I don’t know Gerstmann personally, nor have I created any real sort of impression on his work, but you don’t spend ten years doing what you love at a company only to be fired for simply voicing the opinion that you’re paid to give. Either pressure was applied to get rid of him because of Kane & Lynch, or it might have been for other reasons. We may never know, but it’s hard not to dismiss Eidos’ ad campaign and tie ins to Gamespot as having nothing to do with it on some level. Joystiq had a chance to ask him about what he’s going to do next and his feelings on what just happened, and his answers show that he’s a pretty cool headed guy. When Richard Garriot left Origin/EA, nary a word was said until a year later when Gamespy interviewed him on the reasons he had left. I expect the same here, but I’m not holding my breath, either.
In any case, Gamespot’s management have pretty much managed to piss off most everyone on the ‘net. I don’t envy the position that the journalists and other writers within the company are in right now, especially in going through the links that Virtual Fools has put together collecting all of what is being said about the event. One reported possibility is that Gerstmann refused to play ball with one of the execs when he was asked to change his review to alter its tone. VF thinks that could hold more weight than most anything else that was reported, and I’ve seen enough corporate warfare on my side of the fence to know that it could very well be true. Corporations care only about one thing = profit. Anyone that refuses to play along is usually replaced. Given time, it will all blow over. That’s the approach that they could be banking on.
It’ll be a part of ‘net history, a lot of people will eventually forget it happened, and it will become a meme whenever a bad review comes up on Gamespot that someone might get fired again. But one thing is for sure: Gamespot’s credibility has really forced a lot of people to take a closer look at how marketing and reviews really tie in together at these larger sites. That, and quite a few people have already made it a point never to forget as they punch the delete key on the Gamespot entry in their bookmarks.