Why I Don’t Have A Titanfall 2 Review

[Update: I’ve learned more about the situation, and that 47 Communications does not apparently have a grudge. Read more here.]

Titanfall 2 reviews went up today, but not on The Jimquisition, where I’m still currently working on the Battlefield 1 review.

This is because as far as Electronic Arts and Eastern-developed Square Enix games go, I’ve been unable to reliably obtain review codes for well over a year now. The problem has only worsened in recent months, to the point where I’ve practically given up planning to ever get a review for an EA or Japanese Square Enix game published at embargo date.

Exact reasons for this remain a mystery to me. At first I would have assumed Electronic Arts or Square Enix blacklisted me – given my often unflattering coverage of either company, it wouldn’t be a surprise – but lately I’ve begun to believe that the PR company handling their games, FortySeven Communications, might be the problem.

01

I can obtain Western Square Enix games without issue since they go through a different PR company altogether. Amusingly, it’s the Western Square Enix I’ve criticized more than its Japanese counterpart, but that didn’t stop me receiving Deus Ex: Mankind Divided with enough time to give it my full attention and publish a timely review.

However, when it comes to Dragon Quest BuildersWorld of Final Fantasy, or even something you’d think I’d be an obvious pick for, such as Dragon Quest Heroes, I’ve only ever received the same canned response – usually an initial email saying I’m “on a list” but copies are “limited” followed by an apologetic email days later saying there weren’t enough to go around.

Okay, on it’s own, that’s not too big of a deal. Despite my audience being significantly larger now than it was when I worked for any past media publication, I know that PR companies don’t always respect independent critics – especially those who work primarily on YouTube – and often get confused over whether such people are “reviewers” or “influencers” with whatever weird PR restrictions apply to either.

However, after going through the same process several times over, with the same boilerplate responses each time, I had to ask if this would simply be the status quo from now on, and if it would be easier for everybody if I stopped pursuing copies through FortySeven. I flat-out asked the PR firm if there was a problem.

No answer.

This started to happen with Electronic Arts games, also largely represented by FortySeven Communications. Usually, those individuals I know who handle EA games are more responsive and helpful, but lately the exact same process had begun to occur. After getting another “no copies” response for Battlefield 1, I asked again if something was up, if there was some reason this happens every time, and if I should simply not ask in future.

No answer.

As of Titanfall 2, I’m not even getting the boilerplate shit anymore. After receiving an email with the usual “on the list, copies are limited” script, I look today and see Titanfall 2 reviews are live without FortySeven having ever followed up with me. It would appear I do not even merit the runaround procedure anymore.

02

I should make it clear that if I’m blacklisted or greylisted or whatever, I’m perfectly fine with that.

I have money, and while it’d be nice to be able to give these games much more time and attention during the review process, I’ve proven able to make it work. I no longer write for media where it’s particularly important to hit an embargo date – my content will be read and watched by a significant audience regardless – it’s simply a nice bonus if I can get it.

Given my reputation, my critical standards, and my often vicious coverage of certain publishers, I wouldn’t be surprised by any given company wanting nothing to do with me. That much I can understand and even sort-of respect.

But I have absolutely no respect for ignorance.

Say what you will about Konami, but at least their reps had the nerve to actually tell me what the situation was.

The idea of being blacklisted – either by Square Enix or Electronic Arts – wasn’t an issue to me. It was not being told anything when I very politely asked for some clarity on multiple occasions. I would like to believe that, regardless of anybody’s opinion of me, I’ve worked hard in games criticism for ten years now and deserve at least a tiny modicum of courtesy.

I’m not even asking for review copies – I’m asking for a reason, a confirmation that I’m wasting my very valuable time in attempting to communicate with FortySeven “Communications.”

I’ve had certain little communities mock me before over review copies not coming my way. I still remember gloating cries of “How’s that independence working out for you?” when I first mentioned difficulties in receiving Square Enix games. The answer to that question remains what it was back then – it’s working out very flippin’ well, actually.

Whether I buy copies or not, I have the budget to continue my work. A more reliable schedule would be nice, but I’m not beholden to any company and if they wish not to deal with me, I won’t lose a damn thing.

But I’d at least like companies to give me the opposite of what I am – the straight skinny.

Do you get it? Because I’m not straight and I’m also FUCKING FAT.

03

Obviously, I’m a one-man band over here for the most part, and there are only so many hours in a day. We are at a point where, from a sheer time standpoint, I am going to have to think very seriously about the games and developers that deserve my attention.

For example, as great as World of Final Fantasy looks, and as much as I’d love to look into it, there’s just too much else happening for me to prioritize in it any fashion.

