Splash Damage studio director Paul Wedgwood has come out swinging against the score system Metacritic uses, arguing it's unfair.
Wedgwood firmly believes the games press should "go across to star ratings" and stop using percentages. These scores have begun to hurt paychecks as well he says.
"Personally I think it's ridiculous," he told in an interview. His big point of contention is when financial rewards for the studio are tied to the games Metacritic score.
"In the film industry, four stars is an amazing score. I think it's a really good idea for a developer to go to a publisher and demand that they get an additional bonus for achieving a certain review score, but it shouldn't affect their royalties or anything else. If you have a high-selling game, you have a high-selling game."
"We know that some websites score quite high and some quite low, but in general, all websites tend to score between 60 and 100. There's never a 37. It's as if that whole section doesn't exist, so zero starts at 60, so three stars, and goes up to five. It's just not really an accurate enough measure."
"Percentiles put too much pressure on a journalist to justify an exact score. It puts too much pressure on the developer to try and identify these criteria that lead to very specific point increases or decreases, which is not at all what the developer should be focusing on," he continued.
While Wedgwood may rail against the system he still admits his own teams "shameless pursuit of critical acclaim. It's not so much that it's purely the reception that we get from critics alone - we also mean critical acclaim from fans, and feeling like we've made something that they want to play. But really it's this notion that you focus on the quality of the game, you don't have a set release date irrespective of that.
It's now becoming a problem for the industry where games scoring 6 and 7's are considered total garbage, the high 8s are 'just good' and only the 9's secure the mantle of 'great and worthwhile'. Percentile scores are losing their credibility among readers and developers; they're just too fickle and inaccurate as Wedgwood notes.
Star ratings are friendlier to writer, reader and creator. Are stars or percentages more your thing videogamer? Should staff bonuses be at the mercy of the Metacritic masses?
Metacritic scores put a "ridiculous" pressure on the dev teams
20 January 2009 | By Simon Priest