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Ask Gamasutra: 84 Metacritic need not apply
Ask Gamasutra: 84 Metacritic need not apply Exclusive
July 27, 2012 | By Staff




Over on Gamasutra's job boards, an ad recently popped up that has become a topic of debate over the course of the past couple days.

Irrational Games, best known for excellent games like System Shock 2 and BioShock, is looking for a new design manager. Included are several requirements:

"Six-plus years as a game designer." Ok, they're looking for someone with good experience. "Four-plus years of experience managing direct reports." Alright then. "Shipped a minimum of three games from pre-production through ship." Good, good.

"Credit on at least one game with an 85+ average Metacritic review score." Wait what?

So here's the question posed to Gamasutra and Game Developer staff: Should game developers base any of their hiring requirements on Metacritic scores?

(Apparently, Irrational answered the question just a few hours ago -- the company removed the requirement from the job ad as we were formulating this article.)

Kris Graft
Editor-in-Chief

Twitter: @krisgraft

Let's examine briefly why Irrational would even make this a requirement. I'm sure HR's reasoning for this would be to sort the wheat from the chaff -- to find proven talent in order to form a world-class team. And it just makes the hiring process easier, because there are theoretically fewer applicants.

But in order to form a world-class team, you don't need to add a stipulation that basically says "84 and below need not apply" when you've already set the bar quite high with other, more rational requirements. You're actively discouraging potentially strong candidates with a Metacritic requirement, all because of this misguided obsession over averages of arbitrary numerical values. Do I really need to mention some of the top-tier games that -- gasp -- scored an 84 and below? Some really smart and talented folks have contributed to games that weren't outright critical darlings.

If studios are going to start using Metacritic scores as a basis for hiring new employees, maybe their HR departments should just cut out the middleman and recruit a couple dozen video game reviewers who will play job applicants' games, score them independently, then average out the results. Isn't that essentially what's going on here?

(Also, there's a key takeaway for hiring managers -- if you want your job ad to get high visibility on the internet, just include a controversial job requirement! We'll take it from there.)

Brandon Sheffield
Sr. Editor Gamasutra; EIC, Game Developer

Twitter: @necrosofty

I feel like we're all generally going to say the same thing here if we're not careful. It's obviously stupid - games are made by a team, not an individual. Holding their individual work to a group standard, and a nebulous one at that, is beyond the pale. So in the interest of diversity, I decided to try to figure out a context in which this could make sense.

What does the stipulation of an 85 percent Metacritic rating for a released game really say about a person? It says they have the ability to attach themselves to a good team, and see a game through with that team. That's all. As a designer, artist, or producer, that's incomplete information, because it doesn't say much about how well you did your job. But there are two disciplines for which it actually has some meaning: Recruitment and business development.

If you grew a team that generated 85 percent Metacritic games, that actually kind of means something tangible, as a recruiter. As roles need filling as aproject progresses, if you can help find developers that fit, they'll contribute to the game's overall success, and that reflects well on your ability.

In biz dev, it's a bit less clear-cut, but if you show that you can attach yourself to successful developers, you at least understand how successful developers work, and perhaps even how to identify similar qualities in other teams. You may be able to translate this skill to a new job identifying the right developer for the right job at a publisher.

That's all I've got! Aside from those two disciplines, the idea of ascribing metacritic score to individual value is completely backward. Sorry Irrational! Your job ad is living up to your studio name.

Christian Nutt
Features Director

Twitter: @ferricide

It doesn't make a great deal of sense to me, frankly. It's bad enough that games are reduced to a number that is an aggregate of a variety of very flawed game reviews, just to start with. It's worse when this affects the business of studios, as happened with Fallout: New Vegas developer Obsidian, which missed its Metacritic target by one point and lost its bonus. But it's even worse when you're pinning that badge to an individual whose contribution to a bad game could have been amazing, or to a great game could have been insignificant. There are a lot of reasons games are good or bad. There are also a lot of games that are either good or bad, but their Metacritic scores don't reflect that. When you square that by adding an individual's contribution into the mix, it's going to be impossible to untangle.

