Paradox sticks up for IGN’s Stellaris review and critical freedom

Publisher Paradox Interactive has urged fans to stop lambasting IGN for what some feel is an unfair review of Stellaris.

The space strategy title, which is off to an incredibly strong start, has a Metacritic rating of 78 per cent. IGN awarded the title a 6.3/10, saying that sections later in the game turned into a largely uneventful slog”.

Some fans took exception to the verdict, but now Paradox has urged them to calm down and show respect to the site’s verdict.

We very rarely (if at all) comment on individual reviews. We feel that we should be involved only up to the point of showing/providing our game to reviewers and then allowing them to have a free hand with their articles from there,” it tweeted.

Firstly we’d like to address Rowan [Kaiser]’s suitability to review the game. Contrary to a lot of opinions we’ve seen posted, Rowan is a very logical choice by IGN. Although, yes, we would disagree with the lower-than-liked score that he eventually awarded us, he does have experience of our previous titles and has over the years provided his professional opinion on those, too. It would make sense that IGN would make use of his experience to review Stellaris.

The second and perhaps the most important topic is a supposed conspiracy suggesting that Rowan would have a personal vendetta against us or our games due to his/our relationship with other game critics. This is categorically NOT the case. Those named in said conspiracy (including Rowan) are professionals in their field and we are absolutely confident that such feelings would never colour review content.

We’d like to go on record and say that we value the freedoms of critics to make any review they see fit. It’s best for the consumer and, ultimately, best for us. Although we may in some cases disagree or be disappointed by a review, this doesn’t detract from the fact that reviewers should have absolute freedom to give their own opinions of a game, free from external duress of any kind.

We have no hard feelings to Rowan, and we would really appreciate it if others wouldn’t elect to have them on our behalf! You can likely count on seeing Rowan’s name on reviews of our games in the future, for better or worse. We trust his integrity absolutely and he will certainly receive review code from us in the future.”

The nonsense of this situation is that of course reviews are personal opinions. That is literally the definition of what they are. However, many fans want them to serve another purpose – to reinforce their own opinions, preconceptions and, often, prejudices. Reviews that fall below the average, therefore, can often come in for all sorts of bizarre grief. Videogamer, for instance, recently faced accusations that Microsoft was literally paying it to score Uncharted 4 poorly. And the score it gave the game? 8/10. Much hilarity has ensued.

It’s fantastic to see a publisher sticking up for press, even if it disagrees with it. Well done Paradox.

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