June 5, 2008

Kojima Productions Responds to MGS4 Review Restrictions

Kotaku just received word from Kojima Productions' Assistant Producer Ryan Payton on a number of subjects dealing with the reviews of Metal Gear Solid 4. As you may (or may not) know, there has been a few major complaints about the restrictions Konami and Kojima Productions imposed on those reviewing the game. Electronic Gaming Monthly even went as far as to not publish a review of the game based on said restrictions. The basic complaints were that reviewers could not discuss things such as loading times, install times, cutscene length, number of environments, intro movie, etc.

Brian Ashcraft of Kotaku received a reply back from Payton in a letter detailing that many restrictions are now void, and the topics may be discussed in reviews. In the letter he discusses concerns on install times by stating that there is one eight minute install time prior to playing, as well as a few short installs between acts. Also he mentions that reviewers can comment on the length of cutscenes, just not which cutscenes are of which length as to not ruin the experience. Finally he revokes the ban on discussing length of cutscenes and install times, but keeps the ban on discussing the intro movie and number of environments as to not spoil any details to gamers. He also mentions that Kojima Productions would still like to keep the product placement discussions quiet based on contractual obligations.

It seems that Kojima Prod. is just trying to keep the mystery in Metal Gear Solid 4 for the gamers. The letter from Payton is now available after the jump.

Hey Brian,

Believe it or not, I've been so busy working on a special surprise for MGS4 buyers (that not even those who have leaked copies of the game can spoil! Haha!), that I haven't had time to catch up on most of the pre-launch excitement.

Scanning the net today, I came across that 90-minute cutscene rumor, and a red-faced Adam Sessler, who was obviously very upset about the restrictions placed on MGS4 reviews.

Adam asks at the end of his Soapbox clip if he was rambling. On the contrary, I think he voiced some really important concerns about the restrictions placed on MGS4 reviewers.

In light of this, I took a look at the list of restrictions and found that some items are outdated and require more explanation.

We asked reviewers to avoid the following topics:

-Install times
-Length of cutscenes (the ending in particular)
-Number of environments
-Opening "movie"
-Product placement
-(Plus a half dozen story-specific items)

The game requires an eight minute install, as well as a number of two to three-minute installs between acts.

As for the cutscenes, reviewers are more than happy to comment on whether they're too long or short. We simply want reviewers to refrain from describing which scenes are long, thus spoiling some of the experience because players will know what to expect when a scene is unfolding.

I want to make it clear that, from today, reviewers are welcome to discuss the length of the cutscenes and install times, but we ask that they not get too specific about the cinematic times and what happens in later install sequences...

But as for the next three items, we are still asking reviewers to avoid these topics. We want the opening to be a huge surprise for gamers, and knowing how many environments there are in the game, obviously, is a spoiler. These restrictions will remain in place.

Finally, we've asked reviewers to not write about some of the product placement because of some contractual agreements we have with third parties.

I hope this helps clear up some of the controversy.

As a former writer, I'm proud of the discussion this topic has sparked. I hope Adam, Patrick Klepek, and everybody else who covered this issue continue to be diligent about restrictions placed on media outlets. (That's honestly why I'm such a fan of Kotaku — it keeps publishers on their toes.)

I do, however, hope gamers can appreciate the efforts we go through to keep them protected from reviewers that could spoil some of the MGS4 experience.


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