Mike Rose
UK Editor

Twitter: @RaveofRavendale

I remember the day I was hired by Gamasutra like it was sometime last year. I had dressed in my best video game t-shirt and tattiest jeans, and made sure to turn up to the interview a few minutes early so I could get myself psyched up with phrases like "I am the controller" and "my body is ready." Things appeared to be going well - Kris Graft kept nodding and saying "tell me more bro", and Frank Cifaldi occasionally looked up from his retro gaming magazine when I said something particularly impressive, a wry smile forming on his lips only once or twice.

Then I was thrown a curveball I was not expecting. "So which magazine did you work on that has an 85+ percent JournoCritic rating?" Graft uttered casually, while skimming through my extensive portfolio of sheets of paper with words on them. It turned out I had failed to spot this particular requirement in the job listing, perhaps because I had blanked it from my memory since it was so ridiculous a requirement. In essence, this requirement completely ignored all the great work I had done at my past magazines because a) said magazines weren't AAA enough to be on JournoCritic, b) other writers at said magazines didn't match me as an individual for talent, and therefore I had to bear the brunt of the less-than-perfect team I had been working with, or c) the magazine was a bit niche, edgey and/or new, and therefore didn't sit well so well with everyone who tried, despite being of immense quality.

In response to Graft's question, I upturned the table, said "Good day to you sirs" and left without another word. Because let's face it, who would want to work for a company that believes this to be an acceptable requirement for hiring? [Also, this story was completely fabricated for dramatic effect. - Ed.]

Frank Cifaldi
News Director

Twitter: @frankcifaldi

In an ideal world, of course not. Metacritic scores are in no way an accurate indicator of someone's talents, some of the brightest and most talented people in our industry happen to ship lousy-to-middling games. I don't need to tell anyone here about the things that just inexplicably go wrong when you're making a game.

But we don't live in an ideal world, and hiring managers have a lot to deal with. This is just one of the many shortcuts they are forced to take, and for a design manager, I don't think it's a terrible one.

Besides, seriously, how many of the "requirements" for your position did you actually meet before you were hired?

Eric Caoili
News Editor

Twitter: @tinycartridge

Judging someone's output on a flawed system like Metacritic -- and the often defective systems of the critics contributing to Metacritic scores -- is a terrible, terrible idea. As other Gamasutra editors have demonstrated, plenty of remarkable video games have not received their due on Metacritic thanks to those problems, but there are also many other reasons outside of how games are reviewed that make this an awful way to go about hiring people.

What about those competent designers at studios stuck on throwaway licensed tie-ins for the most part (Powerhead and Wayforward come to mind), but could put out some stellar games given the chance to work with original or better material? Or developers who spend years working on a project only to see it cancelled or their studio shut down? Or those iOS and social game makers whose titles never even get a Metacritic score?

It's bad enough that developers are missing out on bonus payments because of publishers' dependance on Metacritic's sketchy system, but turning talented people away for a job they're qualified for by referring to a number that doesn't tell a tenth of the story? Terrible, terrible.

Leigh Alexander
Editor-at-Large

Twitter: @leighalexander

I realize most publishers feel that a Metacritic score over 85 is a reliable predictor of sales and correlates for all intents and purposes to quality, and I know most of them have data that largely supports this assertion, no matter how disinterested I myself am in score brackets. It's just that on big dev teams, it's nearly impossible to tell who's to blame when that score falls short. You might be passing up a triple-A talent who's been badly managed -- or hiring the total dud from an otherwise stellar team. Then there are those folks who made major contributions to famous games without ever being included in the credits for some reason or another.

I think someone's project history can give a hiring manager a starting idea of what level of team this person is used to working with, which they can then use as a baseline to ask them about their contributions and strengths. I just think hitting a number as condition for even applying is narrow-minded.

Patrick Miller
Editor, Game Developer magazine

Twitter: @pattheflip

I can certainly see the appeal of including a Metacritic filter in your hiring process; it'd narrow down the number of resumes you'd have to read to only people who have worked on a critically acclaimed title, like N.O.V.A. 2 (90), Trainyard (90), Pizza vs. Skeletons (90), Sonic & SEGA All-Stars Racing (89), NHL Eastside Hockey Manager 2007 (89), or Pinball FX 2: Marvel Pinball - Avengers Chronicles (88). That way, you don't have to deal with all the folks who worked on games that didn't do so well with reviewers: Saints Row: The Third (84), Crysis 2 (84), Marvel vs. Capcom 3 (84), Fallout: New Vegas (84), Borderlands (84), DOOM II (83), Mario Kart 64 (83), Homeworld 2 (83), Mega Man 9 (83), Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP (83), Rock Band (82), Gradius V (82), S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Shadow of Chernobyl (82), Brutal Legend (82), Tekken 6 (82), Super Smash Bros. (79)...the list goes on.

