Tuesday, December 04, 2007


EDIT: It was just pointed out ot me that gamespot and 1up are not Ziff properties. If that is the case, I stand corrected...but the logic still holds...other than the fact that the 1up guys may be just as in the dark about this whole thing as the rest of us....and at that point, makes me think that Gamespot is even LESS evil....ok...carry on :)


There’s a lot of talk on the net these days about the value, method, and integrity of professional game reviews. Heck, it’s something I’ve been thinking about as well. Just a few weeks ago, I put up an entry questioning the proliferation of 9 and 10 rated games and wondering why other mediums aren’t as quick as reviewers in the game biz to call something a masterpiece. So as a gamer and a game maker (who has gotten much love and a little ‘meh’ from game reviews in the past) it’s something that’s on my mind.

And the main thing on my mind is this: I DON’T THINK GAMESPOT IS EVIL

…at least I don’t think they fired Gerstmann because he gave Kane & Lynch a semi-poor review.

Look, Ziff is not only a company, but it’s a company in CALIFORNIA that does not want to get sued for terminating an employee without reason. In California, juries are notorious for sticking it to corporations in wrongful termination lawsuits. You don’t fire people in this state for stupid shit like, say, doing the job you paid them to do (i.e. asking a game reviewer to write a review) without expecting to end up in court. Now granted, there is the thought that- like WWF- the game reviewers at Gamespot are just putting on a show and were never hired to give actual reviews but to do whatever their editors told them (i.e. make advertisers happy) under the guise of being ‘actual game reviewers’…and then in that case, I guess you could fire someone who gives a review you don’t like, cause that is not what you hired them to do. Hell, if that was the case, maybe Gamespot ordered Gertsmann to write a glowing review but he did not and snuck in and put his review up on his own and THAT is why he got fired. In that case,while I would applaud Gertsmann, that behavior could and should get you fired. NOT that anyone has ever said that’s what went down…I’m just letting my imagination run wild at this point. ☺

I also can’t imagine Gamespot would be so naïve to assume that firing one of their most popular editors would not stir up some of the fan base. And I can’t imagine Gamespot would be so naïve to assume that firing an editor over a bad review would not hurt its reputation the way that it has. Hell, there have been times in the past that we’ve stressed over letting a junior artist go because we were worried about the morale ramifications the firing would have on the 3-4 guys who went to lunch with the dude every day. So if it’s on our radar, you have to imagine Gamespot had a damn good reason to let this guy go given that they must have known how it would look and how it would affect their reputation….right?

So to me, both of those things make it clear that Gerstmann had to have done something else that stirred up the hornet’s nest; something else to get him canned.

So yeah, I don't think Gamespot is evil. I don’t think- because of the reasons cited above- that Gertsmann was fired for writing the review he wrote. It doesn't hold water, it's not logical.

So we're done, right?

Well maybe.

See..,at the same time, there is the issue of this:

These are the guys from 1up showing up at the Gamespot offices to show support for Gertsmann and to make it clear they were not in favor of what went down. Ok, well these guys are part of the same industry AND the same company as Gertsmann…and they clearly are taking issue with something. I don’t know about you, but when people around me got fired in the past from time to time, I never liked it (cause I never want to see ANYONE lose a job) but I usually understood the reasons behind it. But here we’re got a whole gaggle of folks who seem like they should be ‘in the know’ and they are publicly saying, ‘this ain’t right.” So while my above theories about Gamespot not being evil SEEM like they are correct- at least to me- why are these 1up folks– who clearly know more of the story that I do-protesting? Anyone know if they’ve mentioned WHAT they were protesting? Did they come right out and say ‘we think Gamespot fucked up’? Cause man, if they DID say that and if they ARE in the know...then fuck. Then really just....just FUCK. Then man, Gamespot is total evil. And just scum as well. But I can't imagine it's as cut and dried as folks are making it out to be. It just can't be.

Anyway…so there’s that.

But hey, usually getting fired ends up being the best thing that happens to a person because it means it was time to move on and that they were no longer a fit with the place they worked. Getting fired is often the Universe’s way of coming along and saying: ok, you don’t have the balls to quit? No worries…I’ll help you out! And I imagine in Gertsmann’s case, this will hold true as well. So good luck Gerts...

…and good look Gamespot. If someone forced me to pick sides at this moment- going off NOTHING MORE THAN GUT REACTION- I would side with Gamespot, only because logic dictates that firing Gertsmann under the apparent circumstances would have no other result other than to make Gamespot look really bad (as it has). And that would be totally stupid.

