You may be wondering why you haven't seen any reviews for Skyrim: Special Edition yet, including here on TechRaptor. With its release date of the 28th of October only two days away, perhaps you're eagerly awaiting a critical opinion to help you make that decision on a day-one purchase. Unfortunately, Bethesda has released a statement that confirms they will be sticking with the same review distribution policy as we saw with DOOM earlier this year; seeing media outlets receive review copies only one day before release. The statement further confirms that this will also be the case when Dishonored 2 is released next month, on the 11th of November.
In a statement released on the Bethesda official site, Global Content Lead Gary Steinman informed journalists and fans alike of their policy on the two upcoming titles, saying;
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.
The company cited the recent example of DOOM, pointing out that; while the decision to send review copies one day before launch initially fueled speculation over the game's quality, the critical reception was, in fact, positive. Steinman points out that "DOOM has emerged as a critical and commercial hit, and is now one of the highest-rated shooters of the past few years."
You might assume that a move like this would negatively affect pre-order and release date sales of the Bethesda titles. It would be natural for consumers to feel that the reduced ability to make an informed decision early means they should be more cautious about making an early purchase decision. Bethesda's statement, however, suggests they have considered this and are unconcerned. Further comments from Steinman read;
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.
Bethesda also stressed in the statement that they value critical reviews and the feedback they can give, but the fact is that a decision like this limits consumers' ability to make an informed purchase. Given the length and depth of the games Bethesda generally produce, it could potentially be weeks after release that we start to see informed and thorough reviews appear. It remains to be seen, however, whether this policy will extend beyond the releases of Skyrim: Special Edition and Dishonored 2.
How does this news affect your opinion of Bethesda as a publisher? Are you more or less likely to pre-order a Bethesda game knowing little or nothing about the quality going in? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.