Tom Curtis
News Editor

Twitter: @thomascurtis

Last I checked, Metacritic doesn't measure individual ability; it measures games, which usually come from not just one person, but an entire team. Why should a single developer be held responsible for the collective performance of his or her previous employer?

Sure, you could argue that since Irrational's looking to hire someone for a managerial position, they need someone who can take responsibility for the whole studio, but even the best management in the world can't guarantee a high Metacritic score. You still need to have a talented team, a solid production plan, and of course, a fair amount of luck. After all, your Metacritic score is really just an arbitrary number derived from the press, and it doesn't take much to ruin your chances of receiving a "good" score.

Look at Obsidian's Fallout: New Vegas. That game just missed Irrational's Metacritic threshold, yet overall, critics loved it. In fact, if you look at the reviews on Metacritic, most ended up docking points for one reason: the game's numerous technical glitches. Now, are all the developers at Obsidian supposed to be accountable for these problems? Surely there are designers working at the studio who didn't have a hand in those issues, so why should they be denied an opportunity at a new employer? It just doesn't make sense.


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Comments


Ted Spence
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Part of the lesson is, "The requirements section in a job listing is completely negotiable."

A candidate who knows someone at the company will be considered even if their qualifications do not match an arbitrary number.

A candidate who submits their resume blindly to HR will be included or excluded based on the HR manager's mood, a perfunctory reading of the cover letter, and matching the "requirements" section of the job.

Steven An
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Precisely. Good life lesson in general. "Un-negotiable" is always a misnomer :)

E Zachary Knight
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No offense to all the rest, but Patrick Miller's contribution was my personal favorite. Thanks for clearly putting this insane requirement into perspective.

Brandon Sheffield
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Mine too.

Kris Graft
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Except his reply snipes Pinball FX, snark that I'M NOT COOL WITH.

Mathew Kumar
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Kris, it also snipes at Trainyard, which was made by Matt Rix all on his own, is great, and also an indie success story! Poor show, Pat! (I love you anyway... and I was astonished to see #sworcery only had a metacritic of 83!)

Kris Graft
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That settles it. I give Patrick's response an 84.

So close...

Patrick Miller
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Mathew: Man, I was hoping I'd get hate from the NHL Eastside Hockey Manager 2007 crowd.

Ian Uniacke
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Hmmm...I gots to try out that pizza vs skeletons game now. ;)

Jack Everitt
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Ha, for wines it's 90 pts. No one will buy an 89 pt wine.

Ian Uniacke
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In Australia we have a wine called Lambrusco. I would rate it about a 7 (out of 100). Yet it's one of the best selling wines because it's cheap and therefore young people buy lots of it.

edit: not to be confused with "real" Lambrusco.

Robert Boyd
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Looks like Eric Chahi (Another World/Out of this World, Heart of Darkness, From Dust) can't apply.

Michael Joseph
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85 is just stupid.

But 80... 80 is clearly a reasonable requirement.

Seriously though, I think somebody at Irrational was just trying to send the message of "please don't waste our time." Of course you can start reading between the lines for meaning that may not be there and conclude "it's a trick! they're trying to weed out people who lack confidence in their own abilities." Mike Rose would've passed that test by ignoring the requirement altogether.

Robert Boyd
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"You worked on the original Xbox 360 version of Castle Crashers (82 Metacritic)? Sorry, that's not good enough."

"You ported Castle Crashers to the PS3 (85 Metacritic)? Welcome aboard!"

Meor Hizmin
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I think you're missing the fact that the ad is for a Design Manager position. The 360 and PS3 versions would've been designed / managed by the same person, regardless of platform. Unless for some weird reason the porting team _redesigned the game while porting it_.

