Tom Clancy's The Division launches next week and Ubisoft is advising that reviewers will get copies the same time as the general public, meaning day-one reviews of the game will be unlikely.
"It's impossible for us to populate the servers in a way that would adequately replicate playing The Division on launch day," Ubisoft said. Therefore, "reviewers will start playing the game along with everyone else when it's released."
Servers for The Division will go live at midnight Australian time on March 8, which is 8 a.m. ET on March 7. Ubisoft is implying that will leave little time for the gaming press to generate a complete review, particularly one that includes a significant multiplayer component. The game, says Ubisoft, "was always designed to be a seamless online experience, giving players the option play solo or a group."
However, "We anticipate there may be some impressions posted online within the first few days of launch that were based on experiences within The Division Beta," Ubisoft said.
The Division held an open beta at the end of January that drew more than 6.4 million participants, a figure that Ubisoft called a record-breaker for this console generation. Polygon's impressions of the beta may be read here.
Ubisoft's review advisory, while somewhat unusual for a major publisher, is likely influenced by the harsh criticism it took in 2014 over the review conditions it set for Assassin's Creed Unity, a game that launched with many problems. Ubisoft gave advance copies to the press on the condition that their reviews would not be published until noon of the launch day, for a heavily marketed game that many in the public had pre-ordered and would be picking up 12 hours earlier.
In response to that controversy, Ubisoft promised it would be "changing the way we work with reviewers," and offer consumers "open betas or other early access to some games, all so that they have the information they need and want."
Tom Clancy's The Division, announced at E3 2013, launches March 8 on PlayStation 4, Windows PC and Xbox One.