Earlier this month, there were a lot of posts from gaming media outlets and well-known game streamers who announced that they had received copies of the upcoming sci-fi RPG Starfield from developer Bethesda Game Studios and publisher Bethesda Softworks/Microsoft. Those review copies also came with an embargo date of August 31 and a directive to not mention anything about the game at all before that date.
However, it appears one major UK game media outlet, Eurogamer, has not received that opportunity as of this writing. In a news post, Eurogamer’s editor-in-chief Tom Phillips stated that their review of Starfield will be late, because they have not received a review copy.
Access to the game appears to have been heavily restricted in the UK, where Bethesda has also not provided copies of Starfield to other websites and YouTube channels owned by Eurogamer parent company Reedpop. Meanwhile, some other UK outlets have been provided access through Bethesda’s US arm.
While Phillips does say that Bethesda is not obligated to offer a review copy of Starfield to Eurogamer, he later revealed that its Digital Foundry team, which is known for its deep dives into the graphical features of games, did get a copy of the game for review. He adds:
However, this was provided alongside instruction to me by Bethesda that no other parts of Eurogamer were granted access. This was an unprecedented request, but one I ultimately felt compelled to honour to ensure the access granted to Digital Foundry was not subsequently impacted by any other mandate.
This sounds like a very strange way for Bethesda to act. Phillips says that he has tried to remedy the situation for the past couple of weeks, adding that “the matter has been repeatedly flagged to both Bethesda and Microsoft at senior levels.”
However, even if the team were able to secure a review copy of Starfield right now, there would not be enough time for Eurogamer team members to play the game for a proper review to be created before the August 31 embargo is lifted.
Again, this seems like very strange behavior on Bethesda’s part, and so far, there’s been no explanation why Eurogamer and other UK outlets have not received review copies.