Not A Man, A Number: Metacritic Rates Devs

Well, that told him

If it exists, it must have a number stuck to it: this is the Metacritic way. Its voracious maw of review aggregation has now expanded to include individual developers – which means actual people are now being given a personal numerical rating. This is an average number (out of 100) based on the various reviews of games they’ve worked on. I must confess I find this concept mildly sinister, but maybe I’d feel differently if I was able to go around telling people I was worth 91%.

So, who of the many alumni of PC gaming has been treated favourably by this new system? And who’s fallen foul of it? Who is empirically proven to be the better man: Warren Spector or Ken Levine? Richard Garriott or Derek Smart? John Carmack, John Romero or American McGee? And Portal’s Erik Wolpaw or Portal’s Chet Faliszek? And which poor bastard was deemed to be worth just 8%?

Here’s who I’ve looked up so far – I am, of course, expecting you to suggest further honourable gentlebeings below. This is achieved simply by typing dudes and dudettes’ names into the main search box on Metacritic.

  • Cevat Yerli (Crytek): 91
  • Bill Roper (Blizzard/Flagship/Cryptic): 90
  • Ken Levine (Irrational): 89
  • Chet Faliszek (Valve): 89
  • Erik Wolpaw (Valve/Double Fine): 88
  • Sid Meier (Firaxis/Microprose): 86
  • American McGee (id/EA/Spicy Horse) : 86
  • Cliff Bleszinski (Epic): 86
  • Doug Church (Looking Glass/Ion Storm/EA/Valve): 84
  • Warren Spector: (Origin/Looking Glass/Ion Storm/Junction Point) 82
  • Peter Molyneux (Bullfrog/Lionhead): 82
  • Chris Avellone (Black Isle/Obsidian): 81
  • Chris Taylor (Gas Powered Games/Cavedog): 80
  • Brian Reynolds (Microprose/Firaxis/Big Huge Games/Zynga): 79
  • John Carmack (id): 78
  • Ruslan Didenko (GSC Gameworld): 77
  • Julian Gollop (Mythos/Ubisoft): 76
  • John Romero (Origin/id/Ion Storm/Midway/Monkeystone/Gazillion/Loot Drop): 75
  • Richard Garriot (Origin/NCsoft/Portalarium): 66
  • Derek Smart (3000AD): 61
  • Oleksandr Khrutskyy (Deep Shadows): 61
  • Sergey Titov (Stellar Stone): 8

Phew! Much to comment on there (Garriott and Roper make for particularly interesting discussion points in and of themselves; the former’s recent games have soured his mighty past achievements, while the latter’s Blizzard mega-scores mask troubled times such as Hellgate and Champions), but let’s use as our launching point Valve’s Wolpaw and Faliszek.

The ex-Old Man Murray pair have worked together for most of their adult lives, but have different scores. Chet is officially one better than Erik. Will he gloat and chuckle and sneer about this every day? Will Erik fall into a deep, dark depression that results in him carving ’88’ into every tree trunk, car door and human face in Seattle? Who knows.

What we do know is that the disparity results from Wolpaw having worked on one game that Faliszek didn’t – Psychonauts – while Wolpaw isn’t credited as having worked on the Left 4 Dead games. The latter was generally better-reviewed than Psychonauts: hence the mystery 1%.

My fear is that the games industry might use this system as a factor when looking to recruit people or decide on payrises. Metacritic numbers have already been known to affect the likes of retailer stock buys, publishers and studios’ public profiles (“we are/want to be a 90% Metacritic average company” is a refrain I’ve heard many times of late, especially from larger devs and publishers) and even developer bonuses. I can all too easily imagine a firm deciding it will only hire or promote staff of a certain score or higher, believing that to be the benchmark of their aptitude, and thus an indicator of how likely their work is to bring in the high scores and thus the high revenues.

“Only 88%? Not good enough, Mr Wolpaw. We’re after an 89%er at the very least.” “If you’re not worth 91% by Christmas you won’t get that payrise you need to feed your 18 children, Meier.” And pity the guys with a 60 or 70 albatross hung around their necks. What if they’ve just not been able to be attached to a big, expensive manshoot project that attracts enough breathless, drooling reviews from shooter-hungry review sites? Cutting one’s teeth on lower-key projects is no bad thing, and frankly learning hard lessons on shitty, underfundedgames is only going to increase your skills. This doesn’t meaningfully reflect any of that, or a whole lot more.

