Gamespot: Brief 9.5 for GTA IV was a 'bug'

[Update: Gamespot EIC Ricardo Torres has posted a fuller explanation of what exactly caused the bug. In short, Torres says the 9.5 review was not final and was changed to a ten during the regular peer review process. A glitch in Gamespot's servers caused the score to be briefly published before it was ready.]

Given the flood of perfect review scores for Grand Theft Auto IV, observant gamers were justifiably surprised when a score of 9.5/10 briefly appeared on Monday. That surprise turned to confusion in some quarters when the score (which had no accompanying review) was quickly taken down and later replaced with the fifth 10/10 in Gamespot's history (complete with corresponding review text). Message boards and some blogs jumped at the change, throwing around charges of "review fixing" and alluding to Gamespot's recent Gerstmann-related credibility problems.

Don't go running for your pitchforks and torches just yet, though. According to a forum post by Gamespot's Aaron Thomas, the briefly displayed 9.5 was just a pre-production glitch and never an official review score. "We never posted a review with the score of 9.5," Thomas writes. "What you saw was a bug that sometimes causes scores to appear on the site before reviews go live. Sometimes that score is correct, sometimes it isn't. In this case, it wasn't." Nothing to see here, folks. Move it along. Save your indignation for the thugs trying to push Niko around.

(full disclosure: I write a weekly column on the game media for Gamespot)