At the end of November Jeff Gerstmann was fired from his position as executive editor of GameSpot. GameSpot, owned by CNET, had let Gerstmann go at a time which coincided with them removing some negative reviews for Eidos Interactive’s Kane & Lynch. Since then there has been a barrage of speculations and seemingly official reports that Gerstmann was cast off due to giving a sub-quality game a sub-quality review. Since the game was advertised heavily on their site, just as it was on almost every site, people took these conspiracy theories seriously calling the issue “Gerstmanngate.” On December 5th Gamespot released their official response to such claims.
The thing that made most people cry foul was that shortly thereafter the video review he had done was removed from the site and then the text review reappeared in an altered form with a certain amount of negativity removed. GameSpot has responded to the review allegations saying
“Jeff's supervisors and select members of the edit team felt the review's negativity did not match its "fair" 6.0 rating. The copy was adjusted several days after its publication so that it better meshed with its score, which remained unchanged. The achievements and demerits it received were also left unaltered. Additionally, clarifications were made concerning the game's multiplayer mode and to include differences between the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions of the game.”
Quite frankly, if that were the case then whoever was in charge of editing that piece should be in a little trouble, someone like the Executive Editor. The original review didn’t read terribly imbalanced though. The “fair” 6.0 rating along with saying it’s a game that has some great potential seems like a “fair” review.
The explanation of removal of the video reads:
“…the video was taken down due to concerns of quality. Specifically, its audio was deemed inferior due to a faulty microphone. There were also concerns about the limited amount of footage, which was unrepresentative of the game in the review.
This is pretty founded as the sound quality was noticeably poor. I didn’t feel there wasn’t enough game footage; in fact I didn’t want to finish watching it due to the amount of footage of this “ugly game” as Gerstmann refers to it over and over again. In response to the media coverage GameSpot has restored the original review without the alterations that they had claimed would take some time due to the high amount of games that have been getting reviewed.
As for if he was released due to pressure from Eidos Interactive who has allegedly pulled their sponsorship dollars from GameSpot, they emphatically deny it without giving a real reason for his dismissal. They assure readers that it was due to “internal reasons.” Which in my mind doesn't exclude pressure from sponsors.
The whole release can be read at GameSpot’s Spot On: Gamespot on Gerstmann article published December 5, 2007. There is still no official report from Gerstmann aside from his inability to comment.