There have been some fairly abhorrent tactics that game developers have taken for good reviews. Batman: Arkham Asylum reviews were reportedly only allowed to be released before the game’s release date if it were a cover story and had a score of 95% or higher. Kane and Lynch famously is attributed to the firing of Jeff Gerstmann from Gamestop for his 6/10 review. Reviewers were asked to not release reviews of Tomb Raider Underworld until a certain date if had a score under 8/10.
All of those were Eidos though, who has been purchased by SquareEnix since the famous Kane and Lynch controversy, so to hear all of it came from under one roof is not so surprising. Ubisoft’s big fall game is Assassin’s Creed 2, and it’s a bit understandable that they’re worried about it’s sales during the winter season. Sales for the game are already looking better than the first, with pre-orders being higher than the original’s. What is more troubling is that their setting some shady demands for review copies.
German gaming magazine Computer Bild Spiele is reporting that Ubisoft will only give a review copy to the magazine if they can guarantee a “‘sehr gut”, or very good, review. In large this means that a review before the game’s release can only be published by their magazine if they fix the score regardless of how it plays.
This being something they reported it’s obvious that they didn’t cave to Ubisoft’s demands, but to hear Ubisoft trying this is a little surprising. I’ve no doubt this is because of the original game’s scores being polarized, but it didn’t change the game’s sales, as it sold over 8 million copies. Still, it doesn’t make the game or company that made and is publishing it too well.