For instance, let’s try Ruslan Didenko, lead designer on the last two STALKER games. He’s a 77, which by current games industry score perception standards means mediocrity. Yet we know STALKER titles are amongst the most technically and creatively ambitious, clever and atmospheric videogames of recent years; yet their relative inaccessibility (by mainstream standards) mean they’ll never score the big numbers on some of the biggest sites/publications. Not to mention that Stalker Clear Sky was a bit of a boo-boo (at least at launch) so it’s understandable that its numbers are a bit lower than its successor, Call of Pripyat. Yet Pripyat demonstrated deftly that the devs had learned their lesson and honed their craft. Does a personal rating of 77 reflect that accurately?

Similarly Deep Shadows’ Oleksandr Khrutskyy, one of the lead designers on Boiling Point. That might be a game of legendary comedy, but in a very real way it’s an incredible technical achievement from a tiny team with a tiny budget. 61% doesn’t exactly convey how driven Khrutskyy surely is.

Then there’s poor, poor Sergey Titov, who was producer and programmer on Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing. Apparently he is only 8% good enough. There is 92% wrong with this person. How’s that going to look on the CV? Quite clearly Metacritic scores will not be the only factor involved in hiring and salary decisions, not by a long way: my feeling is simply that they perhaps shouldn’t be involved at all. I’m not sure what other purpose this new rating has, however. Theories?

Sure, it’s an entertainingly, perhaps even passingly informative idea to see and do these kinds of rankings, but I’m concerned they paint a incredibly inaccurate picture of a developer’s achievements and skills. Aggregating game review scores might be a useful touchstone but unavoidably loses nuance – do we really want that of people too?


  1. ix says:

    The only reason metacritic scores of games are tied to bonuses is because those scores seem to correlate well with overall sales numbers. You bring out a game that scores 90+ in all the major magazines, you’re pretty sure it’s a hit. It makes sense to give bonuses for stuff that sells well (while game developers might be in it for the games, publishers are in it for the money). If anybody has a correlation coefficient for the past year of so that would be interesting btw.

    On the other hand, Individual developer scores will not correlate at all with their ability to do their job well. It wouldn’t make sense for publishers to try to use this. I’m betting they’re at least smart enough to know that.

    Of course, past experience does matter. But that’s the kind of stuff that comes up in the interview process. I bet people who’ve worked on Big Rigs do get a couple of questions about it.

  2. The Magic says:

    My friend is a complete and utter Nintendo fanboy, so finding out that Shigeru Miyamoto is only 80% has made my day.
    He is officially worse than American Mcgee

    …UPDATE, he’s 9 worse than VIN DIESEL. Riddick is officially a better game developer than Shigeru Miyamoto, AND Satoru Iwata (who has 79%)

  3. Gary W says:

    The games journalists and the developers of AAA games are locked inside a self-sustaining feedback loop that allows them to buy cocaine and protect their own livelihoods. It’s Metacritic’s job to sit on the sidelines and document this curious process, guaranteeing a steady flow of cocaine for the employees at CBS.

    The feedback loop begins to fall apart when the games or the cocaine become too watered-down. The exact point at which this happens is currently unknown, but several industry professionals are busy working on a reliable metric.

  4. pyjamarama says:

    Poor Johnny Depp he only has a 62 in metacritic I’m sure he is scrambling for work now and is paycheck must simply be near zero.

    Metacritc recognizing game developers has people not just faceless corporations is a positive thing, we should recognize the people that make gaming great not just the company logos on the box. The average score is just a number not of any significant importance, any company that would hire someone just looking at that number is company that isn’t’ going to be around for long.

  5. Ravenger says:

    I’ve worked on over 60 games with various roles including testing, art, design, assistant producer, project lead, lead designer, etc. How many games of mine does Metacritic say I’ve worked on?

    Seven – and that includes two games I didn’t work on, and three skus of the lowest rated game I’ve ever worked on, handily dropping my score down quite a bit.

    I really hope that employers don’t start using this to gauge how good potential employees are. It’s about as accurate as the average horoscope.

    • myca77 says:

      I’ve got none listed, at least MobyGames have got a few of the titles I’ve worked on (granted for a short while someone with the same name seemed to be taking my credit, but I wanted some of his jobs on my list).
      Funny thing is if you only took the Bethesda and Blizzard stuff I’ve worked of I’d be at over 90%, whereas once you add some off the “other” titles I’ve worked on that score would quickly diminish, yet I’d like to think that what little part I had in each game I’ve worked on was always done with the same amount of quality.

