In a column at GamesIndustry International Monday, game designer Warren Spector railed against the overwhelming power of Metacritic as a cultural arbiter of game quality. Spector’s past work includes classic game franchises like Deus Ex and Thief, so his thoughts on the industry tend to be well-respected, though sometimes controversial.
Is Metacritic the new Amazon? Despite only coming out three days ago, Jurassic Park has a host of decent user scores on the review aggregator, which set Gamespot’s fake reviews radar a twitchin’. Gamespot did some cursory Googling and found that the reviewer’s names matched up to those of developers Telltale’s employees.
In a statement to Gamespot, Telltale covered their backs by saying: “It is being communicated internally that anyone who posts in an industry forum will acknowledge that they are a Telltale employee. In this instance, two people who were proud of the game they worked on, posted positively on Metacritic under recognizable online forum and XBLA account names."
Brad Wardell, president of Stardock, has revealed at GDC how Metracritic has a profound impact on developers. Talking about the companies less-than-well-recieved title Elemental: War of Magic, he stated that the game achieved a “Metacritic score of 56. 56 means it gives you cancer."
Elemental didn't quite get the reception Wardell had hoped, with mediocre reviews and a poor response from players. "I had people telling me I should die of cancer," revealed Wardell.