It's great to hear that the game is this good by IGN's metric. As a pre-order customer, I'm thrilled. I'm not questioning that, just yet. What I'm questioning is the entire process by which a site puts up material the way IGN did with their "Review In Progress" leading to an embargo-beating review of the game, a review that happens to mention the game as being an early Game Of The Year contender. Let's be clear on this: IGN stands to gain financially by having a review up in an exclusive window. EA/38 stand to benefit financially by having that particular review up in an exclusive window in advance of release.
I can tell you this: if I were an editor at a competing online entity to IGN who had a review ready to run for the game, I might well be wondering who we had to know to get our review up for web traffic in a similar exclusive window.
Which begs the next question, which is one you cannot answer (this song isn't entirely about you, Mick Jagger), but which perhaps a folks who read IGN would sure like to know: had EA/38 politely told IGN "No, we'd rather you didn't do a Review In Progress, and we'd like you to honor the embargo please" would the review score be the same?
That's a question only the IGN editors can answer. From what you say, I will assume that it had no effect on their review, and it was written without bias based on exclusivity.
So here's the deal. I know who you are Menzo. You've been a longtime poster here on Qt3 (and I remember you running the Sierra community boards as well as other hats for GK3 back in the day), so if you say there's nothing untoward here, that's good enough for me. That said, I think the initial question is a good one, and one created by some pretty clumsy optics caused by this situation.
...and that's outstanding PR right there.But whatever. Pull your tinfoil hat down tight if that's what makes you feel comfortable.