Ancestors: The Human Odyssey’s creator Patrice Desilets has gone on the record accusing several outlets he doesn’t specify of writing fake reviews for his game. VG247 reports it was fairly obvious that the reviews were fake when they began criticizing features that weren’t even in the game, such as horseback riding.
“I know for a fact that some just invented some elements in the game. Just like there is no fire and you cannot ride any horses in our game, but some reviewers said ‘it wasn’t that great when you ride horses’. My people are pissed.”
Why he thought a game that doesn’t even stick to the actual scientific models of human evolution would sell well without elements like fire is a mystery. He would go on to complain about numerous outlets comparing Ancestors to his previous game, Assassin’s Creed, citing how the expectation was impossible to match with his 35 person studio.
What did Desilets expect was going to happen when he hyped the game by promoting it as the next game from the creator of Assassin’s Creed. To expect no comparisons would be drawn to his previously referenced work is rather absurd, but he would go on to discuss how he was surprised by how low the scores were, saying…
“We received more than a 175 reviews but we received a 65 Metacritic. And I’m used to having a bigger number than that.”
Perhaps he wouldn’t have been shocked about the low scores if he took a step back and examined why his previous games were as lauded as they were amongst declining franchise sales and public criticism. Many outlets received advertisement campaigns for the same titles from Ubisoft. What were they to do advertise a game they themselves decry as mediocre, lacking overall improvement, buggy? At the same time risking not only losing the advertisement dollars, but also early access to exclusive content and previews? Of course they were going to bump the scores up a few points.
Now that he’s fully independent he doesn’t have the same leverage or marketing budget. Outlets aren’t going to hype up his game as if they were a division of his PR team. Even if he refuses to give them codes to his next title it won’t greatly impact their bottom line if it does in the slightest. As harsh as it is, this is the nature of the industry (except at One Angry Gamer who all publishers hate by now. Fun Fact: Billy subsists on the tears of publishers and developers).
User scores took less kindly to the game than the review outlets who didn’t even play the game. Many reviewers on Metacritic pointed to bad controls, along with the unintuitive nature of the game failing to deliver the complexities required to figure out challenges on your own, but equally failing to deliver the simplicity of a guided challenge as the reasons for their negative and mixed reviews. The game’s worst offense appears to be the greatest cardinal sin a game can commit: It’s boring.
Even without outlets making things up it is unlikely that it would have reviewed significantly better than it has. Nor did the game do itself any favor’s going exclusive to the Epic Games Store while under the Private Division label. Meaning Take-Two got the bulk of the money Epic Games is known to hand out for that exclusivity. Very simply put, as an independent studio you have less room to push out pretentious half baked ideas and expect the media to hype it up.
For those curious if the game lives up to the un-hype it will release in 2020 on Steam, because we know no one here is going to buy it on Epic’s Store Front.