Reverb Publishing was forced this morning to clarify a press release which implied the company would only donate $5000 towards care for homeless cats if Edge of Space was approved on Steam Greenlight. The press release, while jovial in language, clearly said the money would only be donated to The Humane Society, an animal protection organization, if the game was approved by October 15 for release on Steam. The press release quickly dominated the comments on the game's Greenlight page, with views swinging both against and in defense of the publisher. This led Reverb to issue a clarification:
"Hey everyone! There has been a misunderstanding on the marketing side of Edge of Space. We do not support guilt voting in any way and our sincere apologies go out to anyone who felt that way. This was meant in fun, if anything, Reverb's intent was to add a bonus; if we can make it to the top 10 by the 15th, we will help out a worthy cause. Understand that there is some dark humor in the game and they wanted to play off of that. We love CATS!!! That's why we have them in our game to begin with! We have sugar bears too!!! So we like exotics."In the Greenlight page's comments section, Reverb's VP of business development Doug Kennedy claimed that "even before the promotion was approved" his company had agreed to make the donation to The Humane Society.
Whichever side you fall on, this is by far not the first time a game's controversial PR campaign didn't go as planned, and certainly not the first one involving animals. We're, of course, talking about the debacle surrounding Sony and the dead goat at the God of War II event. Then there are the things that sound cool on paper when they're dangerous or awkwardly unethical. The inarguable good side of this story is some homeless kittens will be getting much needed care.