      Edit, damn, I’ve just seen that the other me has gotten my credit for Starcraft 2 on moby games, cue an angry email going out in about 2 minutes :)

    • Nick says:

      Personally I’d make a complaint if I were a developer.

    • bob_d says:

      Not to mention that this is Metacritic data; there’s no way it’s remotely relevant to individuals even if it was accurate in its credits.

  6. Okami says:

    Their database sucks. Many games don’t even include credits and others are incomplete – and a lot of games (especially budget titles or games that o ly had regional releases) don’t even showing up. If they really feel the need to go on with this retarded idea, they should team up with mobygames and use their database to decide which developer worked on which games..

  7. Freud says:

    I am glad that the companies that care mostly about metacritic get punished a little bit when churning out lazy stuff (Mafia 2 and Dragon Age 2). At least it shows the system isn’t totally broken. Just partly broken.

    Meanwhile, the system works horribly for smaller publishers/developers, who doesn’t have the marketing/bargaining power of the big guys. The correlation between reviews and how good indie games are is very small.

  8. Multidirectional says:

    So, idiot Mike Laidlaw is 16 points better than wonderful Tim Cain.. Part of me wants big studios to actually base their hiring decisions on this so the game industry can collapse faster. We’ve been needing a fresh start for a while now.

  9. shoptroll says:

    Will Wright’s at 81. That puts him in the soggy middle with Warren and the rest of the gang.

    Not sure I’m terribly happy they’re doing this. It’s an incredibly broken system when you consider how long some of these people have been in the industry. The Metacritic listing for Wright completely lacks anything predating The Sims and I’m sure that’s the case with Molyneaux and others as well.

    I’d much rather see metacritic ratings for studios not designers. Games an are ensemble effort.

  10. Yargh says:

    I despise any system that attempts to apply statistics at the level of the individual.

    And I’m even more angry with the principle that anything scored below 80% is somehow below average.

    • Urthman says:

      Somebody’s confused about percentages. I’ve taken plenty of classes where an 80% on an exam would be below average.

      I’ve never seen a games review site where their score was supposed to mean “this game is in the 80th percentile of all games.”

      (None of which is meant as a defense of MetaCritic or the general stupidity of game scoring.)

    • Temple to Tei says:

      And, I’ve seen plenty that no one ever gets over 80%.
      (that is not as short and snippy as it reads, just cannot think of more to say. Something like the bar moves?)

    • bob_d says:

      @ Urthman: Well, in the standard (US) grading system, tests and assignments are supposed to be calibrated such that 70% is considered “average.” (This is not to say that there aren’t individual grading systems that are different, nor that a majority of students might not be above or below average in a particular class.) If 80% is considered “average” however, it does skew things in odd ways, especially if you grew up with 70% being “average,” where you end up with a combination of psychological effects and less granularity tin defining “above average,” “good” and “excellent” games.

  11. Acosta says:

    I think it´s quite interesting, the idea at least. The execution is absolutely horrible. For an actor/director, his role is probably going to be the same in the next project: being actor or director, not photography director, so it makes sense to see a media of their work. But in this industry, where one can pass go from QA to designer, then to lead designer and lastly to director, does this makes any sense? (That without mentioning how inaccurate many lists are at this moment.)

  12. Warskull says:

    This is actually kind of a good idea. They should just rate studios instead of individual developers. If a studio makes crap games, they usually continue to make crap games, while if they make good games you can reasonably assume the next game will be good.

    The only problem is individuals may work on a game, but have very little influence if it is good or bad. Measuring the studio as a whole would make more sense. Plus, the games industry is intentional horrible with credits in an attempt to hide their talent and keep them underpaid.

    • bob_d says:

      Actually it doesn’t work for studios for some of the same reasons it doesn’t work for individuals – it ignores the role of publishers, for example, in game quality and perception (which, let’s face it, is a big part of these aggregate scores). I’ve worked on projects that were pretty well sabotaged by the publishers.
      Even if we assume that the scores represent actual game quality for which the developers are alone responsible, that’s going to vary over time for a development studio depending on their resources and control over a project (young studios usually have very little of either). Even if you considered more recent games as being more relevant, an established company might run low on funds and have to pump out a cheap (i.e. lower rated) game or two to get back on their feet. A company like Blizzard has enough financial control over their products that they can release highly polished games (and even completely kill games that are below their expectations). Even though the gameplay is unoriginal, they’re still going to score higher than a company that makes incredibly innovative but “rough around the edges” games.

