EGM won't Review MGS4 because Konami Imposed Limitations
To recap: Konami are imposing restrictions on what publications can and cannot talk about when reviewing Metal Gear Solid 4. No mention of 90-minute cutscenes please, and while you're at it, no talky-talky about install sizes either, K? IGN are cool with that. EGM, refreshingly, are not.
Due to "limitations Konami wanted to impose on our comments", the editorial team decided to refrain from giving the game a score, and in lieu of a "review" posted a lengthy roundtable discussion about the game instead. It's hardly a gloved fist on an Olympic dias, but it is nice seeing somebody do something about such an... unsavoury practice.
Reviewers often have restrictions about what they can and can't talk about in reviews - in my experience, these have been restricted to plot details, which have an embargo date a little bit later than the general review does. But MTV Multiplayer's Stephen Totilo has apparently heard from some gaming media sources who said that when it comes to Metal Gear Solid 4, particular details are off-limits.
I've been told by two gaming media sources who asked to remain anonymous that Konami representatives had been asking print reviewers to keep some technical details out of their reviews, namely the length of the game's cut-scenes and the size of the game's installation on the PlayStation 3.
Such details wouldn't have been plot spoilers, but perhaps the publisher was concerned that they would be viewed as negatives?
Konami representatives declined to comment to me about any of this, as did editors of a few major video game magazines.
So, no one wants to talk about it - but, as Totilo points out, here at Kotaku we've already seen box shots that suggest a 4.6 GB install for the game, and information suggesting the game has at least some rather lengthy cutscenes, possibly even 90-minute ones. Both bits of information seem to have spread like a virus all over the Internet already, so if this is true, what would be the big hush on Konami's part?
My theory, for whatever it's worth, is the big I-word: Investors. These folks buy stock based on how they think a publisher's major releases will perform. Largely, these guys aren't gamers, but analysts (who do tend to play some games) offer them a basic checklist of positive and negative traits based on market sentiment.
An investor sees popular words like "sandbox," "open world," or "player choice," and can guess a game will perform well. An investor who sees words like "90-minute cutscenes," "large install" or other issues has been taught that these are things we, the game consumers, tend to get up in arms about, to the point where we leave 500 comments on a post about 90-minute cutscenes.
And thus, the investor loses confidence in the title's financial forecast. Of course it's not that simple, but those who deal in finance would prefer to believe there is a fixed "formula" for success.
And my guess - just a guess, mind you - is that publishers are not particularly worried about Wall Street types reading Kotaku on a daily basis, but instead hope that when investors or analysts do a quick Metacritic scan, they don't see anything that could be construed as a red flag.
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I've pre-ordered MGS4, but after reading this, I'm not even sure I want to own the game anymore. I hate arrogance, especially from Konami's point of view. They are obviously looking to maximize sales on day of release and now I bet this game will come under all sorts of critisism after its gone on sale.
Wasn't the whole "90 Minute Cutscene" BS debunked like six hours after it was posted?
It's reaping 10/10 reviews everywhere. They're not arrogant, they would just prefer that reviewers focus on the actual game, not the mechanics behind weather it needs a HDD install or not. Most people don't care about things like that, so Konami are just trying to nudge wayward sensationalist reviewers back onto the path of.. you know.. credibility?
I believe EGM stated that they didn't review MGS4 because of that, not that they won't. You'll prolly see the MGS4 review in the next issue.
Otherwise, it makes sense for both sides.
I personally think that HDD installs are almost always worth it. HDD's read times are much faster than optical media ever will be, they extend the life of your BD drive, and it reduces power usage and heat. You can buy a 120GB+ 2.5" SATA drive for around $60 if you really run out of space. I do think it's a wee bit stupid that Konami put restrictions like this on reviews, but Alys makes a very good point. Reviewers might get too caught up on minor problems that would hurt the sales of a great game for no good reason.
Yes some reviewers focus so much in things like that and make belive its a really bad point, when it really has many benefits, i think Konami its right, itīs not like they are telling them to review it with high scores or something like that.
Kind of silly when you consider that Shane Bettenhausen went to Konami and was one of the first game journalists to beat the game. He said he wasn't going to review it because he played it so early, but c'mon. If you go to 1up.com or listen to their podcasts, you already have a pretty damn clear idea of what the review was going to say, from the concerns about beta online play to the actual single-player game itself. .
I would have thought thats a reviewers perogative if they want to point out the minor problems. I, as a consumer would like to hear what they are, if there is any, or if what a tiny problem might be for the reviewer could be a big hassle for someone else. e.g. Someone having a 40gb ps3 and knowing that after you install this game, over 10% of your space is wiped out in one game.
And also, you say "Wiped Out" as if you can never reclaim that space.. seems kinda short sighted of you, really XD
Of course the space can be re-claimed, thats another quote/reply to something that is just not there. However, you make it sound like its not a problem to do. Have you ever sat through having to install DMC4 ? To keep the re-playability, especially with a game like mass effect, you dont want to sit through having to reinstall 4.6GB whenever you feel like claiming your 10% space back.
This could turn into an interesting debate, but please, reply to what I have written.