There’s been a bit of a hullabaloo over Eidos UK trying to massage the perception of its new Tomb Raider game. From the blandly named Video Gaming 24/7: > 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.
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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.”
Most can agree that this sort of tactical behavior borders on the unethical, or at least on the devious, but on the other hand, let’s look at who this really affects.
There are people who will sample a game before purchasing it, either at a store, through a demo, through a friend who already purchased it, etc. These people will not be influenced by the average rating at Metacritic, even without some of the questionable reviews included in the overall scores.
There are also people who will buy any Tomb Raider game released, perhaps because they are a fan of the series, or simply because they want a new adventure game. Like the nobs that went to see the Max Payne movie in theaters, they are influenced by factors other than taste or quality, so a poor rating would not shake their interest in the property.
Finally, we have morons. Morons are stupid people that would spend fifty American dollars on a fucking video game because it got some good reviews by a bunch of prats that spend valuable hours of their short lives reviewing Tomb Raider.
If morons get screwed over by this, don’t come to me looking for tears. There shan’t be any shed for those shits.