According to several media outlets, Konami has forced journalists to refrain from mentioning certain aspects of its upcoming PlayStation 3 game, Metal Gear Solid 4, in reviews. The list of prohibited topics goes beyond the usual plot spoilers, and may infringe on a journalist's ability to give a fair and balanced critique of the game. The off-limit topics allegedly include any mention of the game's installation process on the PS3, and the duration of cinematic cut-scenes (some of which are rumoured to be over an hour long!). It is widely believed that these restrictions were imposed by Konami to remove negative comments from reviews.
US magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly (EGM) has refused to review the game rather than agree to Konami's demands. Other publications, such as IGN, have omitted all mention of the prohibited topics from their reviews. While it is unlikely these aspects would have greatly affected the score of the game, it still sets a worrying precedent for the future integrity of games journalism. Hopefully, this won't start a trend which sees exclusives awarded to the magazine that mentions the least amount of negative points. Other publications should follow EGM's lead and refuse to capitulate to publishers' unreasonable demands — otherwise they run the risk of devolving into a multi-page games advertisement.