The Borderlands 3 review situation that stymied many outlets' attempts to review the game once review embargo lifted is being chalked up to security concerns by Gearbox Software, according to a report on the situation made earlier this week. Borderlands 3 doesn't launch until September 13, but the game's review embargo was lifted on September 9, meaning critics with review copies of the game could share their opinion on it nearly a week before it released.
That's why fans were surprised when only a select number of outlets posted Borderlands 3 reviews once embargo lifted. Borderlands 3 is tagged as one of the biggest games of 2019, and will almost certainly be a sales driver heading into what appears to be the last holiday season for the current generation of consoles. Because of it's highly-anticipated status and the pedigree of its predecessors, consumers were expecting a huge number of reviews to help them decide if Borderlands 3 lived up to the hype that had been generated by some glowing hands-on sessions and preview content.
According to a report from Kotaku, there's a reason that didn't happen, and just a select few websites posted review content. Publisher 2K, during correspondence with the website over receiving a review code in advance of the game's launch, cited "security concerns" as the reason that some outlets weren't getting codes. It's unclear exactly what security concerns they were and why they dictated that certain websites - especially some that are similar in content style, location, and, presumably, security to those that did get codes - were excluded from the process. To be fair, "codes" isn't even necessarily an accurate way to describe what 2K provided reviewers, who were given new Epic Games Store accounts with the game available while also receiving warnings that their progress might not carry over into the final game.
It's a bizarre situation that doesn't appear to make a lot of sense at first glance. It's possible that the security concerns are a paranoid reaction to the controversial report that parent company Take-Two went after a YouTuber who posted leaked information about Borderlands 3 on their channel - a security lockdown afterwards might have been recommended to 2K, and this might be the result of that. It's still curious that it would extend to media websites, though, especially ones as important in the industry as some that were excluded. Websites like those adhere to strict embargo guidelines regarding content and would land themselves in hot water for leaking even the most minute Borderlands 3 detail. According to the report, those websites that didn't receive review accounts will instead get them the day before launch.
Whatever the case may be, the Borderlands 3 reviews situation is one of the strangest of 2019. While some companies like Bethesda have made it a habit of providing outlets with codes at the last-minute, this is another situation altogether, one that has certainly produced a weird, narrow view of Borderlands 3. Currently, the game is doing pretty well on review aggregate websites, although there are also some critics concerned over the game's lack of progress and innovation over time. Fans will have to use those reviews to decide whether they're going to purchase Borderlands 3, though, as there likely won't be many more posted prior to the game's launch.