many of […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: all new Crucible maps detailed

    Destiny’s House of Wolves DLC will add four new maps to the Crucible, the game’s competitive multiplayer mode. Let’s take a look at all of them. Alex brings you new footage showing all of the four maps that will drop with House of Wolves. He goes over the layout, landmarks, gameplay styles, and other important […]

  • Custom Xbox One Star Wars controllers look very tempting

    Microsoft is celebrating May 4 by showing off concept designs for Star Wars-themed Xbox One controllers. May 4 is of course Star Wars Day and the controller concepts you’re about to see are just that, concepts. Or at least that’s what they said they are. There are four designs and they don’t look very practical. […]

  • Project Cars launch trailer is an anthology of race cars, set to the beats of Deadmau5

    Project Cars comes out this week and there’s just enough time for one last trailer. Project Cars, Slightly Mad Studios’ ambitious racer that has been in development for ages, is finally coming out this week. The racer received plenty of changes throughout its development based on community feedback and the final product will be in […]

  • Star Wars Battlefront dev reveals planet Sullust

    Sullust, a planet that has not been previously shown, will be featured in one of Star Wars Battlefront’s maps. Star Wars Battlefront developer DICE revealed today that planet Sullust will be one of the game’s locations. The planet was mentioned in the films and other Star Wars works, but was only shown today. DICE posted […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: Tower vendor changes

    House of Wolves will change the inventory of some of Destiny’s vendors and add new roles to others. Here’s everything that has been announced so far. You know that House of Wolves will bring a new social space to the game in the form of The Reef. But did you also know that the good […]

  • Nintendo apologises for Amiibo shortages, will reissue some out-of-stock figures

    Nintendo released a statement today to apologise for fan’s frustrations in finding some Amiibo figures and promised to handle distribution better going forward. Nintendo has been criticised recently for its lack of communication when it comes to new Amiibo figures. Something which has lead fans to not know if certain figures are limited to some […]

  • Halo: MCC “a black eye for us,” Halo 5 won’t suffer the same fate, says franchise director

    The development of Halo: The Master Chief Collection was of an “outrageous complexity,” which was one of the reasons it suffered a horrible launch. None of that will happen with Halo 5: Guardians, according to Frank O’Connor. Frank O’Connor, Halo franchise development director opened up to Xbox Achievements about the difficult task of developing The […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: weapon Reforging explained

    When House of Wolves drops in a couple of weeks, you’ll be able to change the stats of some in-game weapons. This process is called ‘Reforging’. Alex goes over all the details Bungie revealed about the new Reforging system. This covers the materials you need, the weapons that can be reforged and much more. Make […]

  • GTA 5 PC: control the in-game phone with your iPhone using this mod

    GTA 5′s latest mod lets you control the in-game phone with your real-life iPhone. Reddit user Planetleak wanted to see if he would succeed in getting his iPhone to control the phone in GTA 5. He did it and has a video to prove it. It’s not a mod per-se, but it emulates mouse and […]

  • SoulCalibur dev wants to know fans’ favourite characters for “something huge”

    SoulCalibur developers are probably working on a new game, because they’re asking fans to vote on their favourite characters. Project Soul, the longtime developer of the SoulCalibur series is soliciting feedback on fans’ favourite characters. The developer said as much in a post on its Facebook page. “Calling all SoulCalibur Fans! Project Soul would like […]

  • Jason Voorhees doesn’t look out of place in new Mortal Kombat X trailer

    Jason Voorhees comes to Mortal Kombat X starting tomorrow and it’s time to celebrate his arrival. Jason Voorhees, the first DLC character for Mortal Kombat X has been given the trailer treatment. Jason is part of the game’s Kombat Pack, owners of which can start using him tomorrow, May 5. Being an iconic horror character, […]

  • Dragon Age: Inquisition – Dragonslayer DLC announced, free to all this week

    Dragon Age: Inquisition is getting a multiplayer expansion this week. BioWare has announced that all owners of Dragon Age: Inquisition will receive a new multiplayer expansion, for free. The expansion is called Dragonslayer and it’s centred around fighting dragons, hence the name. Three new playable characters will join the roster as you explore an all-new […]

  • Sonder is still happening, and this is the best news of the week

    Sonder is a really interesting-looking new indie adventure, which I am quite excited to remember exists. We first heard about Sonder in late 2013, when its debut trailer introduced us to a Kamai Media’s ambitious vision. In the intervening months Kamai has been hard at work on its space station management sim slash non-linear narrative […]