Jacob Germany
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@Meor Thought that was Robert's point. That the same game can be both above and below the threshhold for reasons other than game design.

David Phan
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This incident gives me flashbacks of the short-lived Metacritic Developer score if anyone remembers that.

Craig Timpany
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To my dismay it's still live, and their coverage of who got credited on what is still totally broken.

marty howe
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Could just change the wording? Applicants with a game of 85+ considered favourably, then short-list all the applicants etc.

A game company can define its our own hiring rules (they obviously want good people) if you don't like it, don't apply (and work somewhere else instead)

*shrug*

Daniel Gooding
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The original release of Ultima On-line got a 59
Several of the "official" review sites don't even exist anymore.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Meor Hizmin
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I'm not a developer so I'm looking at this from an outsider's perspective, but if they're looking for a Design Manager, wouldn't it make sense to hire a developer who has _managed_ the _design_ of a game that ended up well-regarded on Metacritic?

I'm assuming the design manager is in charge of the overall direction of the game design though, so I might be wrong. For example, I wouldn't want a manager that would manage the game's development poorly, and while Metacritic may not be a very accurate way to judge a game, I can at least trust that the VERY BAD games tend to get lower scores and the VERY GOOD games tend to get higher scores.

I don't think it's unreasonable to high-level designers who have designed popular games (there's a reason they're popular, for good or bad). The Metacritic requirement might become less important as you go further down the corporate ladder (a programmer might be really good, but their skill was committed to a bad design, etc.), but in this case I don't see it as extremely unreasonable.

Jacob Germany
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I think the consensus is because of the innumerable factors that play into a Metacritic score. A single score from the site includes many individual review scores, each of which are based upon a subjective reviewer and a game composed of many different scorable categories, themselves being composed of multiple assets, mechanics, designs, and being composed by multiple individuals working under, theoretically, multiple managers and directors. The games are advertised and hyped by one department, the development schedules are made by another, creativity is merged and culled by business decisions based upon metrics, market research, etc.

And from all of that, you still think a single individual can or should be appraised based upon the "Metacritic" score?

Craig Wilson
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I did a big graphy analysis on the hollowness of Metacritic Scores last year: http://www.split-screen.net/features/metacritique-ratings-the-inn
er-circle

In so far as the ad is concerned my first reaction was to ask if 84+ could be interpreted another way. Obviously Metacritic is not a measure of quality of a game or developer (scores are a popularity hot/not list). So could 84+ be a descriptor of a certain type of game? Is there an 84+ audience for 84+ games?

Of course not, don't be daft.

Instead let's use one line in a job ad to resurrect a tired discussion of review scores because it's been a few months since last we wagged our chins in essentially the same way as before. 

Jacek Wesolowski
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Ah, nothing like a good excuse for an outrage.

I think it helps if you remember a job interview isn't really an exam. It's more like a casting. Your potential employer isn't simply looking for someone who can do their job well, because, frankly, everybody does that, unless they're specifically interested in hiring interns.

Employers look for people who fit certain images. You could rephrase this sentence as: "employers look for people who share their values", although in my experience it's never been this simple, because most people don't realize what their values are.

Hence the question: does the criteron "Metascore 85+" stand for a particular image or value? I think it does.

It's not about playability, though. While games with higher Metascore generally tend to be better, this is definitely a statistical, rather than deterministic relationship. The correlation between Metascore and playability isn't strong enough to form a reliable criterion. So, is there something else Metascore may correlate with?

I think there is. Two things, in fact. One is production values: games with higher Metascore tend to be executed at a higher level of graphic fidelity and detail, using more sophisticated technology. It is my impression that two games of roughly the same playability will typically differ by ten points, if one of them is a 2D indie platformer with simplistic art direction, and the other is a 3D FPS blockbuster.

The other thing is publicity effort (not just marketing, though, it's more complex than that). High Metascore games are the ones people talk about. I believe many of them have high Metascore precisely because there's been a lot of fuss about them. Conversely, Metascore appears to punish games with narrowly defined target audiences.

In other words, in order to maximise your chance of achieving at least one Metactiric 85+ score (let alone an average), you need to get involved in big budget projects and value reliability higher than creativity.

