UPDATE: Looks like Harmonix is reaching out to the Rock Band Road Crew members via email asking to review Rock Band 4 on both Amazon and Metacritic.
— 🐢 bob 📼 (@bobvids) October 22, 2015
Yesterday, a Reddit post was found to reveal a few names of Harmonix employees were found leaving 5-star reviews for a game they worked on, or have some involvement in. Camera9 on Reddit found 7 employees that are employed with Harmonix and are leaving 5-star reviews on Rock Band 4 using their real names and we all want to know why. We all knew bundles were going to be scarce at launch, and hell, not even a ton of media outlets got them to review, so it makes sense that Harmonix employees would need to purchase their own. As insanely unethical this is, it’s quite common with Amazon and other websites that offer user reviews, but getting caught is a whole new story and Amazon gets really sue crazy when it does.
Destructoid reached out for comment to Harmonix and received this:
“Harmonix has clarified its internal policy about posting reviews of our own products on retail sites, and we’ve asked that existing reviews be edited to identify Harmonix employees or be removed entirely. While we believe the reviews posted by a few employees were sincere and without ill intentions, as a studio we don’t believe these are appropriate actions. We appreciate the feedback from the community, and take our relationship with our fans seriously.”
Some of the reviews listed below have been updated to include the fact they helped make the game, such as this addition from Matthew Nordhaus on his review:
“I added this review half in jest (as you might be able to tell from the tone of the original). In hindsight, it’s probably important that I note that I worked on the game and work for Harmonix. That being said, I’m confident that if I didn’t I would still give the game five stars. It’s a beautiful, peaceful, cooperative game, rare enough already in today’s landscape, that I can play with my wife and kids. Music discovery, playing with your family and friends, and cooperation make Rock Bandmy favorite.”
Once the internet was aware of what happened, the users started pulling their reviews out of fear. Destructoid was able to screenshot 3 that managed to survive:
With Harmonix being close to closing in the past, there’s not reason to assume Harmonix is in a bit of trouble, even after Mad Catz reported the problem about the company’s ability to pay it’s debts. We’ll see what happens after all this is over, but bravo for owning up to it.