  • Twitter axes playable Internet Archive embeds

    The dream has died: Twitter has disabled Internet Archive game embeds. Remember how for a few days you could tweet a link to an a game on the Internet Archive and it was playable direct from that tweet? Well, Twitter has cancelled that. All those tweets now just show links. GamesIndustry suspects it has something […]

  • Lords of the Fallen, Divinity: Original Sin developers will reveal new games at E3 2015

    Lords of the Fallen developer Deck13 and Divinity: Original Sin developer Larian Studios have new projects in the works which will be revealed at E3 2015. Publisher Focus Home Interactive is behind both new games. In a French press release [PDF] spotted by RPG Codex, Focus said it will show off the two unrevealed titles […]

  • Rare game announce expected at E3 2015

    Rare’s new game will be shown off at E3 2015, apparently. Rare hasn’t announced a reveal, and neither has Microsoft, but it looks like the news has slipped out anyway. IGN cites a tweet from Rare creative director Simon Woodroffe in which he says that a new project from Rare designer Gregg Mayles will be […]

  • Batgirl expansion included in $40 Batman: Arkham Knight season pass

    Here’s what you get in the $40 Batman: Arkham Knight season pass. Batman: Arkham Knight’s season pass was announced last week, but apart from the news that it would cost a whopping $40/£33, we didn’t get many details of what it would include. Thankfully, Warner Bros. has since acknowledged the clamour this caused, as players […]

  • Star Wars Day Xbox sale discounts Force Unleashed, Lego games

    Star Wars Day is upon us, and here’s an Xbox sale to mark it. Microsoft is offering discounts on Xbox 360 games to celebrate May 4. From my desk here in Australia the sale is a bit light on content – two Lego games, plus The Force Unleashed and its DLC packs. Your mileage may […]

  • Here’s hoping this tease means we see Mass Effect at E3 2015

    Mass Effect boss Mike Gamble has shared a teaser image, which we’re more than happy to draw speculative conclusions from. The new Mass Effect game in the works at BioWare Edmonton is a mysterious beast. Judging by how long it’s been in development, it feels like we’re about due for a proper reveal, to clear […]

  • Watch almost a whole hour of Wolfenstein: The Old Blood

    Wolfenstein: The Old Blood is almost here. Are you ready for old-school shooter action? Wolfenstein: The Old Blood publisher Bethesda livestreamed almost an hour of the Machine Games shooter recently, and has now uploaded the archive to YouTube. Check it out below: Wolfenstein: The Old Blood launches digitally on PC, PS4 and Xbox One on […]

  • Splatoon lacks voice chat to promote a positive online experience

    Nintendo’s multiplayer game Splatoon will not contain a voice chat option in order to “focus on the positive aspects” of online gaming. Speaking in the latest issue of Edge magazine (thanks, GamesRadar), Splatoon co-director Yusuke Amano said personal experience with negativity in online voice chat was one of the main reasons for excluding the feature. […]

  • D4 on PC: differences from Xbox One version, system specs announced

    D4: Dark Dreams Don’t Die – Season 1 is coming to PC, and Access Games has provided a list of features different from the Xbox One version. We’ve pulled most of the changes off the game’s website and posted them below, along with the PC specs. D4 on PC Kinect gesture input controls replaced with […]

  • The Megalodon returns to Battlefield 4 with the latest CTE patch

    The Megalodon Easter Egg in Battlefield 4 may have been removed earlier this year from Naval Strike, but it has since resurfaced on the CTE with the latest patch. I’d make a Jaws reference, but it’s been done to death. The shark is shown in the video on the Paracel Storm map which was where […]

  • Survival horror game Kodoku has a new work-in-progress trailer

    Kodoku, the survival horror title from Carnivore Studio, has a new work-in-progress video available, showing you how the game is coming along. Announced for PlayStation 4 and Vita back in 2013, the game is slated for release sometime this year, and tasks the player with avoiding mythical Japanese ghosts using only magic and stealth. Thanks, […]

  • Current HoloLens prototype has noticeably “tighter” FoV compared to January build

    Microsoft’s augmented reality headset HoloLens is still very much in the prototype stage, according to various reports out of the Build Conference. Microsoft hasn’t discussed technical specs with the press yet as nothing is set in stone, but during a hands-on at Build, Ars Technica noticed the prototypes had a “x86 processor, 2GB RAM, 802.11ac […]

  • Silent Hills petition asking Konami to continue development has over 50,000 signatures

    A petition to save the Silent Hills game has been formed by fans in the hopes Konami will change its mind and bring the collaboration with Guillermo del Toro back from the dead. Konami confirmed on Monday the Silent Hill remake from film director Del Toro and Metal Gear’s Hideo Kojima had been cancelled, but […]

