Bethesda shelves review policy, will provide early code when it can



Bethesda has confirmed it’s performed a backflip on a 2016 review policy that meant outlets would receive review code no earlier than a day before a game’s launch.

“With the upcoming launches of Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2, we will continue our policy of sending media review copies one day before release,” Bethesda’s Gary Steinman advised at the time.

“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.”

Speaking with VG24/7 at QuakeCon, Bethesda’s Pete Hines admits the policy was flawed.

“We did it the first time because there was the whole thing about transparency and companies needing to be transparent,” Hines said Bethesda’s 2016 decision. “We were like, ‘Well, you want us to be transparent, this is what we’re doing’.

“Then it ended up being the focal point and, honestly, we were tired of reading reviews where the first paragraph spent more time talking about our review policy than the game. So we decided we’re not going to keep drawing attention to it – we’ll send out copies and maybe people will start talking about the game instead of talking about policies. So we did.”

Hines said titles like Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus and The Evil Within 2 are evidence that Bethesda’s already ditched the 2016 policy, but pointed out the publisher won’t always be able to provide outlets like Stevivor with early access to review games; always-online titles like Fallout 76 and The Elder Scrolls Online can’t be sent out early.

“We don’t have a choice [with those games],” Hines said. “It’s a server – the game is either up or it’s not. We will continue to figure out what makes the most sense.”