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!

TURBOLATOR
Guest
TURBOLATOR

Well fuck ’em. And thank God for Jim fucking Sterling Son.

adampoole
Guest
adampoole

i saw fuck ’em… they don’t wanna give you a response of any kind, then focus your attention on more important things.. like fuckkonami news, pogs, and boglins…

Steven Wells
Guest
Steven Wells

I think a lot of us here will read the reviews after a game has launched for a while because:
1: most of us dont pre order
2: most of us wait till a game has the glitches ironed out 1st.

The Jünger Ludendorf
Guest
The Jünger Ludendorf

Also, I bet a lot of people look at most games and go “that looks kind of interesting, I should check that out some day when it’s on sale/released!” and promptly forget they ever existed.

So when a review pops up, people get interested again and read it to see if the game is any good.

DeadlyYellow
Guest
DeadlyYellow

I’m happy with this site’s content when it comes. There’s always Twitter for the interim. I don’t really give heavy merit to anyone’s review but my own, though I like hearing thoughts from preferred sources and seeing the shitstorm that follows.

Dave Dogge
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Dave Dogge

When you become a living God on this pathetic planet Jim, those who deny you review codes now tremble at your mighty presence.

svnhddbst
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svnhddbst

@Jimquisition:disqus what are you thoughts on doing summarized reviews for the games that you enjoyed but don’t have the time for full reviews on?

svnhddbst
Guest
svnhddbst

on further thought; you could sell them as “jim’s shorts”, a multilayered pun that just writes itself.

RifleAvenger Sashiro
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RifleAvenger Sashiro

Can’t tell if “World of Final Fantasy” is a jab at FF14 or an actual game.

Davorbasic
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Davorbasic

It’s the 30th anniversary of the series game.

zeeby
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zeeby

I hope you keep on them until you get an answer.

Chürz
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Chürz

You’ve been blacklisted because companies talk to each other and Konami must have ratted you out

J-P
Guest
J-P

Nah. Who has time for titanfall 2? Battlefield 1 is bloody good and scratches that shooter itch, then dark souls 3 dlc is out today, and batman episode 3 is tomorrow.

Chapomon
Guest
Chapomon

You could always put this games on a backlist for dry spells of releases. Though considering your penchant of reviewing smaller games, that may not work for you. What I’ve been trying to do on my YouTube channel (and admittedly, failing at keeping up with) is briefly described my overall thoughts unscripted over just trailer footage to limit editing time. It may be a quicker way to deliver your thoughts on a game in a limited time. Though I know your passion lays with the written word and honestly, I think your fans can wait for your written reviews.

Chris
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Chris

Hey Jim. Can I assume an Odin Sphere review will never happen? A shame but I have an idea at your schedule and I’m sure you barely have time to wank, let alone finish a game released… 3 months ago i think? Since that review will never come… what did you think of what little you played?

Richard Cadman
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Richard Cadman

I presume you can’t ask EA directly? Cos that’s kinda why these companies exist in the first place?

MJC
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MJC

I just realized that Titanfall 2 is so screwed because every time I see someone mention “TF2” my brain immediately fills that in as “Team Fortress 2”. Even in the comments of this article about no Titanfall 2 review today, I still think of Team Fortress 2 instead. Great job making Titanfall 2 stick in the mind, EA. I want to buy hats more than I want to buy your mech shooter.

shatnersbassoon
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shatnersbassoon

Another PC Port Disaster incoming is my bet, it stinks on PC and they know it.

Steve
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Steve

Silly on the their part. I’m on the fence about TF2, and a positive Jim Fucking Sterling Son review would have been more than enough to sway me into picking it up on launch day. As it is, I can wait. I can’t imagine I’m the only one in this boat.

iorek byrnison
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iorek byrnison

how can you be on the fence about team fortress 2? it’s great!

…oops

aimei66
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aimei66

I think the lucky thing for Jim is he has the kind of following that will read his review months after it came out. I like to read them to hear his take on a game and see if he had the same highs and lows as I did.

Also I personally think a review doesn’t have to be written quickly, it needs to be written correctly.

Chris
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Chris

Have you ever read gone back and read a review from way back AFTER you played the game? I did that for both Undertale and Bloodborne. It’s fun!

aimei66
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aimei66

Yeah I do it a lot. Especially when I really liked or hated a game.

Muddy Scarecrow
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Muddy Scarecrow

That was my exact thought process for his review of Rhythm Heaven Megamix. I didn’t care that it came out two months or so after the game released. I was just happy to get his opinion on it

Alice Ruppert
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Alice Ruppert

“I get a lot of requests for opinions on a lot of games. I try and provide coverage for everything my audience wants covered.”

On that note: Do you ever play/review stuff merely because the developers ask nicely? Asking for a friend.

I lied, I’m asking for myself.

Andreas Langberg
Guest
Andreas Langberg
I obviously can’t pretend to answer for Jim, but I know Totalbiscuit does that if the emails are well done, to the point, and the games are actual games and not something cobbled togheter in unity over a weekend. Jim of course does play those bad games, but usually to ridicule them for ever reaching a spot on Steam. So I would assume if the game is an actual game worth playing, Jim might be persuaded to try it if you send him a copy. Again tho, just want to clarify: I in no way speak for him or can… Read more »
GenGaoGaiGar
Guest
GenGaoGaiGar

I believe this was sort of answered on Podquisition. If I recall correctly, it’s a ‘maybe’. And if you do send him a game, but don’t see a review or jimpressions or whatever, don’t contact him about it further if he did not respond to you first. They shared mutual annoyance when a dev for some game neither of them felt like doing for review kept pestering them with emails.

Alice Ruppert
Guest
Alice Ruppert

I kind of figured I’d wait and hope for the moment when suddenly Jim goes like “You know what my life is lacking? A multiplayer party game collection for 8 people that can be played for free!” and then I’ll be like “Fret not, Jim, for I hath a solution”.

Anyway, thanks for the reply.

TaboriHK
Guest

This stinks of “no one on the receiving end has the authority to give a real answer so they’re hoping you will stop asking” to me.

Anton
Guest
Anton

Ahh, the good ol’ “If we ignore it, maybe the problem will go away” solution. Fixes everything, I swear.

As for the timing of the review, I doubt that most of your fans care that you have a review in time for release.

The Jünger Ludendorf
Guest
The Jünger Ludendorf

Well, it ususally does end up “fixing” the problem of negative attention. If they just ignore it, people will eventually run out of things to complain about, get bored and stop.

BeerDone
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BeerDone

That is horrible behaviour on the PR department’s part. Shame on them!

I’m eagerly awaiting yours and many others’ reviews on this. Titanfall was an incredible experience, and I am very, VERY worried about the sequel. I have to read up on it before making up my mind.

Alayen Eisenfell
Guest

Wear it like a badge of honor.
Marketeers tremble in their boots before The Cleaner!

Lucas Nicastro
Guest
Lucas Nicastro

You’ve got fans from all over the world, just keep up with what you’re doing, you’ll be sure to have a strong and loyal fan base that consumes your content regardless of when you’ve published. As your reader, sure’d be nice to have reviews in advance, just to see if the game’s worth my while or not. So I’m hoping they hear you out. But if not, their loss.

ImaLemming
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ImaLemming

“This is because as far as Electronic Arts and western-developed Square Enix games go, I’ve been unable to reliably obtain review codes for well over a year now.”

“I can obtain Western Square Enix games without issue since they go through a different PR company altogether.”

Did you mean “eastern-developed” in the first sentence?

Benj
Guest
Benj

The biggest problem with getting a Titanfall 2 review out late is that you’ll be the only person playing a week after launch.

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