Bethesda has cordially invited PAR to rewrite IGN’s story on their latest game
Bethesda announced a new game called The Evil Within earlier today, after teasing the announcement for a number of days. This is a new title from Tango Gameworks, a studio led by Shinji Mikami, the “father” of the survivor horror genre and creator of the Resident Evil series. The image from the game is reminiscent of the poster from Cabin in the Woods, which is a nice touch.
The downside is that we were given next to no information about the game itself, although we were told to check out the trailer on IGN.com, and details would be coming in a story… on IGN.com.
“The Evil Within, in development for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system, the PC, and next generation consoles, is slated for release in 2014,” the press release states. “On Monday, April 22nd, additional information about The Evil Within will be revealed in an exclusive feature story with IGN.com.”
This is the fun bit about being a reporter in this industry, you actually get press releases where the company isn’t pushing the game, but promoting a story about the game on another site. Pre-planned coverage has become the message itself.
The invitation is to rewrite and repeat the press release today, and then rewrite and repeat IGN’s exclusive and seemingly official coverage next week. Bethesda has also been tweeting teasers for the story. So just to keep this straight, the company teased the reveal of a press release that teased the reveal of a story on IGN that may tell us something about the game.
It gets to the point where you're not sure who is promoting who.
Now, I know many people at both IGN and Bethesda, and I’m a fan of both companies. If I were in charge of things over at IGN I would absolutely use my power and size to try to secure these sorts of exclusives as well. There is no downside to it, as long as the companies involved allow you to keep final say in the article. I would adore to read an exclusive preview like this only to see that the writer thought the game was garbage, and all the lower-tier sites had to dutifully repeat that the one site that was able to report on the game hated it.
I have a feeling that is never going to happen though, these deals are worth too much for both parties for everything not to go according to plan. From the PR side of things this makes controlling the message simple. If the only thing we’re able to report on is one outlets story, basically giving us the ability to read a story on IGN and then react to it, then all they have to do is make sure that story is positive, and the positive feelings will drip down. Exclusives are gaming PR’s version of Reaganomics, except for that fact that it actually works in this case.
IGN is protecting their own interests, as is Bethesda, and I can’t fault either party for it. Even talking about it in this way is getting everyone’s name out there, and I bet you’re curious about the game now. I know I am. But for now I think I’m going to take a pass at saying anything else until I’m able to see, play, and interview someone about The Evil Within. There are plenty of other games out there.