In particular, Hayes said that Metacritic scores are important for "high-end Playstation 3 or Xbox 360" titles that are attempting to "break out" in a particular genre. "You have to target that quality," said Hayes, "because otherwise you don't have a hope in Hell." He added further that there is "too much evidence" that games that fail to surpass a certain Metacritic score "are not going to cut through."
Still, according to Hayes, Metacritic isn't the only consideration, as several factors -- such as release date, platform availability, and whether or a not a game is part of an established franchise -- affect a game's success. Hayes believes it would be wrong to make Metacritic score targets a part of every developer contract, but notes that it's not unfair for publishers to have "certain expectations of quality levels" for expensive projects. "But to demand it on absolutely everything," he said, "wouldn't be right at all." There's a Sonic Unleashed joke in there somewhere.