Game companies might have their own reasons to not include certain employees in the credits. We asked developers what they think of the problem. Should studios include every employee in the credits, or can they act according to their internal policies?
Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One
Our sister site App2Top.ru spoke to three industry specialists on the matter in the wake of a situation around Sherlock Holmes: Chapter One, when Frogwares forgot to include a few former developers in the credits and later promised to fix it with a patch. Here are the key takeaways from the conversation.
According to freelance artist and former Sperasoft employee Tatiana Vetrova, she can count the number of projects she was credited in on the fingers of one hand. This problem is widespread among employees of outsourcing companies. “It depresses me, and I think that every outsourcing studio should fight for their employees to be mentioned in the credits,” Vetrova said.
She cited Halo Infinite as a positive example. While she left the development early and wasn’t mentioned as a member of the concept team, she was credited in the Special Thanks section. “I see it as a pretty good compromise for those developers who did a small part of the work or left before some important milestone,” she noted.
Composer and Principle Sound Design CEO Mikhail Kotov recalled a negative situation that happened at the beginning of his gamedev career. In 2010, he composed music for Deep Black, but studio Biart didn’t include his name in the credits.
However, Kotov noted that this practice has almost disappeared from the games industry. “I believe that situations like this should be assessed considering the cultural level of a certain company, or even a single person (for example, its CEO), but not as a global industry trend. Nowadays, a studio with a great level of self-respect will not allow itself to be tarnished by a scandal like this,” he said.
As Janna Goranskaya, Business Development Lead at Saber Interactive, pointed out, there are still no set of rules for mentioning developers in the credits in the modern games industry. Each company has its own policy regarding this issue.
“At Saber, we never do it on some malicious intent, although human mistakes can happen from time to time,” Goranskaya said. “If it turns out that we forgot to mention someone in the credits, we always try to fix it with a patch. Most modern games have a lot of patches after release, so there is no problem in adding people in the credits after the fact.”
Kotov also commented on a recent scandal around Metroid Dread, when MercuryStream said that only developers that work for at least 25% of the total development of a game can be included in the credits. He called the studio’s policy illogical.
“What if the game’s concept was created by one person, approved by another, executed by a third one, and the studio had a cleaning lady who worked there 24/7 all this time? The MercuryStream management must have a complex about this or something,” Kotov noted.
Tatiana Vetrova, however, thinks that mentioning a developer in the credits might depend on their contribution to a game. If an artist worked on a project for two weeks and made one concept that hasn’t been used in the final version, it doesn’t mean that the studio must include their name in the credits. If, on the other hand, an employee spent three years working on a game but left before its launch, it will be weird to not mention their name.
Kotov believes that the practice of excluding employees from the credits should be left in the past. “Those studios that don’t mention developers in the credits are stuck in their evolution. Let’s not touch on the legal side of this issue, as companies have the rights to not do it. It’s just a testament to how much you respect your employees,” he noted.
Janna Goranskaya concluded that every studio has the right to decide how to act in situations like that for itself. Things will change only when the industry will have a single standard on this issue.