I get a lot of requests for opinions on a lot of games. I try and provide coverage for everything my audience wants covered. This will continue, but there are going to be instances where I have to say “fuck it” and admit that I just don’t have time to buy and play everything at launch.

Much of what I’ve written here has been, out of necessity, based in speculation. When one asks for clear answers but is not given them, speculation is the only thing left. I also completely realize that publishing this will not only look unprofessional, but really effing whiny as well. Being professional and polite, however, has not paid off – and I was incredibly patient up to this point.

So that’s what is up with Titanfall 2 anyway, and any future EA or Square Enix game if the trend of the past 12+ months continues. The more you know!

Drake Warnock
Guest
Drake Warnock

Part of me is happy they are giving you the runaround, because that meant you wrote this article and because of that you came up with that straight skinny joke, which was fantastic.

Most of me just wishes the companies would be honest with you, though.

Terriosaurus Hex
Guest
Terriosaurus Hex
You’re probably dodging a sickly bullet with that World of Final Fantasy game, i gave the demo a go just out of morbid curiosity and it was like all the terrible of the genre squeezed and compressed down into cynically, clinical attempts at “cutifying” utterly cardboard characters like that of an alien who studied human tastes but couldn’t grasp the subtleties but tried to manipulate maternal instincts for their own nefarious needs with the data nonetheless. Yes, the heads and eyes are all large with teeny weeny bodies, but no expressions, desires or actions that can be considered relatable or… Read more »
InfamousDS
Guest
InfamousDS
My opinion is almost literally the exact opposite of yours. I preordered the UCE as soon as Square made it available, and cancelled my standard preorder from E3 to compensate for the fact I was getting the best version of the hard copy. But I’ve been following the game for realsies, so the sound bites they picked were, to me, out of context. In the full game, at least as far as the shown cutscenes in demo reels, the VA is much better. I knew it was a more elaborate Pokemon from the start, and stacking (as well as the… Read more »
Terriosaurus Hex
Guest
Terriosaurus Hex

Perhaps the game is a fan service to something i do not contain, it did feel that way. Like a knowing wink to something my childhood did not have. Kingdom hearts games were fun and charming though. 😉

InfamousDS
Guest
InfamousDS

It’s an anniversary title and a cliff notes history lesson on the series. Everything else is icing on the awesome cake.

Terriosaurus Hex
Guest
Terriosaurus Hex

Ahhh, it makes a lot of sense now. Well i did at least try! Am missing an important part of the soul required for it though :/

Rachel McVeigh
Guest
Rachel McVeigh
wow, it is really interested to hear this opinion cos I for one am super into World of Final Fantasy. Traditional Final Fantasy Dungeons, ATB battles, the Pokemon like monster collecting, meeting my favourite characters & everything thing is so adorable! Adorable Sephiroth is the reason I’m getting the Day One Edition. I also found the battle system far deeper and more complex than I was expecting. I had watched Playstation Access play it a few times & Holly had said there was a lot to it but I didn’t really believe her until I played the demo. The creatures… Read more »
InfamousDS
Guest
InfamousDS

Ironically, Fenrir’s “Lunge” stack skill is the best move for breaking stacks if you don’t catch Ifreeta. It’s how I was able to get Cockatrice and her within 5 fights, since “Wild Horn” takes multiple turns and hurts pretty badly.

I am psyched to see what else is in store.

Rachel McVeigh
Guest
Rachel McVeigh

I know, I laughed as soon as I realised how much better Lunge was to Wild Horn.

I didn’t manage to catch Ifeeta, I got Cockatrice & then had lots of failed attempts before she rebounded and my attacks killed her.

I was thinking to giving it another go, but I don’t want to grind too much on the demo with the game coming out so soon.

InfamousDS
Guest
InfamousDS

Ifreeta learns “Throw”, which is a “too little, too late” skill in the demo unless you get her before Fenrir. It has the same effect, but its downside is low Accuracy.

When I caught her, I completely ignored her aside from the stack damage. Between summoning and focused fire, I was able to prevent a restack and could take my time with her. It does stink that you only have a limited number of chances to catch monsters though.

Rachel McVeigh
Guest
Rachel McVeigh

yeah the limited chances is annoying & I’m wondering if that was just in the demo, because it would be very annoying to miss a boss Mirage like Ifreeta because you ran out of chances, unless they appear again.
I’m also wondering about the prisms, they just appeared in the demo, but I assume you’ll have to buy them but they seem to be Mirage specific.