  13. J-Han says:

    Metacritic serves its purpose well. It’s designed by and for people who don’t think.

  14. Calabi says:

    So what is the point of this? Why have they done this? Are they working up to giving every facebook individual a percentage rating?

    I just cannot fathom, it is sick and it should be banned(and I’m not joking). Isnt it illegal under human rights as in you have a right, not to be a number, or given an aggregate score for your work(or some such nonsense).

    • Berzee says:

      um…yes. It is illegal to make a website that gives people numbers. It is totally against all the laws.

      All of them.

    • Acorino says:


      (yeah, I had to explicitly bring in a “The Prisoner” reference here….)

  15. Jake says:

    Hmm, I think the high percentage developers should be paired off and bred together, they have good games developer genetic stock.

    I look forward to when they implement this rating system in Facebook – you could give your friends a percentage! High percentage people could get paired off and given the good jobs and maybe a discreet cull of all the sub-10%ers. I wonder how I sign up to give one of those TED talks…

  16. Stoloniferous says:

    I sent the following to Metacritic yesterday:

    I am distressed that Metacritic is now choosing to rate developers of games. Most who work on projects that flopped had little choice in the matter. If your rating system is taken seriously by anyone in the industry, which I hope and suspect it will not be, it will make life even more difficult for start-up companies, as those who are concerned about their career rating will head for the larger and more stable development houses. Companies will be less likely to take on the risk of innovative games if those involved know there is even more at stake than their current job. Please ditch this terrible idea ASAP.
    -(developer) at (studio)

    The following response was in my inbox today. Make of it what you will.

    Hey (developer),
    Thanks so much for your note. Currently, Metacritic is sharing a credits database with GameFAQs, and it’s a work in progress. We’re never going to assign “people” Metascores – we’re just listing what they worked on – in the same way we list what movies cast members, directors, and writers worked on in the movies section – and the “career” score is a simple average of those individual projects. It’s a work in progress, something that we’re going to beef up to make much more complete (with help from the gaming community). We’ll never “rank” people like we do products. You’ll never see a “top 10 producers” or anything like that.
    Interestingly, we’ve been doing this for a long time, and it seems like nobody noticed until this weekend! But I can tell you that we’re taking the reaction to it seriously, and we’re working to improve the product.
    Marc Doyle

    • Berzee says:

      Dear sir,

      you are the most and only useful person in this comment thread, myself included.

      Thanks =)

    • Thants says:

      We’re never going to assign “people” Metascores, and here’s how we assign people Metascores.

  17. Plopsworth says:

    An odd comparison:

    Jordan Mechner
    Average Movie career score: 50
    Average Game career score: 87

    Steve Purcell
    Average Movie career score: 73
    Average Game career score: 65

    Dan Houser: 90 (Rockstar)

    And some bigger names from the European action/adventure scene:
    Michel Ancel: 79 (Rayman, Beyond Good & Evil)
    Frederick Raynal: 66 (Alone in the Dark, Little Big Adventure)
    David Cage: 84 (Fahrenheit, Heavy Rain)

  18. Derek Smart says:

    These fuckers are just dying to be sued.

    Apart from that, the system isn’t even weighted correctly. Someone needs to go back to math 101.

    You can’t give the points of a game to a sole person when in fact it takes a LOT more people to create the game.

    Apart from that, my guess is that most of us in that list have made more money than the next person because it is widely known that a LOT of highly reviewed games LOST money.

    So wtf is this system for then?

  19. Dan Forever says:

    You also have to bear in mind that the credits listings are incomplete (neither Metacritic nor Mobygames have quite the ability that IMDB does when it comes to keeping credits up to date, yet).
    Cevat is only listed for Crysis 1, hence the score of 91 (clicking on many of the developers listed in the credits will also only list them as having worked on Crysis and so they’ll also have an identical score).

  20. Derek Smart says:

    Yeah, it’s rubbish. But that didn’t stop crazy execs (see EA and Take 2) from taking stuff like this seriously and basing a game’s success or failure on someone’s PERSONAL and aggregated metrics.

