News: A job application posted by BioShock dev Irrational specifically lists “credit on at least one game with an 85+ average Metacritic review score” as a requirement.
BioShocker! Okay, sorry. Anyways, Irrational Games, the studio currently hard at work on BioShock Infinite, has posted a job application for a design manager. It looks pretty straightforward, except for the last of the profile requirements: “credit on at least one game with an 85+ average Metacritic review score.” Huh.
First off, Metacritic is a tool that has a decent intent. But it’s now perceived by publishers as the definitive barometer for a game’s success, to the point that anything below a 90 is considered a failure (at least when it comes to big-budget AAA titles). That, and it’s been co-opted by both fans and developers in the past.
Portal 2, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, Mass Effect 3 and Diablo III are but a few of the critical darlings that were absolutely crushed by user reviews (usually aimed at one controversial aspect of each respective game). This turns Metacritic into an easy forum for fans to vent their vitriol.
All of this impacts Metacritic’s credibility, which makes its inclusion in a job ad a worrying precedent. Obviously you’d want to hire someone who’s got work on some good games in their portfolio, but how do you gauge a highly subjective variable like that? Metacritic is in itself a subjective aggregate.
Then there’s the fact that games are made by teams. A design manager has some oversight and can conceivably claim more credit for finishing a game than a prop modeller can, but it’s still a group effort.
So the specific inclusion of an 85+ Metacritic score in a job application seems somewhat misguided. We’ll see if anything comes of this, from Irrational or others.