…then again, this is the site that gave my last game a 6.7….

…so shit, maybe they are just a bunch of idiots….?

I KEED! I KEED! I honestly have NO FUCKING CLUE what went down...wish I did tho :)



lightweaponx said...

Nice rant man, I didn't know Gamespot was a part of Ziff I thought Gamespot was owned by C-net or something, unless C-net and Ziff are somehow related. Anyway man I love your blog and can't wait for Twisted Metal.

iddqd said...

I'm pretty sure 1up is a competitor of Gamespot. Maybe that explains fueling the fire ;) KIDDING

I don't think we'll ever really know what happened with this whole fiasco. I do find it a bit hard to believe, though, that Gamespot has never written a bad review on a title that also happened to support them via advertising. David made a good point that this move would obviously look bad for them, so why start firing people over such things now?

The Writing Stops Here said...

I'm with you, I agree that the management either "figured being without the man is greater than this circus" or "they got some serious pressure from above." Either way, Gamespot is the loser because they cannot speak to the former of the possibilities or it undermines their management leading to massive "restructuring," or the latter where they cannot admit to such and lose their entire credibility as a company. Sadly, we probably won't ever know.

Anonymous said...

If GS didn't fire jeff because of the review then how come the Kane & Lynch review is gone?!

Anonymous said...

Didn't you say you'd be posting video/pics of your new game last week?

Milkman said...

Your right with most of the time with company's watching their own ass so they don't get sued, but there was money involved here also with ads and a review...and honestly corporate america only gives a fuck about money and not about the people that work for them...If eidos pays them $10,000 for ads and throws in they want a review of a 9 or higher...Then this guy goes out and gives them a 7. There going to can his ass plain and simple because now eidos might never come back and hand them that money again for ads and a decent review so they lose more money...and in business and you should know Jaffe it's all about the bottem line....

Tom said...

Yeah, Gamespot is CNET and 1Up is Ziff.

This sort of pressure happens all the time though. I read somewhere recently about a UK games site which lost advertising, interviews and more from Ubisoft when they had the temerity to rate Assassin's Creed a 7 instead of an 8. OK, so that's hearsay but I reckon it's true.

Frankly, the games publishers have too much control over the sites that do the most to market their games. It has been like that for years and I find it difficult to believe that anything's going to change.

Mark Ebisch said...

Gamespot posted a response today but it really doesn't give any reason besides "legal constraints and company policy". And while your logic is sound, I'm sure they should have at least made something up considering the massive backlash this has caused. What with the cancelation of subscriptions. Also the tags for their response show how people feel.

MartiniMan said...

Fuck it. Fire 'em all. The whole review process needs an overhaul anyway.

Anonymous said...

Dave...IGN has the port of TMHO as a June 15 release date. Previously you had mentioned Jan. or Feb. for a release.

Why such a huge delay?

FanofURS said...

Yeah it's been an pretty intense month for game reviewers. Gabe had a rant over at PA directing is comments towards 1up, and then IGN got involved, but i am pretty sure you already know about that. I really stopped believing in reviews when Gamespot gave Legend of Zelda:TP an 8.9. Gamespot is keeping tight-lipped about the whole thing.

da criminal said...

No delay- we are spring...maybe even Feb...that June date is wrong.

resident UA said...
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Anonymous said...

Dave are you guys keeping online play for the tmho port? In your announcement you didnt mention it. I'm rly looking forward to online play since i wasnt around for tmbo GG world of warcraft gonna quit it soon though its only fun like 20% of the time and a grindfest the other 80%.

resident UA said...

I do see the point of this article, but the fact that you confused CNET with Ziff makes it kinda weak :( I do think that people jumped to quick conclusions though. But at the same time it is pretty obvious that the review had something to do with all of this (why would those unnamed sources lie?). Plus people would have problem with the fact that Jeff was fired regardless of reasoning behind it! Gamespot filed to handle the situation properly. They should of announced Jeff's "departure" ahead of the rumor that came out. The fact that Jeff no longer works at gamespot after 11 years is somewhat shocking to the visitors of their website and Gamespot failed to realize that. I believe that actual reason behind all of this is the conflict within the gamspot that probably had something to do with that review...

P.S. According to my Employment Law class Employer can fire an Employee for any reason aside from descrimination. Unless Jeff was in the Union or CNET is a government institution his employment was considered "AT WILL." They can fire him for wearing a red shirt to work.

resident UA said...


NO FEAR said...

I too think the system needs an overhaul. The situation is indeed messed up.

