According to a report from Australian FOX affiliate news.au, an editor with Zoo Weekly has been fired after making an email from Rockstar public.
The report says that the developers were demanding more “favorable coverage” from the writer.
The former deputy entertainment editor for the magazine, Toby McCasker, said that Rockstar were not very pleased with his coverage on Red Dead Redemption, and sent an email to the magazine stating such.
McCasker then posted the email on his Facebook page (which was removed), which supposedly said:
This is the biggest game we’ve done since GTA IV, and is already receiving Game of the Year 2010 nominations from specialists all around the world.
Can you please ensure Toby’s article reflects this – he needs to respect the huge achievement he’s writing about here.
McCasker was then dismissed from his position, and while an exact reason was not given, it is reasonable that posting the internal email could have been enough to warrant the sacking.
“I did not sign up to become a journalist to write advertorials masquerading as editorial,” McCasker told News.com.au. “This ‘cash for comment’ culture that is fast becoming the status quo within print media bothers me a lot.”
Rockstar Australia has so far refused to comment on the allegations and Zoo’s editor, Paul Merrill, could not comment to news.au on the specific reason for McCasker’s firing but he did issue Kotaku the following statement:
“I would like to make it clear that at no time has Rockstar EVER sought a preferential review in return for advertising. In fact no games company has ever suggested this. And Zoo would never give a positive review to a game we didn’t rate in return for ad dollars.
Toby McCasker was sacked for a number of reasons, one of which was his decision to post a private email on his Facebook page. This email was not referring to a game review. He should not be considered a credible source of information on this matter”.
So there ya go.
Red Dead Redemption is out in May.