    Crazy stuff.

    • Deano2099 says:

      Kind of interesting though isn’t it. People generally think assessing games based on metacritic score is a horrendous practice, but it’s at least a step up from basing it entirely on sales like we used to?

      I don’t know how else you could do it, if you base it on a small sub-set of reviewers then you encourage the marketing people to focus on those publications… And you can’t just hand it to an exec and say “play it and see if you think it’s good enough to pay a bonus” either …

  21. champagneivy says:

    Hahaha my metacritic score is ten points higher than Peter Molyneux’s. I never realized what an industry big shot I was.

    This whole thing is completely ridiculous though. I have a high metacritic score for art credit on a single very successful game. John Carmack has a 78 despite being a mega-genius. It would seem to make a little more sense for people like Carmack and Molyneux than for artists or coders though, whose individual contributions become mashed up into a shared communal score, but again, obviously a complete failure if Carmack has a 78.

    • Stoloniferous says:

      Thanks goodness GameFAQ has such shoddy records of the games I have worked on. To them, I don’t exist. I would have feigned insult at that a few days ago. Now I’m relieved, because it keeps me from having a Metacritic rating.

  22. Malibu Stacey says:

    So how’s it work if you’ve a common name like John Smith or Dave Jones or something? How do they know simply from a credits list whether the James MacLeod listed on generic angry man shooter is or isn’t the same person as listed on indie puzzler or Space 4X game or whatever?

    • Stoloniferous says:

      It works poorly. One of my coworkers’ scores is all muddled up with another dev by the same name.

    • bob_d says:

      Plus the credits are incredibly incomplete – I couldn’t even find a friend with a dozen+ titles under his belt, but instead it showed me an actor of the same name.

  23. Joof says:

    This whole thing reminds me of the movie Dead Poets Society, where they are reading about the chart for ranking poetry. Then they rip it out of the book because it’s really really dumb.

  24. Barman1942 says:

    Adam Sessler’s take on Metacritic:

  25. bluebottle says:

    So, anyone want to help me with my site that reviews and gives a numerical score to review-aggregation sites? I’ll going to be called metacriticcritic.

    If we get enough sites doing the same we can then set up another site that aggregates all their scores, and call it something like metametacriticcritic. The circle will then be complete*.

    *Which hopefully will cause the whole inbred scene to collapse into a pointless hole of retardation, where it belongs.

  26. Premium User Badge

    Hodge says:

    This is just the beginning of the beginning.

    Within a few years, game development companies will have completely restructured their dev teams so they consist entirely of Metacritic ninety-or-aboves. Employee salaries will rise commensurately with Metacritic scores. Soon after, an unofficial blacklist will be adopted industry-wide to ensure that no ‘eighties’ remain to dilute the pool (famously, Jonathon Blow will be let go by EA because, although he has a Metacritic score of 93, he ‘reads more like an eighty-five’). Later still, governments around the world will adopt the blacklist and make it the central plank of an internationally recognised industry code of conduct.

    As a result, development teams will dwindle in both size and number as the dead wood is cut. The money saved in wages will be redirected to the games themselves, leading to an astronomical rise in game budgets. This combination of big money and small teams means that game development will become a protracted but lavish affair. Characters – even minor roles with one or two lines – will be voiced by the biggest Hollywood stars and cut-scenes directed by the likes of Fincher, Tarantino and the Coens. Development time will stretch into decades, to the point where the console manufacturers begin to fold as game systems live out their entire seven-year lifespans before a single game is completed to run on them.

    This will allow the development companies to swoop in and acquire the rights to the consoles for a song, effectively allowing them to control the release dates of the consoles to coincide with their big game launches. They soon will take it one step further, merging the two that each game is sold on its own dedicated console – thereby guaranteeing hardware sales and eliminating piracy. Encouraged by the windfall in sales this will surely bring, the game companies inflate their budgets yet again, and invest millions in dedicated hardware for their upcoming releases.

