Fast-forward 20 years and Ubisoft is doing something similar with The Crew. According to the latest company blog post, the open world MMO racer won't be given to media outlets in advance of its December 2nd release, ostensibly so that reviewers can experience the game in "optimal conditions" that include lots of other players.
"The Crew was built from the beginning to be a living playground full of driving fans, so it's only possible to assess our game in its entirety with other real players in the world," the company says. "And by other, we mean thousands and thousands and thousands of players – something that can't be simulated with a handful of devs playing alongside the press." Ubisoft goes on to say that any reviews that do appear on release day will be built around media preview sessions from the title's beta phases and thus will not "reflect the finished game."