UPDATE [26/11]: Odd Bug Studio and publisher United Label has reached out to us with a statement. The statement is as follows:
While we can’t go into specific details about the contracts that we hold with our development teams, we can confirm that as a publisher, we do our very best to support our teams and ensure that they have all of the resources they need in order to create amazing and memorable games. They’re always at the forefront of our thinking when it comes to creating the terms and conditions before they sign on the dotted line. It’s no secret that many contracts do offer numerous additional bonuses or rewards for certain targets being met that are above and beyond the core commercial deal. Our contract with Odd Bug contains a number of bonuses and rewards that can be triggered throughout development, and we believe we’re very fair with these – the one that they mentioned in the tweet was certainly not the only one, nor the most important. We can confirm that Odd Bug have already triggered a bonus which is testament to the great work they have done on the game.
Original story: Tails of Iron developer Odd Bug Studio has seemingly revealed in a tweet that developers will only get a pay bonus if the game has reviewed well on OpenCritic.
A tweet posted earlier today on the Odd Bug Studio Twitter account read: “With the Bloody Whiskers DLC just released there hasn’t been a better time to review Tails of Iron. We’re just 3 points away from getting a big bonus for the team $$$$$! Review codes available!”
Way back in 2012, Kotaku’s Jason Schreier reported on Obsidian developers on Fallout New Vegas did not receive a pay bonus as the game score below 85 on Metacritic. He highlighted why this was a bad move as review scores do not measure the quality of a product. A 7/10 from Edge is not the same as a 7/10 at Game Informer, for example.
Maybe don’t do this?
It’s weird to think this trend is still continuing, even today. As of the time of writing, Tails of Iron’s OpenCritic score sits at 87% recommended by critics, with an average score of 82. This is based on 47 reviews. That means developer pay bonuses are decided by a numeric algorithm decided by certain games critics.
GameByte did not review Tails of Iron. Does that mean if we reviewed and liked the game, that could have been the deciding factor on whether someone can afford to heat their homes or buy loved ones Christmas presents this year? That’s an unnecessary amount of pressure to put on someone who’s supposed to be an impartial voice in all this.
The fact that we’ve also been tagged in the tweet, along with other outlets, does not sit well with us, nor has it for some people that have seen the tweet.
We’ve reached out to Odd Bug Studio for comment on this and will update the article accordingly.
Tails of Iron is published by United Label, a publisher that has several successful games under its wing, so this choice is very odd to say the least. It’s bad for the developer, bad for the reviewers and will ultimately be bad for the game.
Featured Image Credit: Odd Bug Studio