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Telltale responds to Metacritic drama

Mon 21 Nov 2011 8:36am GMT / 3:36am EST / 12:36am PST
Development

Devs caught giving their own game a 10 on popular aggregate site

Telltale Games has responded to recent allegations that its employees posted perfect ten scores, for their own game, on user review and score aggregator site Metacritic.

"Telltale Games do not censor or muzzle its employees in what they post on the internet," said the company's official statement.

"However, 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 recognisable online forum and XBLA account names."

GameSpot noticed the unusual user scores for Jurassic Park: The Game last week, when the game received four perfect ten scores.

Metacritic users have responded, scoring the game with "revenge zeros" and leading to an average user score of 2.9, based on 79 ratings.

"Two low key developers from the Telltale staff rates the game 10 on the user section of Metacritic, and suddenly you have waves of Internet Heroes rating it 0 to punish them," complained Metacritic user Mangoose.

"Like this isn't something that happens on every single game title released ever, you idiots. Adding a 10 just to mess things up."

18 Comments

Terence Gage
Freelance writer

1,288 120 0.1
Metacritic user scores are, for want of a better term, fucking dumb. There's always an equal amount of idiots giving games zeros and ones as well as perfect tens - there's no sense of impartiality, and people will often give a game terrible scores for not being as good as its predecessor, having too much DLC, not being on their console of choice or just because they take umbrage with its developer or publisher.

You do get plenty of this on Amazon too, but at least you can comment on Amazon's reviews, and generally sensible users will point out when someone's being an idiot or a troll.

Posted:2 years ago

#1

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,235 396 0.3
Like Terrence said, the problem with any user reviews is that some complete idiots post on them.

On Amazon when I was buying a monitor, it had a couple of one star reviews because it had no sound, scart connection or remote, and the buyer had bought it for use as a TV.
Another gave a different monitor 1 star for being 1/2 inch smaller than it should be, so his 2 monitors were different sizes. It seems to me he could have bought two identical monitors, and although it may be annoying, the fact he had commented that everything else about the monitor was good, I can't see the logic in granting it a one.
Whilst I can understand frustration about devs cheating on scores, the people who suffer most from the revenge 0s are those trying to determine if a game is worth buying.

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Bruce Everiss
Marketing Consultant

1,692 594 0.4
Silly boys getting caught!!!!!!!

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Andreas Gschwari
Senior Games Designer

556 607 1.1
And the difference between a user review and a "professional" review is what exactly on metacritic? There are quite a few blogs and small internet outlets that feed into the official metacritic score. Reading some of these reviews often makes me think if these people actually finished high school, let alone have any credentials to officially review games.

Not saying that larger outlets are really that trustworthy all the time (pressure from publishers, review embargos etc.).... I mean how can you objectively review a game when your publication just received a lot of money to advertise the same game massively?

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Lewis Brown
Snr Sourcer/Recruiter

195 54 0.3
I have to admit a certain amount of frustration at the stupidity of people scoring on metacritic. With regards to MW3 and BF3 recently the scores were awash with fanboys either giving 10s or 0s. Regardless of your opinion as to which is better there is now genuine argument that MW3 or BF3 could ever be a zero, so I do find it ridiculous!

Posted:2 years ago

#5

David Bachowski
VP Business Development

66 0 0.0
I find it fairly obvious to spot reviews from employees that actually worked on the product. I always assume the first 5-10 iOS reviews on a product are from people who either worked on the game or know someone who did. I've reviewed my own game on iOS. Why shouldn't I?

The bottom line is that if your "false positive" review end up bringing in more sales but the game does not deserve them, then your developer reviews will quickly be diluted by actual user reviews.

Posted:2 years ago

#6

Ryan McGeough
Studying Msc in Strategic Management

6 0 0.0
It seems like the drama unfolding with this and MW3 in relation to Metacritic scores is point at one obvious conclusion. We should stop paying attention to Metacritic. Peoples opinions can rarely be trusted en masse in any case, and when you get some keyboard warriors who (as Terence Gage mentioned) will take offence at a title simply not being on their console of choice or some other trivial reason, will mark it with a zero. There's a far easier way to deal with this problem and it's to look away and don't bother with this nonsense...

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Kieren Bloomfield
Software Engineer

92 79 0.9
If you're going to review yourself, don't be greedy. Give yourself an 8 :)

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Florencia Cafure
Project Manager

3 0 0.0
Sometimes it's better to be a little bit humble and consider you can improve the game

Posted:2 years ago

#9

Hakki Sahinkaya

43 32 0.7
Does Metacritic address these glaring issues in any way? Or are they thinking "hey, hits are hits".

