Ubisoft is looking at "changing the way we work with reviewers," following criticism for a late review embargo on the bug-riddled Assassin's Creed Unity.
Embargoes on reviews - agreements between publishers and game media outlets to not publish a review before a set time and date - are common practice. In exchange for early access to a game, outlets agree not to publish a review or impressions until after the embargo lifts.
However, some publishers have come under fire for the use of release-day embargoes, with accusations that they're being used to try and mitigate the impact of mediocre review scores on day-one sales. A number of recent titles, like Assassin's Creed Unity, Driveclub, Destiny, and Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal have had review embargoes that didn't lift until the game was publicly available, and in Unity's case, the embargo was set 12 hours after the game's American launch. All of these titles received mixed reviews.
A spokesperson for Ubisoft said that the late embargo for Unity was not put in place to mislead consumers, but that they are working to improve practices.
"The nature of games themselves and the way they are being reviewed is changing, as evidenced by games like Assassin's Creed Unity, Destiny and The Crew - games that have significant online components," she said.
"Having the online elements available and having populated worlds is essential to creating a representative and complete experience for reviewers.
"Achieving this prior to launch is incredibly complex, which is why some games are being reviewed much closer - or as was the case with Destiny, even after - the game launches.
"We are working to adapt our services and communications with consumers accordingly, both by changing the way we work with reviewers and by offering customers open betas or other early access to some games, all so that they have the information they need and want."