Companies conduct internal reviews of their competitors’ products all the time – it’s just we seldom ever get to actually read them. The ongoing litigation between Apple and Epic Games is uncovering all kinds of industry secrets, however – such as this Microsoft review of The Last of Us: Part II. This was penned by a couple of staffers from the Xbox Portfolio Team, and is presented similarly to the kind of review you’d read in a magazine – or even on Push Square!
Generally, the employees thoroughly enjoyed the game, describing it as the type of experience developers of narrative-based games “should be aspiring to accomplish with their character dialogue, presentation, and voice acting”. However, they’re extremely critical of the combat: “Naughty Dog still can’t seem to make decent gun combat in any of their games, and this is no exception. Luckily for them it fits in with the game’s theme and pushes the player towards using stealth head-on.”
The review goes on to gripe about the weapon switching system, before concluding that “not every team has the talent or money to produce [a game like it]”. We strongly disagree with the complaints about the combat, to be honest – pound-for-pound, we’d argue it’s the most pulsating third-person shooter of the PS4 era – but it all comes down to personal preference we suppose. We wonder what these same staffers will think of the title’s upcoming multiplayer spin-off.
In other news, a similar document reveals that Microsoft was at one point considering reducing its royalties on Xbox software sales – although, in a statement to The Verge, a spokesperson said it “will not be updating the revenue split for console publishers”. It recently made an adjustment to titles sold through its PC storefront, although obviously Windows is a different environment where multiple competitors exist within the same ecosystem.