In what has become a new norm for trolls in the gaming community, a review bombing campaign was in full swing for Horizon Forbidden West over the weekend. The issue was brought to light by several Twitter and Reddit users but it looks like Metacritic was quick to catch on. While the game is still receiving a plethora of 0s as we speak, it looks like the website is quickly wiping them out, maintaining an average user score of 8. At one point during the weekend, the score was a solid 3.
Why Horizon Forbidden West review bombing matters
Metacritic isn’t the only platform plagued by review bombing campaigns but it is a website that matters. For starters, developers often use feedback on Metacritic and Steam as some kind of a metric for how well-received their game is, and positive scores often get quoted in stakeholder meetings. In fact, some developers even hand out bonuses if their games hit a certain milestone on Metacritic. More recently, it was reported that Cyberpunk 2077 developers would have their bonuses withheld if the game fell below 90/100 on the website. Interestingly, former Bend Studio staffer Jeff Ross once claimed that Days Gone 2’s pitch was turned down partly because the game didn’t do too well on Metacritic.
Opinion: Reviews shouldn’t be the only metric for success
Zarmena writes… Review bombing is only lucrative because developers rely on reviews far too much. Reviews are subjective opinions and should be treated as such. Constructive criticism is one thing, but planning company bonuses around Metacritic scores is pretty asinine, to say the least. I will always maintain that The Order 1886 and Murdered Soul Suspect are great games and… uhh… let’s not look at their Metacritic scores, okay?