Electronic Arts is under a lot of pressure, like a lot. They have so much riding on the release of Battlefield 3 and we're not talking sales numbers. We know Call of Duty will beat Battlefield 3's sales. We're talking about perception and the laying of the foundation for years to come.
EA hyped up Medal of Honor up big time as a legit contender against the reigning king of the genre, Call of Duty. It didn't live up to that hype, not at all. The same goes for Battlefield: Bad Company 2 which was an excellent multiplayer shooter, but it didn't hit the big numbers. For BF3, a game which EA and DICE claim is better and offers more than Call of Duty, it needs to deliver a higher quality experience and there's fear that the critical response may not show this to be the case.
Battlefield 3 may be the best looking shooter ever, at least on the PC, but graphics is below gameplay on the importance scale. Since the Battlefield 3 beta brought in a lot of negative buzz along with a lot of players (check out the impressive Battlefield 3 beta stats), EA and DICE are in damage control mode, listing errors and planned fixes for launch and promising that the beta issues will be rectified in the retail version when it hits next week.
So, what EA needs is for Battlefield 3 to earn better critical acclaim than Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, a game criticized by some for using an older engine and keeping too similar to its predecessors. After all, more time was spent on BF3, it has better tech behind it with the Frostbite 2 engine, and Infinity Ward lost a lot of staff since Modern Warfare 2 came out and they're being helped by another developer.
That's understandable. What isn't is how they may be trying to achieve this goal.
PC Gamer reports that EA Norway may have been very selective in review units of Battlefield 3 and that they've implemented a survey to help them decide. Outlets including Press Fire/Dagbladet, Gamer.no, and Gamereactor all received the following questionnaire from EA which asked for a lot more than just their contact info:
- Did the reviewer personally review BFBC2 or Black Ops?
- What score did he give it?
- What is his past experience with Battlefield?
- Is he a fan of Battlefield?
- Is he a fan of Call of Duty?
- Has he been playing BF Franchise? BFBC2? 1943? BF2?
- Has he expressed enthusiasm or concern for BF3? What are they?
- Did he play the beta? Did he enjoy it / get frustrated with it?
- What is his present view on the game?
I especially love the question about the reviewer's "present view" - what if they weren't impressed by the beta? What's more absurd than this questionnaire is EA Norway's explanation to Press Fire:
“It is a human error that was sent out. We have made a mistake and we apologize. It is not something that should have happened earlier or [that] we intend to continue.”
There are very clear intentions as to why this questionnaire was sent out - it wasn't a copy and paste error - and I'm curious if it was just one person doing this on their own (definitely not) or if it was directed down from above in that office. Anyway, this unethical crap keeps popping up in the industry but we're happy to say that here at Game Rant, we've never had EA or any other publisher send us any sort of questionnaire like this or make any demands in reviews of their titles.
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Source: PC Gamer