In a new post that begins with "At Bethesda, we value media reviews" the publisher goes on to announce that it will no longer send out review copies of games prior to release. Instead, like with the recent release of DOOM, both press and consumers will get to play the games at the same time. Equality! So if you value media reviews like Bethesda, you'll just have to wait until after they extract value from your wallet before you can gauge any sort of critical response.
Okay, that was a bit harsh. Bethesda are free to engage with media in anyway that they see fit. And naturally with this sort of announcement, they point out that if you like to peruse a few reviews before shelling out money for a game -- you should wait. Which is a fine stance to take, but also one that feels a little strange when pre-order bonuses and limited editions are dangled in front of you for months.
Earlier this year we released DOOM. We sent review copies to arrive the day before launch, which led to speculation about the quality of the game. Since then DOOM has emerged as a critical and commercial hit, and is now one of the highest-rated shooters of the past few years.
With the upcoming launches of Skyrim Special Edition and Dishonored 2, we will continue our policy of sending media review copies one day before release. While we will continue to work with media, streamers, and YouTubers to support their coverage – both before and after release – we want everyone, including those in the media, to experience our games at the same time.
We also understand that some of you want to read reviews before you make your decision, and if that’s the case we encourage you to wait for your favorite reviewers to share their thoughts.
Perhaps the weirdest aspect of this news is that preview coverage for Bethesda titles probably won't be affected. It'll just be strange to see a bunch of hand-on stuff before a game comes out, and then no review come launch.