It also really helps to keep this in context. There are other criteria listed. One of them says: "shipped a minimum of three games from pre-production through ship." They're looking for someone who sticks around. More precisely, they're looking for someone who sticks around at big budget projects that value reliability higher than creativity.

In short, Irrational is looking for a worker bee who won't take risks or try and impose a groundbreaking vision upon others, but who will know how to manage publicity, big budget, and high tech. Maybe it's because they're going to develop something low-risk. Or maybe it's because the job they're looking to fill is for someone who will follow someone else's instructions, rather than making their own decisions.

I think this is just fine.

I also think it will be mutually beneficial for me and Irrational if I never apply for a job with them. And I don't mean this particular job; I mean any job at all. Their values are clearly very different from mine.

Rasmus Gunnarsson
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To me this reeks of publisher lubrication. Developers in bed with dreamy AAA tattoed publisher soon learn all the small tricks and mannerisms that really get them honking.

To get good reviews is something a designer can anticipate. Will people get this game when they review it? How will they approach the reviewing process and how can we make it super clear what we tried to do and make that good? I think this mindset is the worst thing ever but I can see how a publisher counting greens might quietly and with a smile just stamp and approve it.

Ariel Gross
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Lots of people seem quick to point at HR about this, but at Volition, I write the audio job posts. HR just makes sure I don't discriminate and stuff like that. They review it but they don't change it, at least not without me agreeing to it.

Harlan Sumgui
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Ok, I'm going to defend the job posting. the metacritic requirement [i]along with[/i] the other requirements is rational. Why? because Irrational wants to make a game that will get an 85% or greater score because 85 = more money, and that is what staying in business is all about. What is the best criteria to use to help ensure that they will get that rating? Track record.

Now, I believe that part of the reason for the sales malaise is the shitty and sometimes corrupt world of games journalism, which has helped has turned gamers into one of the most cynical and pissed off demos a marketer will ever have to deal with (eg. dragon age II: "best rpg for the decade"). But that doesn't alter the fact that getting that 85 is pretty damn important for sales.

And why is it important? Because many gamers fire up metacritic, sort games on their chosen platform by year and score, and use that list prioritize purchases. I wish that there was a Rotten Tomatoes type site for videogames, because that system is much better, but whatever. We have to deal with the world as it is, not sit around moaning about how it should be.

Ian Uniacke
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If (and I admit it's a big if) one was to conclude that metacritic score as requirement is discrimination, however, financial reality would have no bearing on the matter. Fiscal success does NOT equate to ethical righteousness. We're discussing whether a company SHOULD do this, not whether it will make them more money.

Kimo Maru
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I agree, and we do need a Rotten Tomatoes type of site for gaming, "gaming journalists" aren't cutting it and I tend go to Metacritic for feedback in the User Reviews section.

Maria Jayne
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I actually like this requirement, It's rare you get a company which actively promotes why you wouldn't want to apply to work for them.

If you're hiring based on metacritic, who do you think would be first out the door if that average ever drops a point?

TC Weidner
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It's not unlike an NFL team is looking for a new WR, and stating unless you have played for a conference championship team, ummm dont even bother contacting us... yeah that makes a lot of sense..

Dave Goodrich
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Another thing to consider about Metacritic is that it is extremely inaccurate. For example there are several games I have worked on that have a score in the mid 80's that Metacritic didn't have under my profile.

To make matters worse there are several games that I am accredited with that I never worked on and those games have scores in the 40's.

Until Metacritic is 100% accurate or even 90% accurate it is a worthless tool to measure developers by, and even then it is still dubious given the team factor people have mentioned.

Tom Cadwell
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I think this is not really an ideal job post pre-modification, but it's not really newsworthy, and honestly, pretty average as a JD.

Everyone knows irrational is an exceptional company, and I'm sure that an exceptional candidate is going to get noticed and talked to there in any case, even if they lack an 85 metacritic game.

Employers often set requirements on the higher side of what they require, because people who are under-qualified vs the ad will apply. Setting higher requirements in general just helps you filter a bit better.

At a certain point though, it's pretty hard to use the job ad to filter. I personally believe that setting quals on the low side, and coaching your recruiters on how to filter and prioritize works best.

