Rumors abound that Konami presented non-disclosure agreements to reviewers wanting an early look at its latest game, Metal Gear Solid 4. While NDAs are common and generally accepted, this particular one attracted attention due to its claimed terms: specifically, reviewers were not to disclose certain facts about the game in their coverage. 1UP's Jeremy Parish not only confirms it, but describes further startling details: the NDA was presented only at the very end of a several-day reviewing session, applying retroactively. Worse, Parish suggests that they were threatened with detention until they signed it.
Unfortunately, the NDA was supposed to have been ready day one, which would have been fine. Our practice when presented with NDAs is to run them by the legal department first. But they didn't give us our NDAs on the first day. Or the second. Instead, they presented them to us at the literal last moment -- I was watching the game's closing credits scroll past -- and made it clear that we wouldn't be leaving until we signed them. This was a problem, as we had a plane to catch and a magazine to ship within the next few hours, which didn't leave time for running things by legal. So, despite some misgivings, we signed. We didn't really leave us a choice.
The part that's really incongruous is that Parish's presentation of this absurd situation is cast as a defense of Konami, even though it resulted in suboptimal coverage, a bout of internal hand-wringing after they signed the NDA, and was plainly extortive. It is "not-at-all-sordid," he writes. Parish even casts criticism of Konami in straw-man fashion, as people calling the company "Nazis."
Standard procedure in journalism when authorities threaten to detain you is to know your rights and call your editor immediately. Standard procedure in journalism when PR people threaten you? Hard to know, really, because it's hilarious.
In honor of the outrageous threats allegedly made by Konami's PR goons, BBG presents Escape from Konami, an awful flash game. Click it to begin. Enjoy!
Jeremy's 1UP blog [1up]