In Real Life

Yes, A Games Writer Was Fired Over Review Scores

Back in 2007, GameSpot writer Jeff Gerstmann left the site under suspicious circumstances. It was heavily rumoured at the time that his departure was the result of pressure from a games publisher over a negative review.

Well, five years later, we finally have confirmation, of a sort, this indeed is what took place.

As part of a recent deal that’s seen Gerstmann’s current employer Giant Bomb purchased by CBS Interactive (who also own GameSpot, his former employer), some full disclosure was needed from both parties as to what, exactly, went down that day five years ago.

So disclose Gerstmann has, confirming with GameSpot’s Jon Davison that after a succession of challenges with management and advertisers he was “called into a room” and “terminated” because he “couldn’t be trusted” as editorial director (ie, in charge of reviews), kicking off one of the saddest and sorriest episodes in an often sad and sorry relationship between games writers and games publishers.

I mean, yes, it was five years ago, and yes, it got to the point where everyone assumed the rumour was fact anyways, but to have it officially confirmed still leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

To make things clear, Gerstmann emphasises that the blame for the whole mess did not lie with GameSpot’s editorial management (as he was fired by more senior people up the ownership chain), nor with Kane & Lynch developers IO Interactive.

Interestingly, he mentions some other less-than-savoury episodes going on at the time, such as pressure from Sony and threats of pulling ad money over a less-than-perfect review for Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. This took place before the Kane & Lynch review, and thus (along with a change to the site’s review system, which brought the average of scores down) contributed to the conflict between ownership and editorial over review scores, meaning Eidos’ game shouldn’t be blamed as the sole offender.

Giant Bomb and Comic Vine are joining the CBSi Team! [GameSpot]