    Around this time, the industry will attract criticism from some quarters. John Romero will point out that, since adopting the Metacritic policy, the industry has shrunk to a fraction of its original size and spent millions of dollars, yet has failed to deliver a single game. Bill Roper will simply respond, ‘that’s exactly what I’d expect a 75 to say.’ But Romero’s observation will ring true – with no new products to bring in revenue, the game companies will finally begin to exhaust their cash reserves. With games now fundamentally tied to hardware, the softcos will be reticent to release anything – as soon as anyone announces a launch date, their competitors can announce a higher-specced system/game for the same date and effectively corner the market. Basically, the first company to announce will be doomed to failure, and so they all do nothing. One by one, the software publishers will run out of money and be acquired by their competitors. This climate of mergers and acquisitions will continue until the entire industry has conglomerated into a single company – Übersoft.

    The perfect gaming company: staffed exclusively with the industry’s highest Metacritic-approved talent and with a total monopoly over both the software and hardware markets. With no competitors to threaten their dominant position, Übersoft will immediately release their meisterwerk: Halo Medal of Duty (Singing Pony Edition). Larger than any other game ever, and making full use of its built-in dedicated renderfarm, HMoD(SPE) will be met with universal critical acclaim. The one remaining gaming magazine, Edge-O-GamerTM (the magazine industry having shrunk and consolidated in parallel with the games industry) will be ecstatic after decades of having no product to review, and in a fit of unbridled enthusiasm will award the game a perfect score of 100.

    In spite of this, the game will be a complete commercial failure. Gamers in a recession-riddled economic climate will be reluctant to splash out US$750 just to play a single game and within days the game will be cracked to run on any jailbroken iPhone, resulting in the highest piracy rate of any game in history. It will, however, prove to be a huge financial success for Übersoft. By this time Metacritic scores will have long since become the only metric by which a games company is judged. As Übersoft is technically a new company which has only released a single title, it now has an unprecedented perfect Metacritic score of 100. Übersoft’s stock price will surge as a result, making it the single wealthiest entity in human history, dwarfing the economies of China and the US.

    It will be the story of the decade, the Facebook of its time. The Time Magazine issue with the cover featuring Übersoft’s logo and nothing else will be the highest-selling ever. The Spielberg-directed docu-drama will break records at the box office. Families, businesses and governments alike will invest their savings in the one true company, as the share price continues to surge to stratospheric levels.


    Several years later, a retired games journalist will be riling around the $2 bin at his local chemist (an odd place to be looking for games for sure, but he’s acting on a tip from an old friend who always had a great eye for bargains) and he’ll come across a boxed Halo Medal Of Duty (Singing Pony Edition). He’ll indulge in a quiet snigger – the story of game’s failure is legendary by this point, having famously been recalled after two weeks and quietly buried as news of Übersoft’s market fortunes was spreading. He will briefly think it ironic that he found it in a chemist owned by Übersoft, before realising that since Übersoft own everything it would be ironic to find it anywhere. Still… remarkable that this one somehow slipped through the net. He’ll eagerly pay his $2 and run home to to see if it lives up to that famous Edge-O-GamerTM review.

    Soon after, he will post a review of sorts on his blog. In this review, he will make note of the game’s incredible graphics (although nominally remaining a games company, Übersoft will not release anything else after HMoD(SPE)’s failure, effectively ending the games industry. As a result, HMoD(SPE) will remain technically cutting-edge, even years after its release). The review will also praise the game for its vast size and variety of quests, but will also voice disappointment at the barren landscape, poor writing and the game’s general lack of ambition. In the weeks after the review is posted, the retired journalist’s blog will be inundated with comments from fans of the game saying that the review was far too negative.

    Meanwhile, sole remaining editor of the dormant-for-years Metacritic site will come across the review and, overcome by a wave of nostalgia, feel an obligation to update the HMoD(SPE) page. He will see that the new review has no score attached, but he will also see the dozens of angry comments citing it as too negative. To incite that kind of reaction, the review must indeed be quite negative, so he will arbitrarily assign the review a score of 3/10. He will update the Metacritic site with this new information, giving the game a new aggregate score of 6.5/10.

    News of the updated Metacritic score will spread first through the gaming blogs, and then through the business and finance journals. As Metacritic is still the sole metric by which game companies are judged and Halo Medal Of Duty (Singing Pony Edition) is still Übersoft’s sole release, Übersoft’s standing will plummet overnight, triggering a share price free-fall. This will immediately cause a worldwide depression, as families, businesses and governments alike realise that they’ve lost millions on their investments.

