IGN's Re-Review Policy
How we're keeping up with gaming's changing pace.by Dan StapletonFebruary 13, 2014
It has long been the policy of IGN that, barring disaster, the score of a game should never change. Developers get one shot, so they’d better make it count. For a long time, that system worked – games came out, were played and enjoyed, and then faded away without ever becoming more than they were.
That policy can no longer keep up with the pace of modern gaming. While there are still many fire-and-forget releases that come and go as they always have, many more are constantly growing and changing after release. Through major patches and free content updates, a game that’s merely okay at release can become something good or even great just a few months later, and remain popular for years to come. A review set in stone can unintentionally mislead people seeking new experiences away from something we believe they’d enjoy if they pick it up today, and that’s contrary to our goals as critics and as gamers.
Prime examples are our reviews of League of Legends, a game which has seen tremendous change since we reviewed it in November 2009, and our review of Minecraft: Pocket Edition, which is now basically talking about a completely different game from what was released in 2011. Both are still hugely popular, but both reviews have aged poorly.
Now that the very positive phenomenon of ever-improving games has taken hold not just in the technological vanguard of PC gaming, but in the new generation of consoles as well, it is time to change our policy. Going forward, IGN will re-review a still-relevant game or device when we feel our original recommendation is no longer reasonably accurate and informative to our readers and viewers. Using a combination of internal and external metrics, and our own editorial judgment, we will re-review select games that are deemed still important enough to the IGN community’s interests to warrant updated coverage. We have begun with League of Legends and Minecraft: Pocket Edition, which both get new reviews today.
It’s a brave new world. That said, do not expect to see our review staff change scores as a knee-jerk reaction to server outages or bugs fixed or introduced by post-release patches (so long as they’re fixed within a reasonable amount of time). We want IGN’s scores to continue to carry weight and mean something to our readers, our reviewers, and game makers, and a score that can be changed on a whim the day after is a score that requires little consideration or conviction. Just as importantly, remember that every time we do a second review on an older game, that means there’s a new game out there that goes without a first review. We’re only human, after all – we can only play so many games at once!
Note that this policy will also apply to our reviews of the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Wii U platforms, among others. Just as someone who became an Xbox 360 owner in 2013 would barely recognize the original 2006 UI, we expect the same transformative process to happen in this generation, and for our audience to expect to be able to rely on IGN for up-to-date recommendations on where to spend your time and money. We intend to give you exactly that.