InfamousDS
Guest
InfamousDS
Looking through the skill trees and based on the game-play videos of Nether Nebula (I believe Polygon did it, and PS Access as well), the first is free and infinite until consumed but the others have to be earned (presumably also infinite until consumed). Boss monsters are “too strong” to be imprismed until you the-beat them and destroy their shields, but Tama outright suggests they don’t just the-disappear when you win and you can try again the-later to catch them. I had a typo and ran with it, sue me. I noticed several “Tier 1” pets had Prism Unlocks on… Read more »
Rachel McVeigh
Guest
Rachel McVeigh

I saw the PS Access video, but you never know with these early demos what might have changed so I wasn’t sure. I hope you’re right & the bosses don’t just disappear.

I can’t play yet, I’m in Ireland so Friday is my unlock date!

Have fun though!

InfamousDS
Guest
InfamousDS

Game Informer showed some post-game non-story content (uploaded about 12 hours ago and I found it just now). The Prisms are still in the skill trees. They didn’t fight any “new” monsters though, so the first-time bonus is still unclear.

InfamousDS
Guest
InfamousDS
Update! Prisms are free the first go, whenever the creature gets added to the games Bestiary. This counts evolutions, though I dunno if it works on things you’ve personally evolved. It also counts uncatchable boss monsters, which is all of them thus far. I also tried a fair bit on a common monster and kept failing without catching (i did eventually), but the tutorial explicitly stated Prismtunity was a limited time effect and to take advantage while it lasted. Combined with the “once per fight” caveat on some Prismtunities, I can only assume they want you to try multiple times.… Read more »
Rachel McVeigh
Guest
Rachel McVeigh

That is all good news. Thanks!

Terriosaurus Hex
Guest
Terriosaurus Hex
Well, I felt obligated to voice some dissentry in case there are other dissenters out there who may feel outnumbered, hehe! 😉 I dunno, without any past connection to the characters or games, it just looked like they took only a couple of base lessons on what is commonly considered cute, then based the entire surface aesthetic on that without adding anything else to justify it. The characters all have this you’re-supposed-to-know- and-love-them-already vibe, which i do currently not know or love any (as far as i’m aware, though the bump on my head may have a secret or two).… Read more »
Milestone_RP
Guest
Milestone_RP

…there’s a Titanfall 2? BWAHAHAHAHAHA.
Other than that, I would LOVE to see the list of “reviewers” who are getting prioritized for getting review copies of things over Jim Fucking Sterling Son.
My money’s on a bunch of face-camming, nasally-screaming, obnoxious YouTube trash types whose target audience involves the word “per-pubescent”.

Artemiy
Guest
Artemiy

It’s probably Polygon with their fizzy water and politics on the Philippines.

Ohbaaskah
Guest
Ohbaaskah

Just how do digital copies run out? You could generate a 1000 codes and just dump the ones that werent given out. Does a review copy count as a sale?

Janio
Guest
Janio

The distrubuter or maker of game probably sets a limit/goal on how many the hired in PR firm may give away. Also its start like looking like reviewers should start preordering game or buy origin like subscription services.

HelixShade
Guest
HelixShade

Actually, that’s a good question. Can you actually run out of something that’s Digital? It’s not like they’re sending Reviewers Physical Boxes or Collectors Editions…

…Right?

The Jünger Ludendorf
Guest
The Jünger Ludendorf

There are ways you can run out, but if you can service millions of customers, and your product is good enough to release to critics, you probably shouldn’t be lacking in copies unless someone puts a hard cap on them.

InfamousDS
Guest
InfamousDS

The only take away I got from this was no “World of Final Fantasy” review.
.
.
.
I WAS LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT PUN, DAMMIT. Fine, we’ll do it ourselves! I’ll start!

No-ke’mon (low-scored review)
Poke’mon Oh… (average review)
Brave New World (high-score review, its shit but I can’t think of anything)

Cameron Deavin
Guest
Cameron Deavin

Or how about ‘this one just doesn’t stack up’

Mike Wallace
Guest
Mike Wallace
Jim, have you considered that they are afraid to tell you about the blacklist. Consider how Konami–once a turgid cock of the Third Party Publishing walk–has become a shriveled raisinette keeping itself semi-erect on a diet of consumer contempt and sheer denial. The fall was internal, but the exposure was largely thanks to your ongoing rivalry. #fuckonami, Fuckonami News, most people these days hear more about Konami through your satirical jabs than they do from Konami itself, and its every action has become hinged against your inevitable reaction. So if I had to guess, I would say that companies like… Read more »
MJC
Guest
MJC

Sounds like it has nothing to do with EA and Square Enix and everything to do with these “FortySeven Communications” shitheads, though.