Realistically, with this list of quals, irrational can probably directly approach everyone that might be a fit because it's pretty easy to determine who might be a fit. It's the borderline cases that might come in via resume drop, and that's why I think looser requirements on those are better.

Timothy Ryan
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This lazy form of applicant filtering has always occurred and for sure still occurs at Irrational even if they removed it from their job ad.

Metacritic has just made it easier to be lazy. One would hope that employers would look deeper at the reviews. Metacritic scoring is flawed and loses the details that might help make a more informed decision.

Ken Williamson
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This is re-invention of a nasty old chestnut of corporate mis-thinking originally proposed by Ex-Monolith CEO Jason Hall when he joined Warner Bros: http://www.planetcrap.com/topics/925/

(Original link down, but this includes a quote from the article and some discussion on it).

Honestly, if these guys had any inkling of how real reviewing and games journalism works (which they should of course), they would be embarrassed at even considering this.

But as has been said already, a company that uses this sort of "metric" may not be the one you want to work for anyway.

Jonathan Murphy
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Another reason I went indie. A lot of companies still don't hire properly. Take your time testing them. Be prepared to train them. Make sure they work well with others. If they have talent, experience or education, and the desire to learn almost anyone can do that job. Hire them even if they live half way across the planet. Done and done.

At one point I was that guy who kept getting hired to work on MMOs. Was my talent looked at? Sure. But I worked on MMOs. I GOT FIRST DIBS! As they say in Pokemon. Use the back door, "It's super effective."

Gil Salvado
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I've worked with a bunch people which got A+ certificates, recommendations from who-knows-who and references from the top edge ... it just doesn't matter. Years of experience may count for nothing. It all comes down to your skills, and those can only be proven by practice.

You need a problem solver? Send your candidates a task you need solved, and if their solution doesn't suit you - no matter their track record - you got the wrong person for the job.
Doing so is a little more effort to get your new staff member, but in the end you'll find the one who suits you the best. Instead of being disappointed by someone who looked to be so promising judging by his records.

A S
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More interesting to me - this sounds like Ken Levine's role. That makes me think he's going to be doing new things inside Irrational. Wonder what he's up to =D

Babak Kaveh
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At the risk of never being able to get a job in the industry again :P, I'll say: Many HR people in game companies (and in many other industries) are not qualified for their jobs, and the style of the job postings (I am not talking about the "core requirement", e.g. "Know C++ or Java well") and the extra B.S. they attach to job postings (85+ metascore, great interpersonal skills, dedication to their team, and other unquantifiable measures) should be a good indicator of that.

The fact that most HR people nowadays have started to post jobs on their own personal twitter accounts (to get the news out to their friends and followers) is another indication. And finally, the number of technically and emotionally underdeveloped people I have had to work with in many industries proves that someone in HR is not doing their job right. Add to that the huge turn-over rate in the game industry - the blame lies partially with HR again. The 85+ score requirement is just another funny story I will file away for when i want to argue just how incompetent HR people have become, especially in relation to the amount of power they wield over the future of projects and companies.

There are a few interesting questions being discussed here:

1. Can the quality of a game be judged by its metacritic score? I suggest that the user score does have a positive correlation with the tastes of the core gamer market - not so much the critic score which is often purchased. http://www.metacritic.com/feature/game-critic-scores-vs-user-revi
ews shows that the critic score simply isn't working, hence the metacritic overall score, though a weak indicator of market tastes, is not very relevant.

2. Can a team be judged by the sales of their project? Again I don't believe this is true. Sometimes the time for a product has not come, or the market is saturated with similar games of less quality. I think having a "Best Game No One Played" category on many gaming websites and forums proves this point.

3. Can any one developer be judged by the product of his/her team? No. Most developer's opinions don't really count on a 200-man team. Lead designers and PMs on the other hand, do have a lot of influence. I wrote a piece on why so many projects fail to deliver what their developers set out to do here: http://www.gamedesignideas.com/video-games/this-game-is-not-playa
ble-why-major-studios-keep-releasing-half-baked-games.html , and it covers many of the reasons why you cannot judge a developer in a large company by their game.

So there we have it: one weak link and two broken links to get from a high metascore to a good developer. Who would think it's a good idea to base their employee selection on such a weak criteria? Incompetent HR!

