By John Walker on November 30th, 2007 at 12:29 pm.
Gamespot may have fired their veteran writer, Jeff Gerstmann, over his Kane & Lynch review.
EDIT: See below the cut for more details, and the pulled Gamespot video.
Many sources have posted the rumour that Gerstmann was fired from Gamespot in response to his 6/10 review of Kane & Lynch, which coindicided with some big-budget advertising from publishers Eidos.
We have a reliable source who tells us that while Gerstmann wasn’t the most popular man with the CNET owners, it was his Kane & Lynch review alone that allegedly saw him lose his job. We’d like to stress for reasons of balance, clarity, and fear, that this may be completely wrong. Certainly neither Gamespot nor Gerstmann have said either way, while Gerstmann has confirmed to Joystiq that the firing did happen. Eidos had secured massive advertising across the site, skinning the entire front page with K&L commercials, along with running gimmick adverts allowing readers to cut their own K&L trailers. This can make a below-average review a little awkward.
While the latter advert remains, the front page skinning has disappeared, along with Gerstmann, but not his (accurate) review, which can be read here. Gerstmann, meanwhile, can probably be found staring blankly at his computer screen in bemused confusion.
The story is spreading fast, with Penny Arcade even posting a special extra cartoon about it last night. (Sadly they forgot to include a joke, but there we go).
Any gaming magazine or website is going to carry gaming advertising. And that’s always likely to lead to conflicts. Fortunately, most of the time this ends with publications acting with integrity, taking a hit in the advertising budget, and standing by their man. Who knows what happened here.
Gerstmann’s review is for some reason only applied to the 360 and PS3 versions, but we can assure you that the same applies for the PC.
Here’s the closing paragraph of Gerstmann’s review:
“Kane & Lynch: Dead Men is a premise with promise, and if you’ve been waiting patiently for a game to really dive into the whole “crew-based heist tale” concept, you might be able to look past some of the story flaws. But when you consider the nearly ridiculous number of extremely high-quality shooters available recently, there’s not much room for something like Kane & Lynch, even taking into account the somewhat unique nature of its story. That said, the multiplayer is a smart idea that’s worth seeing, even if playing it makes you wish that it was used in another, better game.”
EDIT: We are hearing rumours that what might have gotten Gerstmann in trouble was not so much his text review, but the video review now missing from Gamespot. So here it is below:
Also, the Eidos forums just happen to be shut today, presenting the message “We are currently making a change to the forums. They will be up shortly. Please check back later.” Reportedly that’s a result of them being visited by a crowd of angry internet gentlemen, though that’s unconfirmed. MORE EDIT: They’re back up now.
We’ve edited down the above post for reasons of common sense. And because, discussed amongst ourselves, we can’t see a logic for why firing him over this would ever have seemed a good idea to anyone. There must be more to it. Or indeed, it must be to do with something else. It’s an interesting muddle. Whatever’s the case, the throngs of the internet seemed to have picked a side. If CNET or Gamespot comment, perhaps it will be to explain. At this point we certainly don’t know the full story.