Negative comments on a review are hardly a noteworthy occurrence, but they also aren’t typically posted by someone with worked to promote a game while not disclosing it. That’s been the case with The Fox Software’s recently released football title Active Soccer 2 DX. Fabio Viola, who runs the Italian studio’s communications and marketing, has been leaving comments on negative reviews for the game calling the reviewers “unprofessiona[l]” and asking if they “even played the game?”
This was first noticed in a comment on WeGotThisCovered’s 1.5/5 star review [full disclosure: I wrote said review] of Active Soccer 2 DX. Under the Facebook account ‘Retro gaming,’ he wrote “What a ridicolous review. Did you play the game?”
You can view that comment below:
A quick look at the Facebook page description reveals that ‘Retro gaming’ is a community hub designed “only for retro game lovers” that features “Fabio Viola’s old console and games collection!” The name seemed oddly familiar when I read it, and that was due to the fact that I had an email from Fabio in my inbox since he handled PR for Active Soccer 2 DX. This is despite him not being listed on The Fox Software’s website as a press contact, or in the game’s credits.
Here is a portion of an email confirming that Fabio handled the game’s review code distribution:
This is not the only review that Fabio has criticized on social media. He also sent out a tweet on his @Gamifications Twitter account that targeted another site, Pure Xbox [Full disclosure: I have written for Pure Xbox in the past and still occasionally contribute to the outlet]. He called Pure Xbox Editor-in-Chief Ken Barnes’ 3/10 review “ridicolous [sic].” Viola went on to state that Barnes’ criticisms were “unprofessiona[l]” and alleged a bias towards Sensible Soccer.
You can check out those lofty allegations here:
It’s not rare that a someone who worked on a game comments on a review, especially if it’s a negative one. In fact Gianluca Troiano of The Fox Software even commented on Pure Xbox’s review. The key here is that Gianluca clearly disclosed he was the developer and wasn’t hiding his relationship with the game. Conversely, Fabio Viola has gone to multiple sites, while not using his personal Twitter or Facebook accounts, to voice his displeasure with negative feedback. All while never mentioning that he worked on promoting Active Soccer 2 DX.
It’s not all negative, though. On Fabio Viola’s Reddit account, FabioViola100, he recommended the game in a forum thread on r/XboxOne. “I bought the game,” says Viola, who later goes on to describe it as “frenetic and fun.” His Reddit history also reveals him making similar comments about The Town of Light, another game he was involved in.
Active Soccer 2 DX is available now for Xbox One. The digital title costs $14.99 and currently has two reviews on OpenCritic that both equate to 30/100.
VP Daily has reached out to The Fox Software for comment, but has not heard back at time of publishing.