Video Game Tuesday: Blacklisting

Michael Blaker
Game Industry News is running the best blog posts from people writing about the game industry. Articles here may originally appear on Michael's blog, Windborne's Story Eatery.


This week for Video Game Tuesday I’m covering an issue that frustrates me greatly. It’s about Blacklisting.

Last week Kotaku published a very interesting article that infuriated me because of the shortsightedness involved by parties concerned in the article.

The long story short is that Kotaku published leaks about games that would later become Assassin’s Creed Unity, Fallout 4 and Assassin’s Creed Syndicate. This put them on a blacklist from Bethesda and Ubisoft.  Some people, who think they are intelligent and aren’t at all close to even being as intelligent as a pile of pond scum, are waving their flags and saying that it was deserved. I say that this is bullshit. Any good journalist will piss people off and if you aren’t doing that you aren’t a journalist.  What Kotaku did was nothing new and despite being one of the biggest websites for gamers in the world, it still got blacklisted. This leads me to think that the people running the companies we love aren’t the people we respect as gamers. We respect good and clever developers and publishers for making games that bring us joy and challenges. We don’t respect them because they can’t take necessary criticism or their product got leaked before being announced without their marketing team’s approval.

Bethesda until last week and Ubisoft until last year around Thanksgiving, were respected developers and publishers whom I always looked forward to seeing what was coming in the future. I’m not going to be bothering with any further Assassin’s Creed or Fallout or Far Cry games until they whip their PR and Marketing teams into line, literally if necessary. I’ve been cheated a bit too much by Ubisoft on games with terrible game-breaking bugs and glitches causing me to be unable to complete games. Bethesda had my respect for years, but after this last week I’ve come to realize that they have stagnated and become like EA. I don’t see innovation or creativity in their games anymore. Skyrim was fun, but it wasn’t anything really new to the Elder Scrolls formula, if anything it was a regression from what Morrowind had.

So when I heard that they blacklisted Kotaku I was furious on Kotaku’s behalf as a fellow journalist and game critic. I don’t hold back on what I see as problems in a game now, I am frank, honest, and brutal to a point in my reviews. Sometimes I even get asked to tone it down, because I’m too brutally honest with my reviews.  I’ve grown a lot since last year when my first review ever was Destiny, and I’ve come to see that sometimes the little guys really do make the best things. Tales of Zestiria was the best game I’ve played all year, easily beating out Destiny: The Taken King for re-playablity and blasting it out of the water in terms of story.  The Tales of team has one person who makes their Battle System. One guy, makes it. That’s outstanding and proves to me that more isn’t necessarily better. So Bethesda and Ubisoft instead of giving us crap like Assassin’s Creed Unity which was broken for over a month and even after being fixed was the single worst game I played last year, make us a game like Tales of Zestiria. Until such a time, you have absolutely no right to offend a critic of your games by blacklisting them. You should be begging them to be your playtesters instead of shunning them.

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