In a new blog post, Bethesda announces that review copies for its upcoming games won't be sent to media outlets until the day before release.

"At Bethesda, we value media reviews," the post begins, before going on to say that the company is now fully committed to a policy that it began with this year's Doom, when it did not send out review copies to the media until the day before release. At the time, Bethesda justified the delay by citing Doom's online components as the reason for the decision. "All three elements are important parts of the complete DOOM experience and are meant to be experienced as part of a complete package," the publisher told us. "As DOOM's SnapMap and multiplayer modes both require access to a server that won't be live prior to launch, review copies will arrive on launch day."

However, Bethesda now says it will continue applying the policy to the upcoming releases of Dishonored 2 and Skyrim Special Edition - both single-player only games. Bethesda says the reason is behind the decision is that "we want everyone, including those in the media, to experience our games at the same time."

Bethesda goes on to acknowledge that some gamers rely on reviews to help make their purchasing decisions, stating "...if that's the case we encourage you to wait for your favorite reviewers to share their thoughts."

[Source: Bethesda]

 

Our Take
Bethesda is presenting this decision as if it's for the benefit of everyone involved, but only one party stands to gain from it. It's not the critics, who will face more pressure to rush through the game and get their reviews online. It's not consumers, who will have less information about a game's quality or potential problems on launch day (and will have to try and decipher which reviews cut corners in order to be the first online). Only Bethesda stands to benefit, by gaining more control over what players see and hear about a game before it's out on store shelves and selling copies. We at Game Informer often delay our reviews to present the most thorough assessment possible. We hope you're willing to wait for that consideration.