GS wouldn't fire G. ubruptly without good reason because doing so would make them look bad, and they know this...yet they fired him anyway, edited his article and pulled his video review. Seems sorta that's exactly what they did now isn't it.

By the sounds of it(or lack there of) it seems Cnet leagal was also involved putting the snufu on any comments, so I would assume any law suit of wrong doing was taken care of during the exit interview. I'm sure some sort of financial agreement was leveraged.

Is gamestop Evil, no they are just seeking the greatest revenues possable with the business they are in.

Its just like movie reviews, I take them all with a grain of salt. I only watch them for the content of so I can form my own opinion.

What really troubles me is the selective reporting of issues, not reported in some of these AAA review titles. Like an online multiplayer game with no voice chat and no mention of this little fact that online gamers seek as a valued componant.

Sure looks like some of these AAA are already decided on when they come through the door while other quality product are trashed.

I'm still errked about my GH3 controller not working with ROCK BAND.

Let's face some bitter reality. Proffesionl reviewers are there to sell games, which generate advertizing space for revenue. They are a non direct part of the hype machine and a games marketing blitz.

GS did in fact react to the loss of a lot of revenue. It's pretty hard to say to the boss' Hey this company with this weeks $7000 banner is pulling it.

Is every review a flat out pre-scripted, totaly corupted lie. Absolutly not. Some reviewers are quite good at noting the high points to a AAA title.

What the industry first needs are better games without massive glitches and bugs so these reviewers under pressur have an easier time selling the game.

When I see a game like Warhawk, COD4 Drakes Fortue, see first hand how well they play, every thing works with very little program related hiccups. Then I compare them to other games that got higher reviews on some sites and they have massive frame rate issues, hitching, graphic tear so bad it rips your eyes out, I can't help but wounder if they even played them.

Thay also need to follow a set of similar standars, some do, but not all. I want to know some technical stuff like if it runs in 1080p @60 fps. If it has multiplayer with voice chat.

Then get into aspects of the game play with out the reviwer making lame comments, spell out the facts of what the game is trying to achieve and if it did so for you. bring to note any probles and issues. And finaly how long will it take to finish.

This will not happen with the industry as it is now, because this type of factual reporting does not help the EA's and Ubisoft's sell porly developed crappy ported games.

brain dump over.

fuzzysquash said...


Your logic is sound, and at first I wasn't convinced by the rumors either.

But read this post from a gamespot editor and you will see how corrupt the institution has become:


Joel said...

so i'm just going to skip over your whole post and say that i saw the TRAILER for your game!

looks fuckin' WICKED!

also.. the screenshots look pretty sweet too, i like how they were uploaded on Flikr, so i could check them out at any resolution i liked.


i wonder if this game is going to have any of the un-modified original twisted metal 1&2 levels.. it would look shitty with the terrible textures, but some of those levels had a better feel to them than the head-on "modified" counterparts.. which was a bit of a shame, in my opinion.

Jyri Jokinen said...

N'Gai Croal wrote yet another brilliant blog entry on the subject: http://blog.newsweek.com/blogs/levelup/archive/2007/12/05/reflections-on-videogame-publisher-and-employer-contempt-towards-the-enthusiast-press.aspx

Basically, publishers generally give the finger to enthusiast press, which blows, but can't really be helped.

I don't know if this changes my opinion on the credibility of Gamespot on the whole. Lately they have been giving suspiciously bloated marks to all those Xbox 360 exclusives, while more or less bashing PS3 exclusives. This probably has nothing to do with Microsoft owning a stake in the company...

gary Z said...

this s really sad to know tat a honest game reviewer kicked out or its just controversy creates cash....now even freedom of speech doesn`t remain a freedom any more...

ThatGuy said...

Gamespot isn't the best place to look up reviews. Some of the greatest games I've ever played got crappy reviews and scores on there. Hell, I think what the gamer thinks of the game is more important than a review.

On the subject of TMHO for PS2, I saw the trailer on 1up today and it looks awesome! As for the delay...WHY DAVE! WHY!

Anonymous said...

boring controversy, boring topic.

this whole thing is playing out like like guffman. a bunch of non-important people making a huge deal over something that in the end is only impotant to them.

Phish said...

Its a rough time for video game reviews, exclusives and ads have started to determine the outcome of reviews. From listening to the group of 1up.com podcasts i have learned a lot. I suggest people listen to them if they don't already, they do a lot of talking about how gaming mags get exclusives. Those podcasts have really helped me feel "in the know" about video game reviewing the GFW is amazing, as is 1upyours and just the whole network in general.

gary Z said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Random Excess said...