Aristatide
Guest
Aristatide

I don’t know. Jim’s made an impression, no pun intended, but for my money the moment Konami wrestled the blunderbuss away from the guards to point it at their own foot and fire was Super Bunnyhop. It was a magnificent example of Streisand Effect, and one of the most “…I literally cannot believe you just did that, I’m actually double-checking to make sure this actually happened, oh my god” moments I’ve seen in Online Gaming Journalizm.

Cameron Ward
Guest
Cameron Ward

Plus, last time i checked, the last time a PR made it known that they didn’t like reviewers giving negative reviews, they got fired and called out for it…

goodbyejojo
Guest
goodbyejojo

dont worry darling, i think i can speak for the most of us, when i say that we dont really give a flying rats ass about titanfall 2, nor do we plan to buy it anyway, so no loss here darling.

tekhedd
Guest
tekhedd

Truth is, I’ve only even heard of the Titanfall 2 release because of, well, its mention as not being reviewed on Jimquisition. 🙂

I think they don’t want to reveal anything about their process, as blacklisting may be considered unethical, and even responding with a “no comment” looks bad.

Logan Graham
Guest
Logan Graham

I’m going to try my hand at reviewing games at a college web paper, so I tried to get a World of FF code, and I haven’t gotten even a reply.

Geraint Rees
Guest
Geraint Rees

Been working on my own review blog for a year and a half and I have a fair amount of readers it’s very rare that I get a review copy at all from Triple A publishers. Indie devs are a lot more receptive and respond a lot faster and more reliable.All a pr company wants to do is get your email address so they can get paid to email shitty announcements every other day.

Stephen Mc Devitt
Guest
Stephen Mc Devitt

Is it safe to assume you’ll be buying Final Fantasy XV yourself, whether or not Square-Enix sends you a code? A late-opinion is better than nothing.

Jeremy Comans
Guest
Jeremy Comans

I guess you’ve used up your allotment of 47 communications with them?

Sned
Guest
Sned

Mistake: In the first paragraph, you mention that western SE doesn’t give you review codes.

MaxisLithium
Guest
MaxisLithium

I’m wondering when these AAA companies will just decide they don’t need reviews, or publicity, or anything. they just charge your steam account when the thing comes out and give the money back to those who complain after the fact.

MJC
Guest
MJC

It’s Valve, so probably Soon. Which luckily for us is a long time out.

Cameron Ward
Guest
Cameron Ward

for a PR company, they aren’t doing a good job at, you know, communicating….

Chip Self
Guest
Chip Self

So…Paper Mario: Color Splash review then? Pretty please?

I asked you and Laura in an email to AskPodquisition, but Laura ignored it :[

Jim Sterling
Guest

Nintendo is a different kettle of fish. They kept saying there wasn’t a problem, and they’ve even been apologetic before, but they keep losing all record of me and I waste so much time chasing them around I just gave up in the end.

Now I won’t bother with Nintendo games unless they’re significantly big ones.

Chip Self
Guest
Chip Self

Aww 🙁

Well thanks for letting me know either way. I do appreciate it!

Wheresmymonkey
Guest
Wheresmymonkey

I’ve been playing it for review if you’re interested. It’s OK. It’s better than sticker star (just) but not as good as Super Paper Mario and Thousand Year Door.

It has some fun moments, there’s the occasional fun gag, but the combat is labourious and has an annoying card system like Sticker star where all your attacks and actions are single use which makes it feel like a constant uphill struggle.

If you’re a fan of the series i would say give it a punt if you can find it on the cheap.

Wheresmymonkey
Guest
Wheresmymonkey

Have you thought of hiring some other people to help out. Or are you worried that if you do The Jimquistion will basically turn into the kind of site that you didn’t want to work on anymore?

Ozzie Arcane
Guest

I think you made a mistake in the 2nd paragraph when you said western developed Square Enix games because then you went on to say you had trouble getting Japanese Square Enix games and you had no trouble getting Deus Ex.

Victor Luna Coronado
Guest
Victor Luna Coronado

Au contraire, you’re too straight for them Jim. They can’t take criticism at face value.
They know it doesn’t sell well and would rather promote hype for their insipid products. Keep it up and best wishes from Mexico!

Jeddostotle7
Guest
Jeddostotle7

You do know by Jim mentioning he wasn’t straight, he meant sexual orientation?

Victor Luna Coronado
Guest
Victor Luna Coronado

But of course I do! It was just a play on words, my friend.

Jeddostotle7
Guest
Jeddostotle7

Ah, my apologies.

