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Developer career scores will not return to Metacritic

Thu 31 Mar 2011 1:32pm GMT / 9:32am EDT / 6:32am PDT
MediaDevelopment

Site admits "it's needless to put a number on" individuals but questions if games business correctly credits staff

Metacritic has stated that it will not bring back scores for individual developers after a week in which it was roundly criticised by the games industry for rating individuals using incomplete or out-of-date information.

Speaking in a exclusive interview published today on GamesIndustry.biz, co-founder and games editor Marc Doyle admitted the process was nowhere near as detailed as it needed to be, but he also suggested the games business does a poor job of crediting staff for the projects they have worked on.

"We have no plans to bring it back. Right now we just want to see if we can build the database, take a shot at it, see what we can do," said Doyle.

If they've worked on 30 games and we can only show four... then that's not fair.

Marc Doyle, co-founder, Metacritic

The individual scores went live last August but only recently caught the eye of high-profile developers, where vocal designers like Peter Molyneux, Cliff Bleszinski and David Jaffe were scored against each other. Other developers complained that their details were simply not included on Metacritic or lacked specific releases.

"If they've worked on 30 games and we can only show four and then we take on this score, which is really just an average of those games in our database for them, then that's not fair," admitted Doyle.

"We discussed it as a team and it made sense to just drop that overall number whilst still trying to build this database which will be difficult, but we're going to give it a shot. It's needless to put that number on it though."

The lack of information about what games people have worked on isn't entirely Metacritics' fault, argued Doyle, who questioned whether the games business correctly and fairly credits developers for the work they've done on completed projects.

"We've found it very tough in some cases to say who has been responsible for a game.

"I think that is an issue, of the industry not needing or not wanting to put that information out there. I don't know exactly what's behind that, I haven't discussed that with too many publishers."

However, he defended Metacritic's initial intention, which was an extension of the site's primary goal: to inform users of the best entertainment available and the people that have created.

"That's ultimately the goal of Metacritic: What should I watch, what should I play? Not necessarily to fuel some larger discussion over what person is more worthy than some other person."

Doyle said Metacritic is more than willing to work with publishers and developers to improve its crediting database, but he was doubtful the industry sees it as a priority.

"If by this issue coming about in the last week all of a sudden the publishers and developers are like: "Yes, let's standardise this whole system", and everyone wanted to go out there and in every game attach their credits, then we could hire someone to simply input that into our system. But... I don't necessarily see that happening and I don't think you see that happening."

The full interview with Doyle, in which he also shares his view on why games critics are not as responsible as movie critics, can be read here.

18 Comments

Felix Gladitz

12 0 0.0
Very interesting.

Much so - the question of whether people get sufficient credit for their work and contribution.

Posted:3 years ago

#1

John Donnelly Quality Assurance

313 38 0.1
Very glad to hear they are admitting it was a mistake and not accurate.
I am also glad to see someone else pointing out that credits are not always 100% complete and accurate.

I have seen for some of the games I have been credited with that I only appear in the credits for the EU release or in some cases have not been included at all.
In some cases it was down to the nature of the project or the internal rules on credit rewards but that was not always the case.
Ok, its a fair point to say I was working at the publisher level and its more important to make sure the development credits are accurate but its still nice to reward the entire team at all levels.


Posted:3 years ago

#2

Terence Gage Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
I'm quite surprised that they're canning this idea entirely; I half expected that they'd bring it back for well-known industry figureheads like Molyneux, Miyamoto, Spector, etc. Obviously this wouldn't be an overall look at the industry, but it would be much easier for Metacritic to find out the relevant info if they started with, say, the 50 most well-known faces in the industry and built it up from there. That said, I don't actually think it's a particularly good idea, and as others have commented, attributing peoples' work to an un-explanatory score is a little unfair and vague.

That said, I'll bet it has driven a lot of extra traffic to their site in the last week, so from that perspective it was probably worthwhile. How about they rate development studios on games produced, rather than individuals? And for each development studio (past and present) they could list the senior staff, and have a little info on these people and link to some of the games they've worked on. Kind of like a Wikipedia for games, although with the content controlled by Metacritic themselves.

Posted:3 years ago

#3

Adam Clixby Technical director & co-founder, Rodeo Games

5 1 0.2
I thought it was an excellent idea, so am sad to see it go (despite my low personal score). Naturally it's open to abuse, but that's no different to the metacritic system as a whole.

Posted:3 years ago

#4

Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve

340 292 0.9
I think the concept is good, but it just had a poor execution, perhaps with a well thought out re-design it could make a return. I've got to say I have respect for them for listening and reacting so quickly to feedback, and for having the balls to admit that they dropped the ball on this one.

Posted:3 years ago

#5

Rupert Young Managing Director / Commercial Director, EC-Interactive / Enjoy Gaming

4 0 0.0
The idea is flawed from the get go due a whole host of reasons. Many companies do not credit people who leave projects before the end of a project, some people (i.e. publishers) are on 100s of credits whether their level of involvement was small or great etc. It just isn't a fair reflection of many peoples role at companies. Not that it bothers me whether I have high or low since I'm an employer but the idea that I would check out metacritic and seriously use it to vet people is pretty ridiculous. I've got far more important things to worry about than credits. I do though like to make sure people get credited on projects but as far as referring to them for interview purposes. Nah.. not interested. I remember being credited as a tea boy for a joke by some of my former colleagues on a projects as well as I've known family members get added to credits for the fun of it. My point being is don't take credits too seriously. They're nice but not a neccessity.

