Quake Wars Dev Says Metacritic Pressure 'Ridiculous'

Splash Damage studio director Paul Wedgwood recently called into question the publisher tactic of basing financial royalties on Metacritic scores--averages of review scores pulled from dozens of sources.

"Personally I think it's ridiculous," said Wedgwood when asked of the practice by GamesIndustry.biz.

"I think it's a really good idea for a developer to go to a publisher and demand that they get an additional bonus for achieving a certain review score, but it shouldn't affect their royalties or anything else. If you have a high-selling game, you have a high-selling game."

Wedgwood also argued for the five-star rating system that is typical in the film industry, rather than the percentile-based ratings that dominate gaming reviews.

"We know that some websites score quite high and some quite low, but in general, all websites tend to score between 60 and 100," he said. "There's never a 37. It's as if that whole section doesn't exist, so zero starts at 60, so three stars, and goes up to five. It's just not really an accurate enough measure.

"I think that if anything, the games press should take the pressure off themselves, and just go across to star ratings... Out of ten is a good start. Percentiles put too much pressure on a journalist to justify an exact score. It puts too much pressure on the developer to try and identify these criteria that lead to very specific point increases or decreases, which is not at all what the developer should be focusing on."

Splash Damage shipped Enemy Territory: Quake Wars in 2007, before beginning a long-term partnership with Fallout 3 developer/publisher Bethesda.