Earlier this week, Eurogamer panned Darkfall with a 2/10 review. Needless to say, it's created a storm of controversy. The final word on the subject has come from Tasos Flambouras saying, "We'll just take it on the chin."
Dealing with this Eurogamer scandal has been extremely frustrating for us. To those of you that believe we're unprofessional for calling Eurogamer out on this, we'll have you know that there's nothing professional about this entire affair. It's obviously personal when someone will tear our game apart without actually playing it. It's certainly personal for us to see our livelihood being torn to shreds by a fraud using a respected large game site to do it through. We tried to deal with this privately but Eurogamer wouldn't hear it, so we had no recourse but to go public.
We would never accuse Eurogamer , Ed Zitron or anyone without solid evidence. We know for a fact that we've been wronged. Eurogamer is right to keep it up as they're seeing some good traffic from this, but in the meanwhile we're taking irreparable damage and there's simply nothing we can do about it. We are in an impossible situation, with many future possible repercussions to our game and we're helpless to react. The Eurogamer smear piece is picked up by online media everywhere and this will stay with us long after this issue is forgotten. Gamerankings and Metacritic for example have already used this Eurogamer score of Darkfall, and unless this review comes down, a new review won't be taken into consideration. Metacritic informed us earlier today that they sympathize but they can't do anything unless the review comes down.
So we considered Eurogamer's offer to have Kieron Gillen re-review our game on their behalf but in the meanwhile they will not take down the original review. We have to decline the offer for a re-review (as if we have a choice) for the following reasons:
- We don't need a re-review, we need a real review. We know for a fact that the original review is a fraud and yet Eurogamer stands by it. They should keep standing by it then or take it down based on the evidence *we have offered them, the numerous factual errors and omissions, the feedback they're receiving on it, the reviewer's questionable track record, former similar accusations about him, and our word. These half baked measures to save face mean nothing while this assassination piece stands. We've offered enough proof to justify taking it down to protect our game and their credibility. If they as much as suspect that we might be right, and we believe they know we are, they should have taken it down pending a re-review.
- The evidence: The reviewer's supervisor and MMO Editor for Eurogamer spent 2 minutes in the character creator but didn't create a character. Ed Zitron spent 2 hours 33 minutes logged in the game and the character creator. In this time the reviewer tried 9 different characters. Much of the time was spent creating and deleting these characters. 14 minutes before the reviewer stopped playing Darkfall altogether he said in global chat: "how do I cast spells.....help". During his entire time in the game he repeatedly asks: "what do I do?" in public chat. After less than an hour logged in the game he speaks in race chat and says "this game is awful" His entire chat log shows someone biased that spent very little time in game, didn't understand even the very basics right before he stopped playing to write his review. We offered to pay to fly one of Eurogamer's IT people over here and cover all his expenses so he can also inspect all our logs, verify our claims, and see that they are practically impossible to doctor. Eurogamer refused.
- I spoke with Kieron and I believe he is capable of doing an excellent job at reviewing Darkfall, so much so that it's completely unfair for him, and for us, that he does mop-up duty after the original fraudulent review. We hope he'll review Darkfall for another respectable publication sometime and we don't want to blow it on this one. If they wanted Kieron Gillen they should have let him write the original review instead of tossing Darkfall to some random and unsupervised amateur. They got what they paid for but why should we have to suffer for it?
- It's not helpful to us, this is not some grand gesture on Eurogamer's part and it doesn't do us justice. Eurogamer is running the re-review for their own sake, again at our expense. We're not going to sit here looking at their bogus review while we wait for their next verdict in about a month. We won't play that game. It's pointless. If Kieron gives us a good review, a bad one, or an average one, the perception will be that he's simply mopping up. Eurogamer will not take down the original review even if the new one overturns it.
- The MMO Editor for Eurogamer should have checked up on the review when Darkfall received a 2/10. When your site instructs the public to avoid someone's livelihood at all costs, and calls their playerbase morons, you should at least make sure you're not pulling these things out of your ass. We gave them 2 accounts for this reason and the MMO Editor chose to not use his. We pleaded with him to give us some time to discuss this, but he turned us down and sited Ed Zitron's supposed impeccable track record. This about a guy who at best was happy to take Eurogamer's money and spend a couple of hours using troll posts as reference to write a review on our game. We're not the first developer to accuse Ed Zitron. He seems to have done this kind of thing before on several occasions and mostly against independent games. It's not often that you see these kinds of accusations, but Ed seems to have collected a few of them. So much for his impeccable record. Eurogamer also knows this but chooses to ignore it. They're forced to take his word over our proof and his prior track record because they've got nothing else to go on.
- It's a conflict of interest any way you want to look at it. Eurogamer is paying another writer according to Eurogamer's editor to "...see whether he agrees with Ed or not". Ed is a fraud, there's nothing to agree with here as far as we're concerned.
So if it's all the same to Eurogamer we'll just take it on the chin and stick with the original review. We don't need their concessions. If they can live with this, so can we. 2/10 from the likes of Ed Zitron is going to be a badge of honor for us. They can keep that fraud up as our memorial contribution to journalistic integrity and to independent games everywhere. At the very least they may think twice before they try doing this to someone else.
We hope these can be our final thoughts on this topic.
Head to the links above to read the whole story and the sh*t storm that's accompanied it.