    Übersoft’s Board of Directors will call an emergency meeting to discuss ideas on how to turn the fortunes of the company – and of the world – around. Unfortunately, the outlook will be grim. As Übersoft fortunes were a direct result of its Metacritic reputation (which had now been shot to pieces), the only way to improve things would be to write some well-received games to try to bring the rating back up again. But the new review will have dragged Übersoft’s entire programming roster down below the 90-or-more Metacritic threshold, and Übersoft will be legally obligated to let them all go, as per the industry code of conduct. Even worse, this will mean that every single developer on the planet has a score below 90, so it will be illegal to hire any of them. The only way to change this would be to lobby governments to abolish the code of conduct, but this will require money which Übersoft doesn’t have.

    Realising that they have painted themselves into a corner, the Übersoft directors will opt to simply dissolve the company unofficially and go into hiding. Meanwhile, riots and looting will become commonplace as the Übersoft crash resets the entire world economy to zero.

    This will be the beginning of the end.

    And that is why Metacritic is silly :).

    • Berzee says:

      So, what happens now is that studios start salary negotiations on the basis of these scores.

      (don’t think it won’t happen, bonus payouts already depend on Metacritic scores for the games themselves)

    • Berzee says:

      also: Boohahah Lol :D

    • Bret says:


      In that scenario, exactly one man can still create games. Jonathan Blow.

      We’ll get lots of words about nothing before every clever puzzle and like it, won’t we?

  27. Carra says:

    I rate Alec 92%.

  28. Derek Smart says:

    @ Hodge

    I frigging read ALL that. Can I have my 30 secs back now please? ;)

  29. Grayvern says:

    I want to say that metacritic have lost all shreds of social responsibility by doing this but at the same time given the reliance on quantification I want to say that this means metacritic is now lawful evil, the dilemma.

  30. Pretzel says:

    So, I gots me an 89%, which puts me about 18 of the 22 people on that list. I always knew I was great. Suck it Molyneux!

    Strange that no one’s heard of me. ;)

  31. Moonracer says:

    If they wanted to delve deeper in reviews how about a system where review sites get reviewed and their score influences their rating of a game’s effect on the total. That way a site with a 50% approval rating would only have half the effect on the total score as one with 100% approval.

  32. rammjaeger says:

    I’m not quite sure what to think about this. If your number is high, then it is bragging rights for sure. But your number could be low, and it has nothing to do with you. You could be an amazing programmer, but work at a company that has crap leadership and designs bad games. And that wouldn’t be the programmers fault. I hired a brilliant programmer that worked on 1 game that had a really bad metacritic score.

    Also, the system is highly inaccurate. For instance, looking at my score for John Gibson, I’ve got an 80. But it lists a bunch games I didn’t work on (Motorstorm, Star Trek, Family Feud), while leaving off games I did work on (Killing Floor, America’s Army Special Forces). The only game it got right was Red Orchestra.

    So anyway, by Metacritic’s reckoning, I’m cooler than John Carmack because he has a 77. And that guy is infinitely cooler and more successful than me in reality. Not to belittle my own achievements, but that guy created Doom for petes sake!!! He invented the FPS genre for all intents and purposes.

  33. Jason Moyer says:

    Did they remove the developer career scores? I looked up Emil Pagliarulo (who I’d imagine would rate above 90) and there’s no career score listed.

    • Matt says:

      Yes – they admitted their data was a bit shit (Cliff Bleszinski worked on Geist?) and turned off the average scores. You can still look up a developer to see a list of their games’ scores though.
      link to

  34. MultiVaC says:

    Oh god, according to this Cevat Yerli is the greatest video game designer that ever lived. I already cringed when I saw “A Cevat Yerli Game” in the intro of Crysis 2. Now get ready for “Cevat Yerli Presents Cevat Yerli’s Crysis 3: MAXIMUM CEVAT YERLI (A Cevat Yerli Production)”!

  35. lordfrikk says:

    Haha this brings up very bad memories of World of Warcraft and the infamous Gearscore addon, which basically boiled your character down to a single number based on the absolute values of your gear and didn’t really tell you anything about the skill of the player or even if the gear is correct for that specific class or build. Still, it managed to take over the recruitment to groups on a lot of servers so when you entered a city you mostly saw “LFG (Looking for Group) DUNGEON_ACRONYM GS_VALUE+” where GS_VALUE was usually a number so high for the selected dungeons that people got flamed to all hell. It didn’t cease one bit despite this, though… it probably looks like that even know, but I wouldn’t know since I stopped playing some time ago…