Rumor: Reviewers Can't Talk About MGS4 Cutscenes, Install?

Illustration for article titled Rumor: Reviewers Can't Talk About MGS4 Cutscenes, Install?

Reviewers often have restrictions about what they can and can't talk about in reviews - in my experience, these have been restricted to plot details, which have an embargo date a little bit later than the general review does. But MTV Multiplayer's Stephen Totilo has apparently heard from some gaming media sources who said that when it comes to Metal Gear Solid 4, particular details are off-limits.

I've been told by two gaming media sources who asked to remain anonymous that Konami representatives had been asking print reviewers to keep some technical details out of their reviews, namely the length of the game's cut-scenes and the size of the game's installation on the PlayStation 3.

Such details wouldn't have been plot spoilers, but perhaps the publisher was concerned that they would be viewed as negatives?

Konami representatives declined to comment to me about any of this, as did editors of a few major video game magazines.


So, no one wants to talk about it - but, as Totilo points out, here at Kotaku we've already seen box shots that suggest a 4.6 GB install for the game, and information suggesting the game has at least some rather lengthy cutscenes, possibly even 90-minute ones. Both bits of information seem to have spread like a virus all over the internet already, so if this is true, what would be the big hush on Konami's part?

My theory, for whatever it's worth, is the big I-word: Investors. These folks buy stock based on how they think a publisher's major releases will perform. Largely, these guys aren't gamers, but analysts (who do tend to play some games) offer them a basic checklist of positive and negative traits based on market sentiment.

An investor sees popular words like "sandbox," "open world," or "player choice," and can guess a game will perform well. An investor who sees words like "90-minute cutscenes," "large install" or other issues has been taught that these are things we, the game consumers, tend to get up in arms about, to the point where we leave 500 comments on a post about 90-minute cutscenes. And thus, the investor loses confidence in the title's financial forecast. Of course it's not that simple, but those who deal in finance would prefer to believe there is a fixed "formula" for success.

And my guess - just a guess, mind you - is that publishers are not particularly worried about Wall Street types reading Kotaku on a daily basis, but instead hope that when investors or analysts do a quick Metacritic scan, they don't see anything that could be construed as a red flag.

Or it could just be the LaLiLuLeLo. Dunno.

Sources: Konami Asked ‘Metal Gear Solid 4′ Reviewers Not To Mention Cut Scene Length And Installation Time [MTV Multiplayer]


@Playstation: That really isn't the issue. In fact it's the fact that anyone interested in MGS 4 expects this that makes crap like this ridiculous. It's disingenuous to force reviewers to not react about something like that, and is indicative that, yet again another reason why the inside business makes a lot of reviews mostly worthless hype machines. Just because you're okay with it doesn't mean the person reviewing the games should be barred from voicing his opinion because—guess what? Other people might feel the same way.

For instance, the extensively long codec conversations and agonizing long cutscenes are a turn-off from me—they're often chintzy and break up the pacing of the game. I recognize a lot of people like them, I don't. But is the game good enough to play despite my reservations about the MGS franchise? I'd prefer a more balanced report.