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Square-Enix Issues Demands

Square-Enix logoI'm really starting to believe that Square-Enix thinks it can boss around the gaming media without reprisal.  I say this because of something pointed out on Kotaku about a press embargo on Valkyrie Profile 2: Silmeria.  Press embargoes aren't unusual in the industry.  I've had to abide by a few of them myself, but they usually just state a specific date for reviews to begin publication.  Game publishers want the media frenzy to hit just as the game releases to stores and not a minute before, otherwise any pent-up excitement from the fans goes untapped.  Square-Enix, on the other hand, has more specific demands.

The list includes spoilers, movies, music, and entire sections of the game until specific dates. For instance, we're not supposed to even mention, say, the Sukavia Gorge or Royal Underground Path until after July 21 and, under penalty of death we should never ever say anything about Bifrost, Yggdrasil or Hall of Valhalla until after Aug. 4.

For some reason I'm suddenly reminded of a little run-in a AMN co-worker and I had with one of Square-Enix's booth patrol back at E3.  We were filming a little ambiance video of the convention center showing just how the booths were packed together and how many people were walking around.  We weren't focusing on any one object or booth, but instead were just panning the camera around.  Just as the camera starts to point towards Square-Enix territory one of their booth security people rushes at us and slams his hand over the camera lens.  He then proceeds to rudely bark that we are not allowed to shoot any video or take any photos of Square-Enix's booth or games and that we must leave the area immediately and - get this - never return.

Now, Square-Enix's booth is their property, of course, so if they don't want us to shoot any video then they can ask us to move on.  I would have done it more diplomatically though, as the rude attitude was completely uncalled for.  It puzzles me how Square-Enix can set up shop in the middle of the massive media event that is E3 and then expect us not to pull out a camera.  So we left the Square-Enix perimeter to visit some friendlier companies.  If Square-Enix wants journalists to move along, that's fine.  It's their booth.  On the other hand, if the company kicks enough journalists around it might wake up one day to find that we don't want to cover their games in our magazines or on our websites.  After all, they're our publications.