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!

nicethugbert
Guest
nicethugbert

Maybe they don’t bother with shit lists? Maybe they only have a list of ass kissers? You don’t want to be on that.

eddieoctane
Guest
eddieoctane

For what it’s worth, nearly no one who tried to get the Vanguard edition of the game are getting what they paid for, let alone a free copy to review. I think EA just fails miserably at this point (along with Amazon).

Reckless Ted
Guest
Reckless Ted

Is there some way you can blame your lack of review copies on Chip?

Patrick Murphy
Guest
Patrick Murphy

Aww, you were the critic who’s opinion I most valued when it came to World of Final Fantasy. Really hyped for that game, figured our tastes were somewhat similar on the JRPG front. Still, if you don’t have time, I get it.

Rakka
Guest
Rakka

I don’t know what sort of reputation you have with games like World of Final Fantasy.
Why are you an obvious pick for Dragon Quest Heroes?

Billy Bissette
Guest
Billy Bissette
Jim is a fan of Koei’s various Warriors games, and has given them much closer to proper reviews than many sites have ever cared to do. (I still remember Gamespot’s particular low point with Samurai Warriors 3, where when the reviewer was caught writing about the wrong game, Gamespot simply silently changed the mistakes and deleted the entire user comments section.) Jim is also I believe a fan of Dragon Quest. Dragon Quest Heroes is a Dragon Quest game made by the dev studio responsible for Koei’s various Warriors games, which is just far enough from the general Warriors formula… Read more »
Xyra
Guest
Xyra

I don’t even understand EA’s decision to release Titanfall 2 in the same week span as Battlefield 1. Doesn’t that cannibalize most of their own playerbase? Different settings and scales, sure, but BF1 is the game with all the hype. The obsession with the holiday retail window has a real possibility of drowning this game out. Same with Infinite Warfare, unless COD’s franchise legs are no longer carrying them along. It’s a shame, considering TF2 apparently fixed most of what was wrong in the first game and the beta.

diamond
Guest
diamond

Not really, there’s a lot of people like myself who don’t give a fuck about Battlefield 1.

Eduardo Pigatto
Guest
Eduardo Pigatto

I don’t give a fuck about BF1 either. I gave it a 5.5/10.

Colin
Guest
Colin

For what it’s worth, I thought this post came across with *at least* as much professionalism and courtesy as the subject deserved.

Joe Joeson
Guest
Joe Joeson

I don’t really care when a game releases, if you like it I may consider checking it out. Tear blacklisted games to shreds Jim. The companies failing to provide for reviewers (who serve their consumers) deserve nothing less than to be financially held accountable for their lack of communication.

diamond
Guest
diamond

No that would be dishonest and unfair to the game devs.

Rachel McVeigh
Guest
Rachel McVeigh
Doesn’t seem like it’s a coincidence that your issues are with the same PR company. It seems to me like the PR company has decided to blacklist you, not the Publishers and they can’t tell you because they would probably get into some trouble over it. As for World of Final Fantasy, it is a pity you won’t be reviewing it. I’d love to read your opinion on it, partially since it is an Anniversary game for a very long running series. I was very impressed by the demo. As I said below: Traditional Final Fantasy Dungeons, ATB battles, the… Read more »
Trofimos Psyxiatreiou
Guest
You have our support Jim. You are among the few non-corrupt critics in the industry, and that says a lot. Don’t think for a second we don’t recognize this. In fact, to tell you the truth, i didn’t care much for your reviews while you were at Destructoid. I noticed them as some were controversial, but that was about it. I never particularly liked the escapist either. It was only after you became independed, that i became a fan and follow up on your site on a regular basis. And i can appreaciate the honesty, you can really feel when… Read more »