Explaining Stars and Hearts
Any stars missing will affect your reviews – and review score affects sales directly. The effect is harsher on higher difficulties, to the point releasing any game of your own in Legendary with too many items with two or less stars is just asking for a flop. In difficulties below medium, the effect is minimal, but still there, and paired up with other things a new player may not know, they could cause a nice fat bankruptcy.
As for hearts, it’s better to aim for the big names – the five-star publishers. In an NPC’s case, the “stars” mean something else – it’s both tied to their own market share and the potential quality of their games. So a publisher with a higher star rating will give you a smaller sign-up fee and will give you less money per game, but those small losses are balanced and (IMO) outdone by the number of sales you’ll get from a 5-star publisher, even compared to a 4-star one.