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(UPDATED) Metacritic Scoring People Now

That M? Starting to wince at the site of it.

I am all for giving recognition where it's due in the games industry. Given that a team can have anywhere from one to a couple of hundred developers, artists, writers, etc. working on a single game, there's a lot of love to be given to people that aren't just the face for a given game. Ask me about people like Leonard Boyarsky, Tim Cain, Corey & Lori Ann Cole, David Gaider, Jennifer Brandes Hepler, and scores of others, and I will gladly talk your ear off on what I believe they've given to the industry. And those? They're still fairly large names, compared to all the people building levels, making sounds, animating our characters, etc.

Which is why I am confused by Metacritic's new feature: giving people in the games industry scores based on the aggregate of the work with which they have been involved. I recently stated that the obsession with Metacritic and its scores is akin to the grades situation in school, particularly with grade inflation, so this move seems one step further in making that analogy, though it still falls short of the mark.

The situation is exacerbated for multiple reasons: the credits it has will apparently be filtered through GameFAQS (the two are under the same umbrella), which has already resulted in people such as Cliff Bleszinski ask for the removal of Geist from his page (the man's never even worked at N-space, so it's hard to fathom how he ended up the Game Designer of that title). This means it is both incomplete, and quite possibly prone to all manner of headaches as regards the accuracy its credits. It seems they would probably have been better off collaborating with MobyGames in some regard.

Further, there is always the question of teamwork versus an individual's capability. No one wants to be stuck on a team with someone who is a bit of a diva, but if everyone is working together well, and say the level designer has nothing to do with the person in charge of voice direction, do they really deserve the same score? In terms of a game? Sure, it's the a team effort (though I'm still wary of assigning a score). In terms of their individual page? I'm not sure it is an appropriate reflection of an individual's actual capabilities. Furthermore, there is some jumping around in roles, so should there be a page for every hat a particular person wears?

I cannot fathom what purpose this actually serves. Let's just hope it doesn't result in further desire for inflation of scores, or hiring practices based on such.

Let's end on a positive note, however. Name one designer (of levels, sound, writing... anything) of whom you are a fan, and why.

UPDATE: Metacritic will be taking down the scores, but still keeping the credits pages for now. Apparently they want users to be able to find content based on individuals involved in a process.

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