bio3 Is Irrational Games Being Irrational for Requiring an 85+ Metacritic Score?

Metacritic continues to play a big role in the videogame industry. A recent job posting by Irrational Games, best known for their Bioshock  series, requires the applicant be a super duper developer. What does it take to be such a developer? Among other things, it requires having been credited for at least one game that has received an 85+ average score on Metacritic.

It’s no secret that our industry leans heavily, or is leaned heavily upon, the aggregate scores listed on Metacritic. Obsidian, who developed Fallout: New Vegas , was promised a bonus if the game received at least an 85 average. The game ended up with an 84 average, and that 1 point cost the development team at Obsidian their bonus.

The principle behind utilizing Metacritic as a reward mechanism for game makers is noble enough – if you make a good game, or have made good games during your career, you should be rewarded for it. The problem is, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Or in other words, a great gaming experience for one person might be a so-so experience for another. It’s that dichotomic nature of videogames, or any piece of art or entertainment really, that makes using aggregate review scores as a reward system a scary prospect.

I like Metacritic, I think it’s a useful way to distinguish very good and very bad games. But when you think about it, the difference between a game with an average of 80 and one with an average of 85 is not so apparent.

Thanks go to Destructoid for pointing out the job posting!