Thanos'sGalactusCorpseShip
Guest

It might sound weird but I have never came to this site looking for a specific review, I kind of just consume whatever you put out simply because I like your writing style and I tend to agree with your viewpoints on games, media etc. As a patron I am honestly curious as to whether or not other patrons have some kind of expectation for what you review and when you review it.

Sky Spider Girl
Guest
Sky Spider Girl

Patreon is for the Jimquisition, not necessarily the reviews

MJC
Guest
MJC

Patreon is for the reviews. It clearly states on his Patreon page that he is creating The Jimquisition Video Series, Jimquisition Videogame Reviews & Editorials, and The Jimquisition Podcast.

It’s stuff like Squirty Plays/Jimpressions, Nitpick Theatre, Best of Steam Greenlight, and other random YouTube stuff that’s not part of the Patreon (which is why he still runs ads on those).

Sky Spider Girl
Guest
Sky Spider Girl

He doesn’t run ads on Jimquisition

The Jünger Ludendorf
Guest
The Jünger Ludendorf

Thats what MJC said.

Michael_C
Guest
Michael_C

I too am just supporting the nebulous idea of whatever Jim wants to do. I’ve been a fan of Jim’s for a long damn time (early Destructoid days), love listening to him on podcasts, and am increasingly appreciative of the few games writers willing to come out and talk at length about how most games corporations are monstrosities with no regard for consumers (and often their own employees) who are doing more harm than good inside a grievously flawed industry.

tom
Guest
tom
How many more reasons do greedy and contemptuous publishes give us for not buying their game as a day 1 perch. I almost never buy day one, or the first month. From broken or under developed games that will get patched sometime in the future. Or how about late reviews as a safety-net for bad or average reviews hoping that impatient gamers will buy their game not knowing the early reviews. And now we have a concerted effort against the independence of critics like Jim, knowing that the likes of Jim can’t be bought, influenced, or be brought into the… Read more »
Kyle Prahl - PSU Senior Editor
Guest
Kyle Prahl - PSU Senior Editor

I’ve had similar problems with FortySeven, especially in recent months and years.

Jordan Richards
Guest
Jordan Richards

I’ll be honest. I didn’t even know Titanfall 2 was coming out so soon. It just kind of snuck up on me, so to hear about you not getting a review copy, I’m just surprised in general about coming out. Was there any advertising for this game outside of Mountain Dew?

Ghost Rasp
Guest

I admit I also didn’t think it was coming out soon – but on the flip side I wasn’t ven remotely interested in the game.

The Jünger Ludendorf
Guest
The Jünger Ludendorf

Honestly, I keep forgetting titanfall even exists. The only people i’ve heard talking about is reviewers talking about upcoming releases. Nobody else seems to really care.

Turi
Guest
Turi

I mean, if i was this PR firm, i would tell you that you are blacklisted just to free up the time i am wasting. They giving no answer it the unprofessional thing.

Jim Sterling
Guest

Right? I figured I could at least save us *all* the time by getting a clarification and moving on, but nope.

tom
Guest
tom

But it’s a PR firm. Admitting Blacklisting the likes of Jim for zero legitimate reason is bad PR.

galactix100
Guest
galactix100

So is dicking around. They’ve already fucked it so my guess is they’re just ignoring it.

tom
Guest
tom

Its not even on the same level. Any PR firm knows it’s not and that’s why the prefer distraction or false excuses like Jim experience above

The Jünger Ludendorf
Guest
The Jünger Ludendorf

If they ignore it, they can benefit from the potential doubt.
If they admit they straight-up blacklist critcs, thats a serious potential PR problem.

So they do the usual of “batten down the hatches and wait until everyone gets bored and leaves”.

Giorgos Katsas
Guest
Giorgos Katsas

It’s okay Jimbo, we can wait 😀 I liked your first TF review and I will be sure to read this one as well.

Charlie
Guest

The PR Catch-22: It’s bad PR to give review copies to Jim for him to savage like a fresh packet of pogs, but it’s bad PR to tell Jim he’s been blacklisted and have him get the word out that you blacklist critics who aren’t nice to your little gamey wameys. WHAT DO?!

You appear to have short circuited their little marketing brains, the poor dears.

MJC
Guest
MJC
It’s also bad PR to both not give review copies to Jim and not tell Jim he’s been blacklisted. No matter what, they lose. As they damn well should, the twats. Although honestly, it’s good PR to give review copies. Yeah, Jim might hate the game and savage it. Or he might like the game and give it a really good review. Or he might hate it and you get a review like the still hilarious Sonic Boom review. It’s also worth noting that even if it is a bad review, that’s still not a complete loss. If people use… Read more »
sagelobu
Guest
sagelobu

no, noooo! You’re someone using reviews correctly! How dare you!

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