Metacritic, whose 90s, 80s, 70s and dreaded 60s are points of pride and shame for the video game industry, will now be applying ratings to individual game developers, giving them a score based on an average of all the games they've worked on.
For an industry obsessed with applying arbitrary numbers to the subjective appraisal of two years worth of work, I foresee nooooooo problems extending this to the balance of someone's career.
Gamasutra, pointing out the new developer pages on Metacritic, quoted a skeptical (and anonymous) dev with six years in the industry. "Man, it's bad enough games are judged by Metacritic. Now I'm going to be, too?"
Yep, and not even accurately at first. Some complain that Metacritic is serving up an incomplete accounting of their work, and that is indeed the case, as the ratings draw from listings over on GameFAQs, owned by the same company that runs Metacritic. For example, Phil Frazier, a producer on the Madden NFL series and a 12 year veteran of EA Sports, is rated a 73 according to three versions of Madden NFL 09, one on the PS2 and another on the PSP. I'm sure he's delighted by that.
Metacritic is asking developers to submit additions and changes in their crediting to GameFAQs. Both sites have the same owner.
Other notable devs with scores include Cliff Bleszinski of Epic Games, pulling an 86 for his career average, but the big zit on his resume, for all to see, is 2005's Geist on the GameCube. Lionshead's Peter Molyneux has an 82; Ken Levine of Irrational Games is an 89.
If you want to see a score for a developer not linked here, Gamasutra says you can run the URL by swapping in his or her name in a first name-hyphen-last name format. For example, Denis Dyack. It's available for all developers credited in games with Metacritic listings.
I'm sure it's a matter of time before news releases start framing a publisher's acquisitions or a developer's hires in terms of landing the industry's first or only a 90-rated designer. How trustworthy that information is remains in question.