At least two developers employed at Californian studio Telltale Games wrote glowing reviews for their new game under the guise of impartial consumers.
A user interface artist at Telltale, as well as a cinematic artist, both gave their game a perfect user score on reviews aggregator Metacritic.
One described the game as “a mix between Heavy Rain & LA Noire”, and appears to have made the same comment two days later in a separate review under a different name.
Another wrote: “Jurassic Park is a true Telltale ‘point-and-click’. The company that championed the adventure game genre delivers yet another solid game based on a beloved ‘nostalgic’ franchise. This is not your regular movie tie-in game, where you play out the same old events you’ve seen on the big screen.”
Five perfect-score user reviews were published within two days of the game’s release. At the same time, there had been only a single authorised professional review published on the site.
Gamespot – which exposed the fiasco – also claims it hadn’t received early review copies from Telltale.
At the time of going to press, three professional reviews of the game have been published. These average at a score of 49.
At one stage, just hours after its release, Jurassic Park had no critic reviews at all and four glowing user reviews.
Studios commonly receive royalties based on the commercial success of their games.
A spokesperson for the company said Telltale Games “does not censor or muzzle its employees in what they post on the internet”.
“However, it is being communicated internally that anyone who posts in an industry forum will acknowledge that they are a Telltale employee,” the person added.
The Telltale staff in question made no clear acknowledgement that they were employees at the studio.
Telltale claims that the staff took appropriate action due to using "recognizable online forum and XBLA account names".
Since the scandal emergedm, outraged consumers have begun to submit their own user scores with rock-bottom scores and rage-filled reviews.