We’ve had numerous discussions here about the relevance of review scores and Metacritic – wondering just how much they really matter. It seems they matter a heck of a lot if you’re looking for a job at BioShock developers Irrational Games.
In rather extensive list of requirements for a design manager position seen on neoGAF, Irrational says the candidate must have "Credit on at least one game with an 85+ Average Metacritic Review Score." And that’s a requirement – not something that’ll be used for extra brownie points.
Irrational obviously wants to hire people with a proven track record – but Is a Metacritic score really a measure of a person’s ability? Making big budget games is a team effort – and you could have the most creative talented people putting their everything in to a game’s development – only to have publishing executives alter those games’ direction.
Of course, pretty much every industry requires some sort of brag sheet as a requisite – but is placing emphasis on an aggregate of review scores (half of which are arbitrarily assigned) the right way to go about it, especially considering how Metacritic assigns numerical value to reviews that, for example, use stars or letters for grading games. Couple that with the fact that there are no real standards for scoring review (your 8 might be my 6, for example), and a metacritic average really starts looking like a skewed metric to base employment on.
There’s also no guarantee that good review scores equate to good sales – and considering that Irrational’s end goal is to make money wouldn’t you want to base your barrier of entry on that?
It’s all pretty reminiscent of the really sad news that Obsidian missed out on a bonus payout for Fallout: New Vegas – purely because they missed a Metacritic target – by one measly point.
Irrational’s next game is the incredible Bioshock Infinite – which has been delayed to early next year…probably so they can work on ensuring a high Metacritic score.
Last Updated: July 27, 2012