Bioshock Developers Hiring With An “85%+ Metacritic Score” As A Requirement

Irrational, the developers behind the BioShock series, are looking for a Design Manager. That’s fine in itself, of course, but one of the requirements seems a little bit thought-provoking, at least.

Alongside needing six years as a game designer and a minimum of three shipped titles, the position also requires that the applicant have “credit on at least one game with an 85+ Average Meta Critic Review Score.”


Wanting the best for your company (and game) isn’t anything new, but does a game’s Metacritic score really reflect a game’s complete critical standing, and would such a limitation exclude amazing talent stuck on a substandard game?

And surely, all things considered, the Metacritic score is a reflection on the game, or the studio, rather than the individual. You can’t extrapolate this further without it seeming odd – TSA has never won any industry awards, for example, but we’ve got some fantastic writers.

And a Metacritic score – as useful as it can be when quickly wanting an overall singular opinion on a game at quick notice, often has little bearing on a game’s commercial success. Not always, anyway.

I personally like Metacritic, I think it’s great, but there’s more and more emphasis being placed on its game scores every year: in some cases bonuses are only paid to developers if a game reaches a certain score, for example, and this takes that one further.

Just thought it was interesting, and hopefully there’ll be some discussion from this.

Via GAF.



  1. of course that is wrong! Everyone knows 85 is not good enough this gen!

  2. Thats excluding high quality designers stuck on a poor game (as you say) but also excluding younger people that could bring a fresh vibe to the company. Doesn’t always apply but I think it does in this case, as a young guy myself I know the difficulties and fustrations this causes.

    • Well given it’s a managerial role (and given the six years, and three shipped game requirements) they’re probably not looking for young guys in this particular role.

  3. I also wonder about this limitation bringing in substandard talent working on an amazing game. Obviously they’re trying to filter down their applicants a bit, but Metacritic really does not feel like the way to do it.

  4. I would think its more important what Irrational think of the games he/she has previously worked on, and how they might fit with their team and what they are trying to achieve – not graded by MetaCritic score. If I bothered to look I’m sure I could find games I thought were better or more enjoyable than games with a highe MetaCritic score. Surely the same applies to the employers.

  5. If you were in the industry hiring a design manager with games under his belt surely you’d know about those games already or at least be able to buy and play them fairly readily? Probably not I suppose, since recruitment is either shifted onto the Human Remains department or the management don’t have any genuine interest in the products the industry produces.
    I think I spotted a typo on the second line, ‘thought’ is missing its ‘t’ :)

  6. This is an absolute joke.

    • Agreed 100%. What the hell type of effed-up logic is that! :-\

  7. Metacritic is an extremely useful buyers tool, as it gives you an overall picture of what all reviewers thought about a particular title & even allows you to dip into the odd review to get a feel for yourself. I usually find myself reading a few of the top ones as well as a few of the bottom ones just for a bit of balance & to find out what set the game apart (albeit in different ways) for those reviewers.

    However, that rarely influences my decision unless the top reviews absolutely rip on it too. If i can find something in the title i may like from the review regardless of score, i am more than likely to take a punt on it anyway – This is why i am such a fan of the pros & cons system in reviews. What someone considers a con may very well be a pro for me.

    So should Metacritic be used as something to decide whether someone gets a role in your company or not? Absolutely not.

    Its a bit like looking at someones facebook page & deciding that whilst this biochemist is exceptionally skilled in what he does, he does have a photo on his profile of him wearing a traffic cone on his head & being a bit unruly when he was in his teens, so he clearly isn’t suitable enough for interview 20 years later.

    But it’s actually worse than that, as they are looking at others opinions of a project that you worked on (no matter what the capacity) & making a decision based upon that. Do reviews touch on the one aspect that the potential interviewee might have worked on? Perhaps they do, but that won’t matter, as apparently they must be awful if the combined effort of the team didn’t reach anything above 85… In other peoples opinions.

    Bearing in mind that they are only opinions. It could even be that the reviewer isn’t really into those sorts of games & just cannot get rid of the bias & therefore rates it accordingly low. Should that reviewer have played that game & submitted a review, that being the case? Probably not, but that doesn’t matter once it is printed in black & white. That score then represents the gaming experience to be had from that particular outlet/website/whatever.

    I still feel sorry for the employees who worked on New Vegas as they would only have gotten a bonus if it reached eighty five on metacritic… & it reached eighty bloody four. In my book, that’s as good as.

  8. I dont think the quality of a game comes solely down to the devs. talent. Nowadays time constraints are a massive problem forced on developers from their publishers meaning a game has to be rushed in order to meet a specific window. What a ridiculous requirement. Its like being Lionel Messi but you play for Brentford and no one buying you because you haven’t won the premier league.

  9. As much as I respect Irrational, this is a weird move.

    • It’s an Irrational move. :P

  10. I get the feeling that people are misunderstanding this a little. Without knowing a great deal about the role, surely a Managerial position requires that the person is able to best organise and manage the staff that work in their department – people that are already employed by Irrational.

    The industry experience will be necessary to understand the projects at hand. But it doesn’t mean that the person who gets the job has to be the best games designer out there.

    One example, Jose Mourinho was not a great footballer – but he is a great manager (no matter what you think of him as a person).

    • To be fair, I reckon Mourinho would have a metacritic score above 85% if Metacritic did score football mangers too.

      • Haha, he probably would. The 15% he lost would almost definitely be in his ‘Presentation’ too!

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