Ubisoft's upcoming open-world racing MMO The Crew won't be available to press outlets until the game has been publicly released next December 2nd, delaying access to reviews for people interested in a professional opinion before buying. In a blog post, Ubisoft stated:
"We also know that many of you will be eager to turn to experts for their professional advice. You want to read how the pros feel after their carefully considered road tests of The Crew. While we totally understand (hey, we read reviews, too!), The Crew was built from the beginning to be a living playground full of driving fans, so it’s only possible to assess our game in its entirety with other real players in the world."
This seems like a sensible precaution since critics would struggle to accurately critique The Crew with only a small selection of gaming journalists occupying the preview build. However, Ubisoft has committed various faux pas of late which culminated in the buggy mess that was Assassin's Creed Unity. Consumer confidence is at an all-time low and with post-release access one might think Ubisoft is trying to delay any negative coverage.
Such a move isn't necessarily meant to coincide with a broken or lacklustre game, though. For example, Wolfenstein: The New Order implemented a similar policy and received widespread critical acclaim.
For what it's worth, Ubisoft appears to adopting a more open development process with The Crew, with frequent public betas designed to gauge the server load and make tweaks based on user feedback. While this is an interesting move, the reaction so far has been lukewarm with users criticizing the handling model for being too simplistic. It will be fascinating to see if "community media" becomes more prevalent in Ubisoft's future plans.
Below is The Crew's latest trailer, which should give you an idea if the game is up your street ahead of release on PC and other major consoles. Those on a latest-gen console can also join the final open beta running from November 25 to November 27.