Update: IGN Editor-in-Chief Steve Butts has now issued an apology for running the story, which you can read below.
Last night, I made a call to post a story about the cancellation of The Last Guardian. The source for this information was, in my opinion as IGN’s Editor in Chief, credible enough to justify running the story. While there is still a discrepancy with what our source has said, Scott Rohde’s Twitter post makes it clear that our original source was in error. The business of handling news sources involves some assumption of risk and last night my evaluation of that risk was clearly in error.
Given the responses to me on Twitter, it’s clear many of you would like to understand what happened. The first news came via IGN’s Russian team, who were traveling with a larger group of Russian journalists and the Sony representative who was the original source of the story. I double and triple checked the language and the context of the news, which, I learned, was delivered in a meeting at Sony Russia.
Concerned about the nuance, I confirmed with the Sony source, via IGN Russia, that the game was cancelled for all platforms. I reached out to Sony of America, who was unable to comment on the story. I published the story based on the strength of our single source. Soon after, Scott Rohde tweeted that the story was incorrect. Additional reports from our contact in IGN Russia did not clarify the situation, and it became increasingly clear that Rohde’s tweet was the more credible source.
Accordingly, I am issuing a retraction on our original story.
Butts then apologies to the IGN readers, Sony, and Team ICO. He also mentions that moving forward, they will be better with confirming rumors and framing headlines.
To IGN fans who have criticized the rest of the staff for this reporting, understand the decision to post this story was mine alone.
To Sony and Team ICO, who have had to address unexpected controversy on the eve of the year’s largest celebration of gaming, I apologize.
To gamers who feel misled by IGN on this point, I hope to win back your trust and have put in place additional rules to minimize the chance that these errors will occur again.
First, the burden of proof with regard to the source will be clearly outlined in any future reports. The initial story alluded to a source but gave the readers no chance to assess the trustworthiness of the source for themselves.
Second, the confirmation of facts that come from all but the most trusted of sources will require independent confirmation. This is already the standard for reporting at IGN and my failure is in not upholding that standard.
Third, with regard to headlines and social promotion of these stories, we will be much more clear in those cases where there is room for interpretation or ambiguity with regard to the facts.
IGN strives to be as accurate as possible in all its reporting and I apologize to our audience, our IGN staff, and Sony for the misrepresentation of the state of The Last Guardian. If it does appear at E3 this year, there will be a lot of happy gamers celebrating in our war room. I will be one of them.
Well, I guess that’s that. The Last Guardian isn’t dead…at least not yet.
Earlier today, IGN Russia posted a “confirmation” that Sony’s The Last Guardian has been cancelled. According to the site, it has received a report from an “internal source” that said the info was disclosed in “Sony’s internal meeting last week.”
Now, before you ballistic, this rumor has been debunked by Sony fast and hard over on Twitter. Scott Rhode, Software Product Development Head for Sony Worldwide Studios America, said that he — along with President of Worldwide Studios’ Shuhei Yoshida — “laughed” at this rumor over dinner.
— Scott Rohde (@RohdeScott) June 8, 2014
I don’t think you can get a more emphatic confirmation than that, no? Let’s hope that even with Team ICO now plugging away at The Last Guardian since its announcement back at E3 2009, that it will show itself at some point soon.
In our Sony E3 2014 predictions feature, we cite that we think The Last Guardian will make an appearance at this Monday’s Sony E3 press conference. Could Rhodes’ tweet be a sign of things to come?