Posted:3 years ago

#6

Mike Wuetherick Lead Designer, Super Mega Awesome Games

29 11 0.4
the game industry needs our version of IMDB, but with the multi-layered nature of the way that games are made, I've seen more than a few times where the people that actually work on the game and are the backbone of what made the game a success get relegated to insignificant credit roles and/or are simply not included at all. especially with companies subcontracting to subcontractors who subcontract to other contractors etc.

this industry as a general simply doesn't give enough credit to the actual people involved in building games, period. their system was very flawed.

I think the core difference is that unlike the film industry, where EVERYONE has an agent or manager that is in charge of representing the individual throughout the industry (on casting databases / union databases etc), in the games industry it's a complete sh*t-show without any kind of individual representation at all.

You'd hope that organizations like the IGDA could step up to be this central 'developer' representation group, but I just don't see that happening. At least not any time soon.

Posted:3 years ago

#7

Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game

1,254 421 0.3
The scores were a terrible idea, but the credits database without the score sounds like a good idea to me.

Posted:3 years ago

#8

Alan Botvinick Producer

9 0 0.0
A credits database would be a great idea. Something like IMDB but for games.

Posted:3 years ago

#9

Private Industry

1,176 182 0.2
That`s going to be a lot of work, it was easier when you still had the credits in the manual but that went the way of the dodo for most of the games.

Posted:3 years ago

#10

Jason Broad Quality Assurance

2 0 0.0
Given time and a think tank, this idea could only be implemented, if a standard was settled up for all areas of software interaction, Development teams, Producers, Publishers, etc....
Yes, credit to all involved regardless of level.

As it is, at present, the publisher dictates the visual credits and so on down the line through the Dev team and 3rd party operatives.
No real way of starting the ball rolling unless the whole industry makes moves.

Metacritic, fair play, hands up, but like the saying goes: No such thing as bad publicity.

Posted:3 years ago

#11

Hugo Trepanier Senior UI Designer, Hibernum

156 144 0.9
Mobygames.com is already pretty good as a credit database. Far from perfect, but possibly the most extensive available today nonetheless.

Posted:3 years ago

#12

Private Industry

1,176 182 0.2
For me not that extensive, it only credits me for 7 games out of 30+ counting only the once where I show up in the credits. ^^

Posted:3 years ago

#13

Thomas Bahon Head of Payment Services, Ankama Games

26 1 0.0
@Terence Gage

I agree with you.
They should have score Studios. It's easier and more relevant.
A Game Designer TOP-50 will be good enough to improve SEO... and will receive less (meta)criticism.

Posted:3 years ago

#14

Private Industry

1,176 182 0.2
They already score developers and publishers.

I`m not sure how relevant a Top 50 designer ranking is. We all know the works of the different designers and it`s a matter of taste. I like Kojima games like MGS, ZoE, Snatcher or Policenauts and don`t really like Cliff Bleszinski games like Gears of War and I know people who are the opposite and really dislike Kojima games and love Gears of War violently and games are still reviewed by humans who have preferences. If I look at metacritic there are enough games with a high score where I can only shake my head. GTA 4 would be a good example as it is ranked number 1 on metacritics of all games and all platforms with 98 and seriously RDR is better and it`s not even the best GTA game. That game was so overhyped, but not by Rockstar it was overhyped by the reviews who where all full of praise with every site writing 8 pages of a love letter making the game sound so amazing while ignoring everything that would be even remotely bad. Just like a teenage girl with her first crush would never admit that the guy she loves has any kind of flaws or problems while he treats her like garbage.

Reviews are flawed they are personal opinions of the reviewer nothing less and nothing more, if you give somebody MGS4 who doesn`t like the series he will give it a 7/10 give it somebody who really likes the series it will get a 9.5/10. And just because I gave games the same score they actually hold currently on metacritic when I reviewed games when I was an editor does not mean I was right or wrong, just that it was my personal opinion on the game.

Posted:3 years ago

#15

Neil Aldis Assistant Manager, Mobile Project Development, Capcom

8 0 0.0
I was after a credit database about a year ago when trying to track down a couple of voice actors - jut wanted to know what games they'd worked on before. There are a few sites that attempt to do this, but they're lacking in the precise details I was after.

A games IMDB would be a good site, no doubt about it. A site that rates individuals on the basis of the scores that games they have contributed to are awarded is a dreadful idea. One artist works on a number of games, all of which get terrible reviews even though his own contribution was that of concept artist - what good will that do his career? And how then does said artist go about proving otherwise when he can't get any interviews? bad, bad, bad idea.

Posted:3 years ago

#16

Rick Cody PBnGames-Board Member

144 14 0.1
This would help people recognize quality not just by individual games but by publishers and developers. People know Nintendo, Bungie, Sony, Microsoft, EA, Activision, Blizzard annnd there's not a whole lot else on the public radar.
And why not credit people on the site that has some of the greatest visibility in the industry?

Posted:3 years ago

#17

Thomas Bahon Head of Payment Services, Ankama Games

26 1 0.0
@Werner Nemetz

Why is it so difficult to find a studio score from a game page? There is no link from the game page to the developer. So you right, they score developers but it's not done and not to be done.

Posted:3 years ago

#18

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