Not too long ago, I wrote a review of the game Natural Selection 2 for popular gaming website GameSpot . That review was not particularly negative, but the score was, by games industry standards, low. A 6/10. The review did contain two factual inaccuracies: I mistakenly stated that the price of the game was $30 (it is actually $25) and I omitted to mention that the game has playable servers designated for new players while criticizing the game for being too tough on new players. These mistakes certainly had no place in the review and were rightly criticized by the game’s developers and the community of gamers and GameSpot readers. The review was thereafter pulled from the website, and replaced by another reviewer’s considerably more positive take.
A lot of the hue and cry regarding my Natural Selection 2 review and its fallout has made me out to have tried, unjustly, to take a whack at a game created by a small, hard-working team that deserved better. That, I can assure you, makes me feel awful. At the end of the day, I failed in my duty to write something free of errors, and Natural Selection 2, it goes without saying, deserves better than that. To the development team, especially in light of Metacritic’s refusal to alter the score, I can only ask for your forgiveness.
But I cannot accept the charges that I acted out of some malign intent. I continue to believe that I gave Natural Selection 2 a fair assessment. I did not have it out for an indie developer, nor did I have any ulterior motive whatsoever when I made the mistakes I made. I gave the game the same treatment I would give any game, regardless of who made it or how hard its team worked. That it is an independent team of seven people was and is utterly irrelevant to me. That they worked hard on the game is irrelevant. The only thing that matters — the only thing that ought to matter for any genuine critic — is how the game stands on its own terms. Absent the two factual inaccuracies, I stand by my review.
However, I recognize that damage has been done to this game’s reputation that, while outside my control, is terribly unfortunate. I would remedy the situation if I could. If my writing to Metacritic would get the score changed, I would do it, despite my belief in the fundamental accuracy of the review. But I have been assured it won’t. The process of savaging reviews is a commonplace occurrence in our industry, and I’ve certainly had my share of that — sometimes justifiably. This is, unfortunately, one of those times, and I apologize to everybody for dropping the ball.