In case you haven’t seen this bouncing around the Internet, here’s a quick breakdown. Apparently Warner Bros., in its marketing strategy for Middle-Earth: Shadow of Mordor, put out strict guidelines for video makes seeking pre-release PC codes for review purposes.
In no particular order YouTubers were told that:
- Maximise awareness for the game during the ‘week of vengeance’
- Persuade viewers to purchase game
- Not show bugs or glitches that may exist
- Discuss the story
- Include discussion of the Nemesis system – “this really should take up the bulk of the focus, such as how different the orcs are, how vivid their personalises are” etc.
That’s some serious control they wanted.
Here’s the strange thing though. I’ve been playing Shadow of Mordor, like a lot of people, and the post-release hype is real. It is a fantastic and polished game that adds a new and inventive twist to the Assassin’s Creed/Arkham style of open-world game.
So you’ve got to wonder why WB felt this sort of control was needed. And it sets a terrible precedent for future game releases as YouTube reviewers become larger and the go-to source for a lot of video game fans for information on new releases.
So be warned folks: Be wary of videos and reviews published BEFORE a game is released. With more and more review embargoes going out, and more and more emphasis on publishers trying to secure pre-orders, you will likely see more of these sorts of shenanigans. Perhaps getting a game on day 1 isn’t worth the headache of a purchase you might regret.
Surprising since it seems like the game is standing up well on its own. Not surprising knowing LotR’s video game track record.