The "Driv3rgate" saga rumbles on.

Absolutely the hottest topic of discussion among videogames magazine readers over the last couple of weeks has been the story of "Driv3rgate", in which two UK games mags published by The Future Network (PSM2 and Xbox World) stand accused of giving undeserved high review scores to Atari's abysmal, half-finished atrocity of a game Driv3r, in order to secure exclusive reviews and/or advertising spend from Atari. Literally dozens of news and gaming sites have picked up on the story, and Future, Atari, and marketing company Babel Media have all been trying to suppress it with increasing desperation.

Babel, for example, have hurriedly removed the references on their corporate website to their previously openly-admitted tactic (local copy, highlighting added by WoS) of infiltrating gaming forums with "shills" promoting particular games while pretending to be ordinary members of the public. A thread on Future's "GamesRadar" forum revealing two Babel employees caught in the act of doing that very thing was deleted by the forum's staff on groundless allegations of "libel" which was supposedly contained in the thread. And now the thread on the same forum about the offending reviews themselves, which spanned over 60 pages and had hundreds of replies and tens of thousands of views, has gone the same way, as have all subsequent Driv3r threads and any raising the issue of the deletion.

What is it that Future, Atari and Babel don't want people to know? Hmmm.

Fortunately, most of the thread, including the posts where PSM2 staff freely admitted to reviewing the game in an unfinished state in order to obtain the exclusive, was saved by your reporter in case of just this eventuality. (Only the first 42 pages, sadly, because your reporter's forum account was banned without warning or explanation by Future, leaving the forum inaccessible even for viewing, before he could complete the task. However, everything of any major significance in the thread had already been said by then - the comments from XBW's Deputy Editor, for example, are on Page 8.) It can be found below.

The pages of the thread are saved in MHT format, which is inconveniently large, but was the only way the pages could be retrieved in a readable state. MHT pages should display automatically in your browser if you're using Internet Explorer - other browsers will require some sort of viewing prog. You'll have to either click the links below individually, or manually change the page name in your browser's address bar, in order to move from page to page - obviously, the links on the pages themselves refer to the address of the pages on the Future server, which no longer exist.

PAGES 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42

World Of Stuart invokes public interest against any claims of copyright infringement.








All other threads on the GamesRadar forums connected in any way to Driv3rgate have been, and continue to be, deleted by the forum administrators, and unfortunately were not saved beforehand by anyone (as far as is currently known). However, below is the rescued text of the first post in a deleted thread from the forum entitled:

 ATARI PEOPLE INFILTRATE GAMESRADAR!!! This is an absolute outrage!!!

The thread was posted by "Eighthours", a moderator on the forum who is not an employee of The Future Network and who had been vocally critical of Driv3r. The posters called "kingchopper" and "billywigs" are two members of the GamesRadar forum who had joined shortly before, and had made posts exclusively concerned with and in support of Driv3r -  their quoted comments are their responses to earlier posters in a different Driv3r thread, who had criticised the game strongly. As a moderator of the forum, "Eighthours" was able to trace the IP addresses of the two posters and identify them as originating from Babel.

This is an absolute outrage!!!

Quote: Babel Media website:
Babel is one of the world's leading providers of specialist services to the games and interactive entertainment industries. These include localisation, QA, porting and creative services. Clients include many of the largest international games publishers such as Microsoft, Nintendo, Atari, Activision, Sony, THQ, Codemasters, BBC, Eidos, Acclaim, Empire and Konami and interactive television companies such as BSkyB.

This is where the IP addresses of billywigs and Kingchopper originate from.

You complete and utter disgraces!!!

By the way, for those people who don't understand what has taken place, here are the 2 members' valuable contributions to GR since joining......surprisingly they're all about Driv3r.

Quote: kingchopper
Got me my copy on release day!

Still going strong for me, I'm quite suprised that some people find the controls hard or the out of car stuff awkward, for me, I find it all quite well balanced.

And there is nothing quite like diving out of a car while still moving then quickly dragging another guy out his car

Superfast car switching lol

I just need to stay sat in one car long enough to finish the missions hehe


Quote: billywigs
hey shellshock, think you are being a bit harsh? deserves more than 5/10 surely? How far through the game have you played? I haven't actually come accross any major glitches, just the odd graphics screw up! IMHO it should be more like 8/10. Purely cos its so much fun..

don't think it's slightly wrong to keep comparing gta and driv3r? driv3r is a different game. imho it's more fun. Also a couple of people have complained about the controls. I've only played the ps2 version and on that the controls are almost the same as every other driving/fps game, where you move the camera around to change direction with one analog stick and then have forward/back/strafe on the other stick...

yeah right, it is too tempting to keep swapping cars all the time.. still haven't driven the forklift everyone's going on about..sounds cool

eighthour-. I have to reply to your completely negative review. What type of gamer are you really? Cos I think that some of your comments are unfounded. I saw this cos I am really enjoying the game and the moment, I've been playing it every day for hours since I got it (four days ago).

You are saying that this is Atari's AAA release but it doesn't live up to expectations.. I say this does live up to expectations. Cars handling is fun, missions are definately not poorly designed, I think they are pretty inventive... this is just for starters.

What exactly were you expecting? A Virtual Reality style Atari headset optimised specially for the game, bundled with it? Photo-realistic graphics? (not yet possible) Smell-generator as an add-on?(for realistic burning rubber smell when you screech away!) I think maybe you are expecting too much of the current generation of consoles. In my opinion this game ROCKS!


The thread continued for several pages, with "kingchopper" and "billywigs" first denying all allegations, then finally admitting that they were employees of Babel Media, but denying that they had any connection to Driv3r or were promoting it as part of their employment - they  claimed instead that they worked in a separate part of the company and were merely posting innocently to the thread because they enjoyed the game. Unsurprisingly, the rest of the forum readership was unconvinced, and the two posters soon disappeared from view. Along with the entire thread, and all other mentions of Driv3r on the GamesRadar forums. Should WoS manage to retrieve any of the other content, it will be posted here.


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