THE BUZZ: According to one staffer at Obsidian, the Fallout: New Vegas developer lost out on bonuses they would have received for making the game due to a 1 point difference in the game’s average score on Metacritic.
EGM’s TAKE: This information came from Obsidian developer Chris Avellone on Twitter, who has since deleted the tweet. One of the great things about Twitter is that it gets people talking who might not otherwise—and yet, one of the bad things about the service is that it gets people talking about things they maybe shouldn’t.
The tweet in question came in response to Twitter member Trey, who—in speaking about the current situation surrounding Obsidian—said the following:
“I would of thought New Vegas was a pretty clear boost financially for Obsidian. It was the most successful seller I presume.”
In response to that, Avellone said:
“was a straight payment, no royalties, only a bonus if we got an 85+ on Metacritic, which we didn’t.”
The game’s average score on Metacritic? 84—meaning that Obsidian missed out on receiving a bonus for their work by one point.
This is a very complicated topic, one where I think all parties are to blame: Metacritic, publishers, developers, us reviewers, and even fans. This isn’t the first time a developer has lost out on bonuses or even employment due to Metacritic scores, and the worst part is, it certainly won’t be the last.
I’d like to ask you—do you think developers and publishers should be so heavily invested in the average score a game has on Metacritic? Is it fair to base the success of a game on one little number? Or is it a fact of life that people just have to get used to?