Update: Sega has cited the official reasoning for not allowing media previews is due to a day one patch...that said Famitsu got a review and gave the game a 35/40
Sega isn't sending out review copies of Sonic Forces prior to launch, and that has some folks in the media very worried. Typically, when a company bars the media from seeing something prior to its release, it's because they're afraid of what will be said about the game prior to the general public going out to buy it. This prevents the game's media from reporting on any issues the game may have, and leaves it for the user to discover after they've handed over their money for the title.
What makes this situation doubly weird is that Sega didn't do this for Sonic Mania, which was released earlier this year and almost universally acclaimed. The fact that they would do this for one game, and then immediately turn around and bar the media from another Sonic title gives me pause as to what exactly they're afraid of people writing about.
Granted, games that have been held from the press until release have not always been bad. One recent example would be Doom, which had a campaign that was so good, people forgot the multiplayer was utter garbage at launch. Even then, most people knew Bethesda held the game because the state of the multiplayer (it's since been fully reworked) at the time was poor and they didn't want the media reporting that.
As far as strategy goes, holding the game is a poor one, because it then just prompts games media to write articles like this, and leads us all to blindly speculate the game is bad with no true idea whether it is or not. Sega could at least offer some form of explanation as to why they're holding the game, as I played snippets of it at E3 and had a good time! I had no reason to think the game was going to be bad then, although with this recent news I'm starting to wonder.
Do you think Sega is holding the game back because they are afraid reviews will be bad?