In mid-August 2023, Bethesda sent press copies of Starfield to many publications and bloggers so that they could go through the game before release and make reviews. At the end of the month, it turned out that not all major gaming sites received access to the RPG. So, Eurogamer, Axios, The Guardian, Rock Paper Shotgun and Metro, as well as Edge magazine said that Bethesda did not provide them with a press copy of Starfield, so their reviews of the game will be delayed.
Journalists said they did not know why some publications did not receive press copies of the game in time. At first, it was suggested that only British sites fell under the restriction. After some time, this version was excluded because Bethesda did not provide access to Starfield, including the American edition of Axios.
Some social media users felt that the press copies were not sent to those publications that had previously given low ratings to previous Bethesda games. So, Redditors recalled that the author of the YouTube channel Skill Up, who also did not get access to Starfield, previously gave a bad grade to Fallout 76, and The Guardian reviewer in 2015 rated Fallout 4 only 3 points out of 5. It is important to note that with this assumption many disagree, as other outlets that didn’t receive press copies of Starfield gave pretty high marks to previous Bethesda games.
There is also a widespread speculation among community members that some gaming sites have been blacklisted by Bethesda due to publications related to leaks and insider information. Media representatives did not comment on these assumptions.
It’s also possible that Bethesda simply didn’t send the press copies accidentally or due to employee error, netizens say. This conjecture is indirectly confirmed by the fact that the company nevertheless provided access to Starfield to Eurogamer an hour after its employees informed their readers about the situation.
It is noteworthy that earlier Bethesda sent a press copy of Starfield to specialists from Digital Foundry, the technical division of Eurogamer. The publication reported that the company demanded not to provide access to the game to other departments. In this regard, only DF experts could try out Starfield before the release, but not the authors of the reviews from the main team of the site.