Developer Threatens to Blackball Media Outlets That Give Negative Reviews

Developer BadFly Interactive Attempts to Sway Media with Threats


The video game industry is a tough business. For every developer and publisher, one single thing reigns supreme as to whether their game sinks or swims: the review score. While I don’t relish reviewing games poorly and assigning low scores, it’s the job of the critic to provide a fair and reasoned assessment of a game. It is not the critic’s job to go out of their way to protect creator’s business interests.

Recently, COGconnected was approached by developer BadFly Interactive to review the studio’s upcoming console release of Dead Effect 2. The communication exchange was typical. The developer approached, we expressed interest in a code. What happened next was a drastic diversion from the norm that we feel is important to address with our readers and the broader community.

BadFly Interactive

BadFly creative director Lubomír Dykast sent a code via email with a note. It’s not uncommon for small developers to mention their small teams and remind critics that they are not AAA houses. However, Dykast took things a step further.

Let me just mention one thing, though: this is an indie game which, unfortunately, is very often compared with big-budget games, and that’s quite a problem and very much damages its reputation in final ratings. Please take into consideration the fact that this game was created by a small team of developers (11) who just try to develop a good shooter game, and that’s about it. Unfortunately, a number of journalists have other, much bigger expectations from it, and that’s very damaging for us eventually.

So far so good, right? What’s the problem, you may be asking? It’s the last line in the email that’s the problem.

Also, we’re working on several other games that are definitely interesting, and if your review or preview of Dead Effect 2 is very negative, you won’t receive any keys from us in the future.

For any PR representative, publisher or developer out there who thinks that threatening to blackball an outlet for writing an honest review is a good practice I’m going to go ahead and stop you right now. It isn’t.

It’s a tactic that is used to undermine the review process and any site who hopes to keep its readers would never stand for it. For that exact reason, we won’t be reviewing Dead Effect 2. However, we have hope that BadFly Interactive can perhaps learn a better approach when having their games reviewed. Should their attitude change, perhaps ours will too. COGconnected will not be bullied or threatened. We stand by every other outlet that does the same. In a time when the integrity of this business is called out at a moment’s notice, it’s important to show readers that we can indeed be trusted and we do have their best interests in mind.

We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below or over on Twitter.