Uproar over the reported cancellation of Dead Space 4 has officially entered the big leagues, ladies and gentlemen. Following a number of formal denials from EA PR, the company's chief executive officer Peter Moore has taken to GamesIndustry.biz forums to savage Videogamer.com for publishing the rumour.
"Standard, shoddy website journalism recipe, born out of a desperate need to increase click-thru rates to support advertising revenue," he wrote yesterday. "Fabricate a story using an 'unnamed source,' post it first thing in the morning, add the letters 'EA' to the story (oh, and link it to micro-transactions - always a fan favourite) and then stand back and enjoy the vitriol which you turn into revenue. Rinse and repeat..."
On any other forum, this would probably be deemed a fake. But as GI editor Matt Martin observes: "All out accounts are verified on GamesIndustry International. We work hard to ensure no anonymous or fake accounts are in use." Kotaku says EA has since confirmed that the posts are Moore's work, but declined to comment further.
The CEO later clarified the object of his address. "My comments were fairly and squarely aimed at Videogamer. My issue is not the rejection of community feedback (we get that in bucketloads all day long and we learn from it in real time), rather it was the fabrication of a story in order to generate controversy and ultimately readership."
For its part, Videogamer "firmly denies" the fabrication claim. The site has now published an account of the circumstances surrounding the original story's publication. Here are the closing remarks:
"VideoGamer.com would never publish information from a source whose identity could not be verified, or that we do not believe to be accurate. We carried out internal checks to verify the validity of the comments made by our source - and while we have a duty of care to protect their identity - we stand by the comments made in the original story.
"We would also like to reiterate that we ran the story in good faith, taking the necessary steps with both EA and our source to ensure that the story was as accurate, fair, and well-represented as possible.
"We find it perplexing as to why EA changed its stance on its decision not to comment on rumours and speculation, especially given the opportunities that the publisher had to clarify the situation before and after VideoGamer.com published the story. We firmly deny any accusations of fabrication on our part."
Somebody's telling porkies. But who?