Gearbox’s Borderlands 2 had a bit of a rough time on Steam last week. Users of Valve’s digital distribution service have been review bombing the game in response to the announcement that its sequel would be an exclusive on the Epic Games Store. Now, Valve is stepping in to address the issue, marking last week’s reviews as “off topic review activity.”
Valve had previously announced the off-topic system as a means for combating this type of review bombing on Steam. As it happens, Borderlands 2 is the first game to have its reviews subject to it. If the system works as intended, the overall rating for Borderlands 2 will not be affected by the reviews in question. That said, this will also exclude the 2,000 or so positive reviews for Borderlands 2 during that time period.
This move from Valve is interesting in light of Borderlands 3 possibly not appearing on Steam. Gearbox’s Randy Pitchford made a statement on Twitter in response to this saying that the review bombing, and Valve’s lack of a response to these incidents made him happy about the decision to make Borderlands 3 exclusive to the Epic Games Store.
“That this misuse is possible and that Steam has no interest in correcting this misuse makes me kind of happy about 2K’s decision,” Pitchford said. He follows this up by saying that the incident “makes me want to reconsider Gearbox Publishing’s current posture on the platform.”
With this in mind, it’s hard not to think that Valve acting on the review bombing was done in part to appease the folks at Gearbox. It may be that the negative impact of the Borderlands 3 exclusivity announcement and the threat of possibly losing the entire franchise may have prompted Valve to act.
Review bombing has been a problem with Steam’s user review system for some time now. Regardless of the company’s intentions, it’s nice to see Valve actually do something about it for once.