MTV Multiplayer's reviews week is drawing to a close. And I thought it would be good to end with one of the fundamental topics of any conversation about reviews: are game review scores really necessary?
Several stories in this week's series demonstrated the role game review scores play in the business (Note that no one ever said they guarantee higher sales!). I asked two of the game development studio leads who have been quoted throughout my series what they think about the need for the number and letter scores.
Denis Dyack, Silicon Knights: All reviews need is a 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down.' If I was writing a review I would write a detailed review about where I thought [a game] was strong or weak. I would write is as if I was talking to a friend who I liked or appreciated -- which should be the customer, for a reviewer. ... You see all these 10 out of 10 reviews for 'GTA.' A 10 out of 10 doesn't make it perfect. Just have people score it with thumbs up or down. To say this is 'highly recommended by most people,' I think, is more accurate. To me this makes much more sense."
Ted Price, Insomniac Games: As a consumer I like seeing the numerical scores. It lets me know if I should go spend my money. If something is under a certain score I probably won't give it much consideration. I think as a developer I think we all appreciate the numerical scores because it justifies the work we put in the game. .. I understand the problem with numbers because there is no consistent system that people use. But generally when you see a good game, it's getting scores within a certain range and when you see a bad game it's getting scores in a certain range.
And that is a debate I suspect will never cease. Stay tuned for one more post in this series, fittingly enough, about second-guessing.