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Dec 5, 2007
Enter the US side of Eidos' official Kane & Lynch website, and you are greeted by an unintentionally appropriate quote taken from Game Informer magazine, which ends: "What could go wrong?". Well, cripes, where do we start?
Even the most casual of internet-fed gamers must be aware of the firestorm raging around IO Interactive's new game. And Kane & Lynch's profile certainly hasn't been bolstered by accusations of Eidos allegedly falsifying review scores advertised on the official site, or the now unstoppable rumblings surrounding the controversy-stained sacking of GameSpot writer Jeff Gerstmann, rumoured, initially, to have been laid off over an unfavourable review of the game.
GameSpot admits in a new Q&A that Eidos had "expressed [its] displeasure" over the Kane & Lynch review, which no doubt sat awkwardly alongside the sizeable advertising campaign already running on the site. But GameSpot categorically denies that Eidos had anything directly to do with Gerstmann being shown the door, emphasising that "strict GameSpot policy" prevents any review score or video review to be altered or changed as a result of publisher pressure.
Realistically, we'll probably never know what actually happened, especially since GameSpot stresses that the exact reasons for the sacking can't be revealed for legal reasons. But it's clear the Kane & Lynch coverage had something to do with it - the offending video review posted by Gerstmann was taken down almost immediately. GameSpot explains this was due to audio problems and a "limited amount" of ingame footage. Also, the text reviews have been edited significantly, in order to "better mesh with [the game's] score".
So why was it that Kane & Lynch has found itself at the center of an internet scandal? What is it about this game that caused so much hurt?
#1 Chart results have been disappointing
Kane & Lynch hasn't bombed - in the UK it's at 4th in the PS3 charts, up from 5th. But you can't really call it a huge success, either. The Xbox 360 version currently sits at 31st in the US all format table (collated by NPD) and even including copies shifted across all three formats it hasn't yet breached the top 10 in the UK. Just to put that in context: There are two Dr Kawashima brain games in the UK top 10.