When the games of Bethesda Softworks were in their prime, the video game publishers decided to further restrict open criticism by announcing a new review policy back in 2016. Bethesda Softworks has since faced a lot of backlash from companies and customers alike. The Senior Vice President for Global Marketing of Bethesda Softworks, Pete Hines revealed in a recent interview the reasons which lead to Bethesda Review Policy changes.
In a discussion with VG24/7, Pete Hines commented on the formal company policy being actually changed by saying.
We put out Evil Within 2 and sent it out to press well in advance, and we did the same thing for Wolfenstein 2. Then there were other games that we sent out at launch. I think we’re going to continue to evaluate what makes the most sense.
In the case of Elder Scrolls Online, we don’t have a choice. Fallout 76 is the same way, it’s a server – the game is either up or it’s not. We will continue to figure out what makes the most sense.
As of now, the Bethesda review policy changes have not yet been announced but Hines did admit that the company is aware of the need for change:
We’re constantly iterating and reevaluating. It just didn’t make sense
The Bethesda Review Policy was getting in the good game reviews. The games that were being reviewed were doing really good with reviews but it was all inside an orchestrated box. However, the single-player games were not really trending and a good word had to be spread with a biased Bethesda Review Policy. Eventually, they got what they wanted but in the meantime, the Bethesda Review Policy was putting a question mark on the credibility of the video game company. Hines responded on this issue by saying:
We did it the first time because there was the whole thing about transparency and companies needing to be transparent. We were like, ‘Well, you want us to be transparent, this is what we’re doing’.
Then it ended up being the focal point and, honestly, we were tired of reading reviews where the first paragraph spent more time talking about our review policy than the game. So we decided we’re not going to keep drawing attention to it – we’ll send out copies and maybe people will start talking about the game instead of talking about policies. So we did
Bethesda yet again decided to release review copies ahead of pre-launch last year. Bethesda Softworks is keen on handling matters internally whether its game development or public review policy. Bethesda Softworks is quite mindful of the legalities and policies which was seen in the case where they sued Warner Bros.