GameSpot insider speaks of 'mass resignations'

Written by Joe Martin

December 5, 2007 // 9:59 a.m.

Tags: #cnet #eidos #gamespot #gerstmann #joe #kane-and-lynch #penny-arcade #resignations #reviewers #ryan

GameSpot is in trouble. Not only has the firing of the Jeff Gerstmann, editor for the site for the last eleven years, had serious consequences for the credibility of GameSpot but it may also lead to mass walkouts.

An anonymous source spoke to Kotaku about the dismissal and revealed what many remaining staff members consider to be the real reason Gerstmann was fired.

Apparently, it's the fault of VP of Games at GameSpot, Josh Larson. Larson is viewed by many of his staff as being out of touch with his audience and writing team and had reportedly butted heads with Gerstmann in the past.

"People used to think of Larson as a sort of non-intrusive cousin of Bill Lumberg from Office Space—an empty suit who was more of an annoyance than a liability. Now, people are referring to him as the moron lieutenant from Aliens who sits around stunned, doing nothing as everyone drops dead around him," said the insider.

Larson apparently also asserted that "AAA titles deserve more attention", implying that the editorial team needed to re-consider scores for these larger games and the impact the scores may have.

The video review of Kane and Lynch done by Gerstmann - which was originally suggested to be the reason that Gerstmann was fired due to the savage tone - may not have been the reason for the dismissal though, even though the video was pulled from the site.

"Jeff showed up late. It was thrown together quickly, the sound sucked, there was only footage from the first level of the game—it was a mess...it was a producers decision, nothing to do with upper management," said the source.

The perception among management however was that Gerstmann was becoming sloppy and flippant with his reviews, adopting a 'celebrity attitude' which was proved by his lateness. It was this perception and lateness which may have contributed to his firing, not the tone of the review itself.

The source went on to say that a number of GameSpot writers were left in a state of "irreconcilable despair" and that although GameSpot management told staff that the termination of Gerstmann had been a mutual decision, the reality was that it was anything but.

"Our credibility is in ruins," said the source, going on to say that a number of GameSpot writers and editors were expressing the wish to leave the site and that, unless something changes quickly, CNet could be facing mass resignations of key staff members.

What do you think? Can GameSpot rise from the ashes or is it doomed to the fire? Are all game reviewers corrupt, useless prima donnas or are some of us OK? How do you judge reviews and how much of a role do they play in your purchases? Ask us questions and give us your opinions in the forums.

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