  • Attack on Titan has a US release date, title changed in EU over copyright claim

    Attack on Titan: Humanity in Chains will be released under a different title in Europe, according to the publisher, and while a release date has been set for North America, the same cannot be said for fans across the pond. According to Atlus, a copyright claim in Europe has forced the company to publish the […]

  • Yooka-Laylee meets final Kickstarter Stretch Goal in less than 24 hours

    The Kickstarter for Playtonic’s Yooka-Laylee sailed beyond its final £1 million ($1.5 million) Stretch Goal overnight, which will allow for a simultaneous release on all announced platforms. Once funded, Yooka-Laylee was slated for release on Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, Wii U, and Xbox One; however, a simultaneous release on all platforms wasn’t guaranteed unless […]

  • Not a Hero will miss its May 7 release date, but not by much

    Not a Hero will miss its May 7 release date, according to an announcement from Roll7. Not to worry though, it’s only by a week. According to the developer, the delay is due to “having undergone super-secret upgrades to crank shit up to 60fps.” The extra week will provide the additional time needed for tweaking […]

  • Assassin’s Creed, The Crew, Far Cry 4, other Ubisoft titles on sale through the Humble Store

    Ubisoft has put a number of its games on sale through the Humble Store. Franchises Assassin’s Creed and Far Cry are on discount as are single release titles. The list of games on sale are below. For pricing in your region, head over to the Humble Store. Anno 2070 Complete Edition Assassin’s Creed 3 Assassin’s […]

  • Payday 2: Repeater rifle, Peacemaker pistol introduced with The Butcher’s Western Pack

    Overkill Software released the 21st DLC pack for Payday 2 yesterday, titled The Butcher’s Western Pack. The pack will run you $4.99/€4.99 and other digital distribution channels. “For our 21st DLC we go back in time to visit the Wild West and the arsenal it was known for,” said the developers. “With it we’re introducing […]

  • The Yooka-Laylee Kickstarter just launched and has already met its funding goal

    Playtonic Games launched the Kickstarter campaign for Yooka-Laylee at 5pm UK, and in just over 30 minutes it already hit its $270,000 funding goal. You can watch the funding counter continue to roll over through the link. Yooka-Laylee is a 3D platformer where the characters use special moves such as Yooka’s tongue grapple and Laylee’s […]

  • Batch of hi-res Persona 5 screenshots released by PlayStation Japan

    A set of screenshots have been released for Persona 5, and while you’ve seen these before in magazines and on the official website, these are high-res versions. Some will even look familiar to those who watched the first gameplay trailer back in February. The shots were posted over on the PlayStation Japan Persona 5 game […]

  • Is Alien: Isolation getting HTC Vive support?

    Placeholder images for SteamVR icons have been found and it looks like there may be support for Alien: Isolation, so if you enjoy soiling yourself, get psyched! NeoGAF members found a thread on Reddit, where a little rooting around in a Steam directory unearthed the images. The list includes both games and apps, and as […]

  • Xbox Live multiplayer is free this weekend on Xbox 360

    Xbox 360 players in all Xbox Live regions can play multiplayer online for free this weekend. If you are a Silver member, this means you are Golden from May 1-3 and can play multiple games online with your buddies. All you have to do is log-in to Xbox Live.

  • Assassin’s Creed actor Michael Fassbender confirms film production starts September

    The Assassin’s Creed movie will start production this fall, actor Michael Fassbender (Prometheus, 300, X-Men:First Class) as confirmed. Speaking with ComingSoon.net, Fassbender said filming will start in September, which is inline with Ubisoft’s announcement in February. The actor will star in the film alongside Oscar-winning actress Marion Cotillard, both reuniting with their MacBeth director Justin […]

  • Eve Online boss states VR won’t be as big as we think next year

    I don’t think I’m the only one who wants VR to hurry up and manifest into a Sword Art Online-esque reality. Unfortunately, the chief executive officer at the studio behind Eve Online doesn’t think that will be happening any time soon. Talking to Venture Beat, Hilmar Veigar Pétursson touched on his excitement at the prospects […]

  • The Last of Us: Left Behind goes standalone in May on PS3, PS4

    Naughty Dog has announced that The Last of US DLC Left Behind will be released as a standalone experience next month. It can be purchased for both PlayStation 3 and PS4 through the PS Store and a two-hour demo of the Factions multiplayer will also be made available. “The Left Behind standalone game will have […]