Irrational Games, developers famous for the Bioshock and System Shock franchises, posted a job listing for a Design Manager position recently and, in between all the standard expectations, there is a requirement for “Credit on at least one game with an 85+ Average Meta Critic Review Score.”
This follows a few months after news that Obsidian Entertainment missed out on a bonus that would have saved them a few layoffs after getting an 84 on Metacritic instead of an 85, and after years of small debate over how much influence Metacritic scores have over the gaming industry.
Considering the pedigree of Irrational Games, it’s easy to see why they would want to hire only the best of the best, and this is simply on requirement off a list 10 points long from which there are other demanding requirements that ask for exceptional experiences. On the flipside, this is the only requirement that’s actually an accomplishment and can easily be the consequence of the actions of others since game development is rarely an individual effort. This is, if anything, an effort to filter out applicants so that they receive people who have at least some experience working on a highly received game.
It’s worth noting that it’s very, very hard to actually find someone in the industry who has both acted in a prominent development role of a major or popular game at some point in time and has not ever had an 85 on Metacritic. Even the people behind the terrible Army Men series have some highly acclaimed games on their CV’s. The only person I found who has made a major game in the last few years and has not received at least one 85+ Metascore is Suda 51, who came very close with an 84. So, if anything, this requirement from Irrational Games is a No Suda 51′s Allowed type of deal.