Gil Salvado
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I guess, the fact that Irrational removed the 85+ metascore requirement right before this news went live proves your point.

Daniel Martinez
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This is sure to produce only the highest quality candidates for any position...

Mitchell Fujino
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Having spent most of my career at a developer that optimized for metacritic rating.. my opinion is that marketing has the biggest impact on the difference between an 80 and a 93 metacritic.

Given that these guys are looking for a designer, they're using the wrong criteria.

[User Banned]
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This user violated Gamasutra’s Comment Guidelines and has been banned.

Babak Kaveh
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Funny, I have a system of game selection very similar to yours (when I buy games to simply enjoy them, vs. buying them to learn something). It goes something like this:
1. Is the game available digitally? if yes...
2. Check the MetaCritic user score. have more than 50 users rated the game? if yes...
3. Ignoring the 10s and anything below 2, I estimate my own average. Is that average above 7?
4. I look up a gameplay video on YouTube. Do I like what I see? (about 50% of games pass this test)
5. I Buy the thing!

Haven't been disappointed yet by this system,but then, I am a mainstream guy :P

Megan Quinn
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@Gabriel Swan

"I have made the most successful games of all time and barely make an average of 85."


Donkey Kong Country is revered in academic circles for its technology, this garners you more respect from some people. Mention this more, mention Diablo 3 less.

A developer writes the code, testers test it, gamers exploit the bugs your team didn't find like the wizard invulnerably bug. Or the unidentified items exploit. Who cares? Well with the real money auction house gold is real money, these bugs have been exploited to make money.

Diablo 3 has beautiful art and personally I enjoy the game play and it felt like a slicker Diablo 2. I didn't buy the game for the great QA work, I bought it to deal the Auction House, so did all the other nerds like me that figured we could make some cash for gold.

You did indeed help make this game. It did indeed sell well. The reason Blizzards games sell very well as we know that quality is a priority for Blizzard. Go over to the forums and listen to the howls of horror from fans because of the bugs your QA team didn't catch. You consult on QA. QA is what Blizzard hired you to do. QA is whats wrong with Diablo 3.

Diablo 3 diminishes Blizzard reputation for quality because of these bugs. If your going to hold up your part in Diablo 3 as a crowning achievement then take some responsibility for the bad as well as the good.

This is the curse of the braggart. I know this because I am also guilty of these sort of shenanigans.

We are both relatively young and we can correct these personality defects... if indeed you take your own advice and listen.

Ian Uniacke
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Go to the WoW forums and tell me there is less complaining? Almost every thread is 80% people whining. You would think that WoW is the least favourite game of all time. FACT: A vocal minority does not indicate a bad game. To conflate one to the other is ridiculous.

Megan Quinn
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I am familiar with the Wow forums and I know what you mean.

Your "FACT" doesn't mean anything, unless you irrationally exclude the other possibilities.

1. FACT: A vocal minority does not indicate a bad game. To conflate one to the other is ridiculous.

2. FACT: A vocal majority does not indicate a bad game. To conflate one to the other is ridiculous.

3. FACT: A vocal minority does not indicate a good game. To conflate one to the other is ridiculous.

etc...

People are mad about the bugs in Diablo 3 for different reasons. It is reasonable for you to make that assumption based on your experience. In most cases your point would be valid, just not in this case.

Jeffery Wilson
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Having worked on more that 10 titles, all rated AAA in the last 21 years in the game industry, several of which had an 85 or greater Meta critic rating and more with very close to the 85 rating I would say the fact a game gets a high meta critic rating is based on:

1. LUCK in that the game hits a sweet spot in players psychy that resonates.
2. A single person in charge of the Game's vision, that gets the chance to fully develop their vision for the game. This can also cause the game to be really bad, even with great code, art, design and music.

Other factors like good art, music, design are all related to the Creative Director's vision so they are covered in #2 above.

The other component that really effects this rating you get is:

Was the company forced to release due to financial issues or the company would go bankrupt? Every AAA Ive seen which had the potential to be great was hurt by this one issue. This is the reason games ship loaded with software bugs. (well except for that Disn@y Lion King game that would not install at all from the boxed CD, 0% QA).

So I guess added a requirement that they wanted to hire someone who was "LUCKY".

:-))


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