Brash Games has been under the spotlight in the last several weeks, but not in the way they would have liked. Just recently, review aggregator OpenCritic released their full report which details the allegations made against the video game review site Brash Games.
There are two huge practices that they are being accused of partaking in, removing author’s bylines and changing review scores without consent to fall in line with Metacritic scores. Over the last couple of weeks, OpenCritic has received evidence that both allegations are indeed true. However, as OpenCritic stated in their report, every single time they confronted Brash Games for it, they responded with an attempted cover-up. Sometimes they used legal threats; while other times they would edit old reviews.
“Brash Games was removed from OpenCritic on April 3, 2017, per their owners request and prior to the conclusion of our investigation,” said Matthew Enthoven, founder of OpenCritc, in an email interview. “We do believe that the integrity of Brash Games’ editorial process has been compromised.”
The first instance where OpenCritic found out something fishy was going on was when Joshua Robertson published a review on the Brash Games site on March 29, 2017. As Brash Games was a publication on OpenCritic’s domain, they could see the review. Just two days later, several Twitter users alerted them of a tweet that was created by handle @ReviewsFlash. In this tweet, Brash Games was accused of changing the game’s review score without the author’s consent. OpenCritic then reached out to Robertson and asked him to give them a little more detail (which can be found on their official report).
The fact that I apparently have no say in the matter because a guy has done more reviews than me is insulting. pic.twitter.com/a41hbciIP7
— Josh "Announce the Spyro Remaster" Robertson (@JoshRobertson97) April 10, 2017
This led OpenCritic to do a little more digging, as they contacted the owner of the domain: Paul Ryan. In their report, they claim that when they did so Ryan completely denied it. He stated, in caps, that they do not change review scores and that all their writers score it themselves. However, he claimed that Robertson did not adhere to their review guidelines.
Outside of this issue, Brash Games was also accused of completely dismissing authors by-lines from their previously published work. One such instance confirmed these allegations when OpenCritic was introduced to Amy Kay Purcell. In their official report, they mention how Purcell did not have an issue with scores being changed under her nose. However, she did confirm that after she left, her by-line on her reviews had been changed to say “Brash Games”. She then provided OpenCritic with the full details; which, again, can be found in their report.
“On , I discovered that the author links on my reviews had been changed to “Brash Games,” and that my profile page no longer existed. I contacted Mr Ryan twice, once on the 16th and again on requesting he update the pages with a by-line. I have not received a reply to either email,” Purcell continues. “After receiving no reply, I contacted the webhost, Freelola.com, who did not respond to two DMCA takedown requests. After waiting another week and a half, I contacted their customer support, who determined that, despite my providing sworn statements, the google doc where they could see the article being composed, as well as archives of the articles having previously been credited to me, this was not a copyright issue and was a personal issue I would have to resolve with Mr Ryan. They did, however, inform him that a copyright complaint had been filed against his site by myself. I have still received no communication from Mr Ryan.”
In their final request, OpenCritic once again confronted Ryan with the allegations. He simply responded and claimed that his reasons for removing author’s bylines were a legitimate response to ex-writers contacting publishers for copies.
After this full-on investigation, OpenCritic confirmed that Brash Games requested to be removed from their domain page. To prevent this situation from happening again in the future, they are currently in the process of re-evaluating who they let publish content on their site.
We’ve reached out to Brash Games for a response.