"#AlwaysBetOnDuke too many went too far with their reviews," read a tweet, now deleted, from The Redner Group's account. "w r reviewing who gets games next time and who doesn't based on today's venom."
That update, and others expressing distaste with scores, has since been deleted. It did not take long for others to dogpile in response, prompting a series of apologies from The Redner Group, including a personal email sent to Giant Bomb and other outlets. The apology appeared sincere.
"I have to apologize to the community," read the public apology. "I acted out of pure emotion. I will be sending each of you a private apology. I need to state for the record that 2K had nothing to do with this. I will be calling each of you tomorrow to apologize. Again, I want everyone to know that I was acting on my own. 2K had nothing to do with this. I am so very sorry for what I said."
2K Games responded today by publicly declaring it had dropped The Redner Group as a firm representing its products. The decision was announced in both emails to press and over Twitter.== TEASER ==
"2K Games does not endorse the comments made by Jim Redner and we can confirm that The Redner Group no longer represents our products," said the company. "We have always maintained a mutually-respectful working relationship with the press and do not condone his actions in any way."
Our review of the long-in-development Duke Nukem Forever went up earlier this week.
Getting blacklisted by a publisher is not new. Publishers aren't required to work with any website. The difference is that when this happens, you don't tend to hear about it. Games just don't show up, emails go unanswered. It's part of the job, but what is usually constant is how it's a practice that remains behind-the-scenes. It almost never goes public. In this case, it went completely viral.
Practices like that are why we're always prepared to buy our own review copies, if necessary.