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Obsidian's Fallout: New Vegas Bonuses Were Contingent on 85% Metascore

Jonathan Lester
Bethesda, Bonuses, Metacritic, Obsidian
Fallout: New Vegas

Obsidian's Fallout: New Vegas Bonuses Were Contingent on 85% Metascore

Twitter is ablaze with rows over the importance of Metacritic to publishers and developers this morning, after Obsidian's Chris Avellone revealed that Bethesda only offered them a bonus for Fallout: New Vegas if it accrued a score of 85% or higher on Metacritic. Sadly, it came in at 84% despite shifting over 5 million copies.

"FNV was a straight payment, no royalties, only a bonus if we got an 85+ on Metacritic, which we didn't."

Publishers frequently use Metacritic as a sole quantitative measure of a game's quality, but we're not convinced that it's a particularly fair basis for a bonus scheme. What say you, gamers?

Obsidian is currently facing more urgent problems, however, with a number of layoffs reported that affect the South Park RPG and a cancelled Microsoft project.

Add a comment5 comments
DivideByZero  Mar. 15, 2012 at 14:34

I like the idea of basing bonus on Metascore, but then every employee would just have 20 MetaCritic accounts, all of which delivering 10/10 reviews for their game.

We have already seen companies doing this.

Though, corruption asside, I think that's a great idea. Make a good game over selling lots of copies of a bad one... if the Call of Duty franchise had been done like that things would have been very different for MW3.

However, coming that close and having delivered a really good game, I think they should get thier bonus.

Last edited by DivideByZero, Mar. 15, 2012 at 14:35
Late  Mar. 15, 2012 at 16:54

I'd imagine they're referring only to industry metascores, not those from users (reference 84 for FNV on pc).

Metacritic is handy for getting an idea of reception on a game (particularly if it's a game you're not familiar with), but is massively flawed. Take, for instance, CoD:MW3 on the 360. Gets 88% from reviews, and 3.2 from the public. That's not just a discrepancy - that's a phenomenal gulf. And to be honest, it's an understandable one. MW3 is a great game in and of itself - and if you've never played a COD game before (or haven't played on in the last 5 years or so) it's an astounding game - and fully deserving of a very high score. If, on the other hand, you've played all of the last few COD instalments, MW3 is a very bland and marginal step forwards (or a tiny shuffle sideways if I can take liberties with that simile) and it's easy to see why it's scored so poorly by users. Hell, I've been a huge fan of COD over the last 5 years or so (I was fashionably late to the party) with most incarnations staying in my 360 semi-permanently for a year until the next one - but I've not touched MW3 since approx 1 week after it's release.

If I appear to have harped on about a game that's off topic, there, it's because it's the most extreme example of a gulf between critics' and users' scores that I'm aware of - but I believe the point remains valid. The system's flawed.

hurrakan  Mar. 15, 2012 at 17:50

Ludicrous. The games industry is destroying itself from as many perspectives as possible.

It's stupid to put so much weight on the opinions of Metacritic.

Metacritic cannot be trusted - it's POSSIBLY mildly useful as a general indicator of whether a game is worth getting (NOT from the user score).

According to Metacritic, anyone who posts a game review anywhere on the web is a professional game critic.

E.g. My brother wrote some reviews for play.tm (his flat-mate from university owns it). My brother is NOT a professional game critic, or journalist but his reviews are included in Metacritic's "critic" score. He's not really a proper gamer to be honest - only rarely plays a bit of CoD / GoW / Halo / football games on Xbox.

gunnx  Mar. 15, 2012 at 22:14

Most companies would base a bonus on profit, not any sort of review or rating, why this should be any different. Hard work should be rewarded.

DivideByZero  Mar. 16, 2012 at 10:56

I still like the idea of being rewarded for making something good over making something that sells a lot. Even if the means they used to judge this is flawed.

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