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 »

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”.

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?

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)

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 »

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.

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.

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 :[

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!

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.

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?

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.

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.

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