Yesterday, we wrote on the Videogamer article which claimed – via an anonymous source – that Dead Space 4 had been cancelled, essentially killing the franchise. Since then, EA have said that it is “categorically incorrect”, and Peter Moore has retorted in the form of comments about “shoddy website journalism.”
Videogamer.com have since written an open letter, authored by “Videogamer staff”, in reply to accusations of fraudulently fabricating information. In the letter, the website defended their source of information, stating that “the information was provided to us by a trusted source: an individual whose identity we agreed to protect, but whose background and statements gave us valid reason to trust their claims.”
“We contacted Electronic Arts UK PR at 12:31 GMT on Monday, March 4, to ask whether they could confirm or deny that Dead Space 4 had been cancelled, or provide any further comment on the future of the series. This is standard industry practice.”
Videogamer went on to explain how they had initially declined “EA’s request” to halt publication of the story in order for EA to prepare a proper response, waiting until the next day to publish the story to avoid publishing a potentially embarrassing mishap. As it turns out, EA’s response was a generic one, stating that the publisher “does not comment on rumour and speculation.”
The story was therefore published 22 hours after they had turned to EA for a response, or verification.
According to the site, EA then pursued their own refutation of the subject material, despite Videogamer giving them an opportunity to do so early on. EA’s early response through Gamasutra would later be followed by a response from EA in the US, which said:
“These rumours are patently false. While we have not released sales data for Dead Space 3, we are proud of the game and it continues to be an important IP to EA. Appreciate your help bringing down this baseless rumour.”
Again reinstating their trust in Videogamer.com sources, the site stated that:
“VideoGamer.com would never publish information from a source whose identity could not be verified, or that we do not believe to be accurate. We carried out internal checks to verify the validity of the comments made by our source – and while we have a duty of care to protect their identity – we stand by the comments made in the original story.”
Videogamer apparently found it “perplexing” that EA first chose not to comment on the speculation, then decided to issue a statement through EA UK, and then EA US through official PR channels.
The site also claimed they “carried out internal checks to verify the validity of the comments made by our source,” despite literally nothing the source said coming to fruition. Videogamer originally published the article under the context of fact, and did not, as we did, report it as a rumor.
There seems to be too much trust in something as incredibly serious and large as claiming an entire studio had been closed down, and one of EA’s major IP’s killed. Whilst inside sources are incredibly important in any journalistic enterprise, you’d think it would take more than the word of one man to convince you hundreds of jobs had just been axed, and that a senseless ending had come about to one of the publishers strongest IP’s – especially if you’d done “checks” to verify this.
Whilst I admire Videogamers honesty in the aftermath, this looks like a case of controversy for hits. Peter Moore’s heavy handed response is also unhelpful, since they’re responsible for weaving an impenetrable web of secrecy through PR. Clearly insiders provide helpful, and much potential clarity.
EA has reached out and confirmed that these rumors are absolutely false
“These rumors are patently false. While we have not released sales data for Dead Space 3, we are proud of the game and it continues to be an important IP to EA,” said Jino Talens, EA Public Relations, in an email to PCGMedia.