We cut through the sass and snark to give you a more direct interpretation of what exactly Bethesda means to say with their latest press release.
So, a quick history lesson about Bethesda.
DOOM, as you probably know, launched earlier this year to a largely positive reaction, but – in the week prior to the game’s release – things weren’t looking so peachy. Media outlets had been told they would not be receiving a review code for DOOM until the day before it officially released, and many were quick to suggest that this was an ominous portent for the game’s prospect.
The general thesis holds that if a publisher is reluctant to offer early press access to any new release (be it a film, game or even a book), then their lack of confidence in the product can be interpreted as an indication of its poor quality. Of course, DOOM defied this trend as a game that received a ton of praise from critics, even if they were a little annoyed that they felt a little pushed for time in churning out the reviews.
So here we are today, October 25th, 2016; three days before the release of Skyrim: Special Edition and a few weeks until Dishonored 2 is set to make its debut. Bethesda has just put out an…interesting press release, to say the least, concerning the policy of providing press review copies just one day ahead of releases. It’s quite something, and there’s a decent amount of sub-text behind its wording, so I thought I would read between the lines to bring you a more direct “translation” of what Bethesda are trying to say here.
The press release is in italics, while my translation is in bold:
At Bethesda, we value media reviews.
Here at Bethesda, we really don’t enjoy having to deal with media reviews (why would we?), but we recognize that they’re here to stay.
We read them.
Our PR team is paid to read them.
We watch them.
Our PR team is paid to watch them.
We try to learn from them when they offer critique.
Seriously, we’re never putting horse armor DLC in a video game ever again.
And we understand their value to our players.
Our PR team is paid to find some snappy quotes to stick on the TV spots.
Earlier this year we released DOOM. We sent review copies to arrive the day before launch, which led to speculation about the quality of the game. Since then DOOM has emerged as a critical and commercial hit, and is now one of the highest-rated shooters of the past few years.
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Remember all that noise you made about review copies? You all look pretty stupid now, huh?
With the upcoming launches of Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2, we will continue our policy of sending media review copies one day before release. While we will continue to work with media, streamers, and YouTubers to support their coverage – both before and after release – we want everyone, including those in the media, to experience our games at the same time.
Don’t think you’re whining has changed our minds in the slightest. It worked for DOOM, and we’re damn sure it’s going to work for every one of our games too. Yes, we’re just that confident and, frankly, you can’t do a thing about it.
We also understand that some of you want to read reviews before you make your decision, and if that’s the case we encourage you to wait for your favorite reviewers to share their thoughts.
Let’s be honest, we all know you’re going to pre-order our games anyway, regardless of whether the reviews come out a day or two later than normal. Y’all say they determine your purchasing behavior but, c’mon now, we’re Bethesda; you don’t need reviews to know what we produce is objectively amazing…most of the time.
Skyrim Special Edition releases globally on October 28 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Dishonored 2 releases globally on November 11 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
Just a helpful reminder to pre-order these games now, regardless of the lack of authoritative criticism that would be able to inform you of their quality before they release.