I think another part of the problem seems to come from the audience these days, judging by forum posts and such - if a highly anticipated game doesn't get the high score readers *expect* it to get, these sites get bombarded with emails and forum posts saying how their reviews are biased and they have no integrity, etc etc.

People seem more willing than ever to buy into the ridiculous hype that gets generated around games, and if the reality falls short, it somehow falls on the reviewers to take the blame - a situation which I'm sure publishers love - especially if one dares to stand out from the crowd and tell it like it is. (The 'infamous' Twilight Princess review springs to mind - that game was waaaaaaaaaay over-scored, with the glaringly bad Wii controls completely glossed over by pretty much everyone. Yet the one guy to call shenanigans on it gets ripped a new one by the entire fucking industry! Yes it was a good game, but 10/10? no fucking way.)

Fear over losing subscribers over this kind of 'scandal' has got to be a serious issue for major gaming sites, which can only mean that at some point, integrity is going to get kicked out the nearest window.

The game review industry as a whole is pretty fucked these days. Its become a highly competitive market in itself, arguably as competitive as the games they review - its inevitable that the need to 'entertain' readers is becoming more important than the need to inform them...

OwningFanboys said...

wow! Every one of you in the comment section must be mentally retarded.... hmm I wondered why?

YoungZer0 said...

Puh, found your blog a few days ago and was quite interested about your opinion to the whole thing.

Well, here are my thoughts, it's a different perspective to the whole thing.

After the whole conspiracy bullshit went down 2 things really suffered from it: IO Interactive and Kane & Lynch. First let me say that i'm a huge Fan IOI and Kane & Lynch. I love Michael Mann (Heat, Collateral, Insider) flicks and the

Hitman series. So then i saw the first saw the trailer to K&L i was blown away. Completely blown away. This was it, this was a Michael Mann film as a game.

I was so convinced about the game that i even got myself a tattoo on my wrist. I always wanted to pay my tribute to the people at IOI so it was either the hitman barcode or the logo of the7 which Kane has on his wrist. So yeah, i

picked the logo and got it done. My first tattoo. I sended IOI an email with a picture of it and recevied no answer. A few weeks later Keir from Eidos contacted me and invited me to join the K&L launch event.

So i went there. This was something i never did before. It was in denmark. Not far aways from me since i live in germany. Later that day i met Jens Peter Kurup the director of the game. I always thought that game directors such as

you, are way too busy to waste their time with a fanboy such as myself. So then he entered the room the first thing Keir did was to show him my tattoo and JPK hugged me. Later that day i had the chance to sit down and talk to

him for like 2 or 3 hours. All i can say is: He is Jesus in person. Such a nice, nice person.

I played the game the first time that day and yeah, it has it flaws, it's not perfect, but i still love it. It has such a huge coolness factor. And damn, before that game i always thought that Kratos was THE anti-hero, but i gotta tell you,

Kane is not even an anti-hero. He's a villian. The game managed something i never experienced before. I dislike Kane, especially his flawed decisions but somehow i still care about him. I don't know if you have played the game, and

you seem to be kinda busy right now, but ... yeah, play it, it's a fun ride.

Anyway i joined the K&L Inside community and then the whole Gerstmann-Gate bullshit happend. Rumors spread around the internet. Rumors became facts. You have no idea how many hate-spammer we recieved, how many

people spread hatered over the internet, not about gamespot, cnet or eidos, but about Kane & Lynch. There is even a website where a few retard kids burn and destory their Kane & Lynch copies. I emailed them because i thought

that it was fucking stupid, i was very kind. Of course it had to do with Gamespot and Gerstmann. I still have no idea why in the hell they burned their K&L copies which mommy bought them, since they never answered my second

email. That's kind of like the whole thing that happend at the olympics 2008. Athletes who wield the olympic torch got attacked by people who where pissed about chinas politics. Athlets are working their asses off to win the gold

medal. They are not politics. They are not against or with china, they just want to do their thing, so why attack them.

And this is my point. This is the different perspective i was talking about, it's perspective many people ignore. In the end the people who get hurt by something like that are the people behind K&L. Eidos doesn't give a shit. K&L sold

over one million copies so they are happy. Gamespot doesn't give a shit. Why should they. Sure their reputation is hurt but that's all. That's something that can heal over time. K&L does not deserve all this hatred since it has

nothing to do with the game itself.

I have no idea if you even care anymore since the topic is so old, but for me it never will be. This is something that really pisses me off for a very long time.

It's unfair.

Anonymous said...