Posted:2 years ago

#10

Till Dzierzon
Localization QA Tester

17 0 0.0
Consider one thing. You wouldn't hit a 0 if you like the game.

Posted:2 years ago

#11

Andrew Goodchild
Studying development

1,235 396 0.3
@Till, you may hit 0 having never played the game though.

Posted:2 years ago

#12

Yiannis Koumoutzelis
Founder & Creative Director

360 203 0.6
Even Zelda was 0 bombed yesterday by mindless fanbois... Metacritic is mainly a huge battlefield for fanbois, so situations like these things are bound to happen. On the other hand i find nothing wrong with devs reviewing their own games as long as they are unbiased.

Posted:2 years ago

#13

Gregory Keenan

102 11 0.1
Obvious Pride being stamped on by trolls.

Posted:2 years ago

#14

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,156 1,075 0.5
Notacritic needs to be shut down and revamped, PERIOD. Separate the pro and user reviews so the scores don't mix, moderate the stupidity out of the site (freedom of speech isn't freedom from responsibility, dammit!) and set up rules for posting scores that, if not followed, don't allow for those mass bombing low scores to even count.

Posted:2 years ago

#15

Brian Smith
Artist

195 84 0.4
Developers complaining about baseless review scores seems rich when so many write up reviews themselves for their own games. Neither is justifiable. A few nutters complaining about their pirate game not working though will not skew the opinion of a high numbers selling game and campaigns such as those launched to protest about delivery mechanisms like Steam are valid feedback to developers and publishers that communicate a message.

These pale into the background imo in comparison to developers self reviewing. Self reviewing is usually done at product launch when there are few reviews and can affect opinion enough to trigger substantial sales. It's impartial, dishonest and will weaken the publics faith in this industry if the extent of it is ever realised. It should not be condoned by developers as standard practice. Iphone releases are a joke in this department. Companies should as standard have policy setup to guard against this as with CA.

Posted:2 years ago

#16

Brian Smith
Artist

195 84 0.4
Wasn't specifically getting at you... promise. But look at IMDB reviews for instance. It should be accepted that many folk will fill review sites with reviews that are based on tiny details they don't like or directors or companies that they love, or purely a leading actor they can't stand. All these are just personal opinions and should be taken at face value. It's true of any review system that a majority of happy users will not even bother to review. Mostly folk are motivated by negatives when it comes to user reviews, this is not unique to Metacritic.

On your point about complaining to the developer or publisher in question rather than using a review system. Large companies like EA and MS for example provide little in the way of worthwhile avenues for such gripes. There may be a mailing address but most of the time a standard automated response will be all a customer can hope for. To the customer these mostly are seen as dead ends to collect mail no one intends on reading. I suppose that folk who protest on scoring systems like this at least know they are in a public forum and unable to be censored or ignored. Although most companies have forums it's arguable whether they are used or ignored. MS for example have a busy forum for Forza but it's unconnected moderators that intervene, not company representatives. Any developer related questions head straight for the dead end mail address that spits out automated replies.

The way I see it all feedback is relevant. It may take some analysis to understand the truths involved but it can still be relevant. I too would not rate a game with 0 because of a delivery system when the game warranted more but as with my IMDB example, folk will give reviews that are based on miniscule things that don't match up with their expectations. It's allowed. They are user reviews and they are not supposed to be qualified in any way. That's part of their usefulness as well as part of their downside.

Posted:2 years ago

#17

Greg Wilcox
Creator, Destroy All Fanboys!

2,156 1,075 0.5
I don't think feedback is relevant when CLEARLY a lot of negativity around certain games are from people who haven't PLAYED the games they're ranting about. As there's no means to verify just WHO has a game they claim to be reviewing (and scoring a zero for whatever reason) and a lot of protest scores are done in a chain letter "copy me and go here to score this game badly" format, it's extremely unreliable to utilize a tainted site such as Metacritic to gauge a game's actual problems.

Also, from my days as an ACTUAL letter writer, I can very safely say that a hand-written note or even a typed and signed one will sometimes get a response from an actual person a lot more than an email or online rant. The art of letters isn;t dead just yet. Of course, I'd bet real money some of these ranters haven't seen a pen and writing paper this century, nor would they be willing to wait patiently for a proper response. It's pretty easy to look up a developer address (easier than wasting time typing out a fake review or one full of errors based on a few minutes of play and too much time online fishing for like-minded wags that feel the same way about somethings that aren't a problem in he entire product in question.

Posted:2 years ago

#18

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