With the news about reviews of Watch_Dogs being under embargo until the 27th, which is the day on which the game will launch, the discussion about review embargos has reared its head, with many wondering if certain publishers aren’t just trying to avoid pre-order cancellations on games that risk poor reviews.
Naughty Dog Community Strategist Arne Meyer gave some insight on NeoGAF on the reason why publishers choose to embargo the reviews of their games.
There’s a lot of different reasons we would embargo anything to any particular date. Sometimes it’s about confidence (or lack thereof), sometimes there’s a ton of less nefarious factors.
Meyer also explained the reason why The Last of Us: Left Behind had a review embargo on its release date, and it’s much simpler (and less nefarious) than many would think:
Left Behind was chosen to be a release date embargo for spoilers.
Meyer also explained that it’s basically impossible to review Left Behind without including a degree of spoilers, and it’s hard to disagree there.
Ultimately, it’s hard not to see both sides of the issue here. There indeed are a lot of valid reasons to embargo a review to whatever date, but it’s also easy to understand why gamers would feel a bit uneasy about their preorder of a game that won’t get any review until it’s out. Ultimately, we have to use the old dear common sense and decide with our own head what to buy at launch and what to leave on the shelves at least for a few days.