The build up to Borderlands 3 has been rife with leaks along the way, to the point where 2K has made some controversial moves, including sending private investigators after a YouTuber. This week, it came to light that the review copy situation for Borderlands 3 is also strange, with many outlets not getting code in time for a full review, while others got access to controlled Epic Games Store accounts.
Several outlets, including Kotaku and Giant Bomb have confirmed that they did not get pre-release review code for Borderlands 3. In Kotaku’s case, 2K said that this decision was down to security concerns and in the case of Giant Bomb, 2K apparently wasn’t happy with the outlet’s E3 coverage of the game. Both outlets will get code eventually, but not as early as the likes of Polygon, PCGamer, IGN and Gamespot, all of which have reviews up for the game already.
Polygon’s review was particularly interesting, as it states that outlets with early access were only permitted to do so via 2K-controlled Epic Games Store accounts, which had pre-release versions of the game unlocked instead of the final retail release. This led to a number of issues, including bugs, lost progress and crashes.
There are a couple of different arguments that could be made here. The first would be 2K wanting to control the message around Borderlands 3 at launch by hand picking a few outlets for day-one reviews. Alternatively, it is also possible that 2K only wanted to go with outlets where they were confident that no leaks would occur before launch.
KitGuru Says: Sometimes we will see game reviews published based on a debug console version but I don’t think that we’ve ever encountered a situation where reviews are based on pre-release builds tied to accounts individually set up by the publisher. It is an odd scenario and it will be interesting to see what people think.