Update: Barrington Harvey’s isued a formal statement on this. See it here.
Eidos UK PR firm Barrington Harvey has confirmed that British sites are being asked not to post Tomb Raider: Underworld reviews with scores lower than 80 percent until Monday.
The game releases today for 360 and PS3.
Gamespot UK journalist Guy Cocker revealed the tactic in a Twitter post on Wednesday that said: “call from Eidos–if you’re planning on reviewing Tomb Raider Underworld at less than an 8.0, we need you to hold your review till Monday.”
Said a Barrington Harvey rep on the phone this afternoon: “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.”
British site Eurogamer has already gone live with a 7/10 score, an act the rep said had caused “problems”.
OXM UK has also posted a 7.0 score.
The news is unlikely to go down well. Eidos’s efforts at controlling review scores are still fresh in the mind: it was a row over Gamespot’s 6/10 review of Kane & Lynch that cost popular US journalist Jeff Gerstmann his job.
Tomb Raider: Underworld’s Metacritic average stands at 78 percent.