The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) revealed on April 11 that it has updated its standards regarding developer credits in video games. According to the IGDA, its Game Credits Special Interest Group (SIG), has been working to “promote inclusivity and best practices for how credits are attributed [in video games].” Various IGDA SIGs have recently given feedback that resulted in the Game Crediting Guide getting its first update in over 10 years. But according to the association, there is still more work to be done.
“Employees [in the games industry] are often mislabeled, unlabeled, or left off [the list of credited developers], though they may have spent years of their life to bring a game to market,” read an official statement released by IGDA earlier today. The association’s claims are bolstered by the research performed by several IGDA interest groups. The results of the organization’s 2023 State Of Credits survey give a particularly eye-opening look at the way industry employees are credited–or not credited–for their work.
According to the results of the survey (as reported by the IGDA Analytics SIG), 51.3% of participants said they “never,” “seldom,” or “sometimes” receive official credit for their efforts. Over 80% of participants selected “no” or “unsure” when asked if their workplace or client had any official policy regarding game credits in place.
Evidence of this problem has appeared in the news with increasing frequency over the last few years, from the original developers of Metroid Prime receiving nothing but a short mention in the “special thanks” credits of the remastered game, to Sam Maggs, the lead writer of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, also being relegated to a small “special thanks” section. Maggs worked on the game for over a year and was responsible for the creation of new character Rivet, but after leaving Insomniac Games to pursue freelance opportunities, Maggs was surprised–and frustrated–by both the lack of proper credit and statements made by the game’s lead designer at GDC 2022 that completely ignored Maggs’ significant contributions to the game. Earlier this year, more controversy erupted after it was revealed that up to 20 employees who worked on The Callisto Protocol had also been left out of the credits, with some developers suggesting that employees who leave a studio before the game ships are “punished” by being erased from the endgame credits.
But the IGDA sees a brighter future on the horizon. “The new resources and the 2023 policy should enable studios and publishers all around the world to use them to develop their own best practices,” said Katie Golden, current chair of the IGDA Game Credits SIG. “We want all of our colleagues in the video game business to feel involved and support our policies so that we can lead the change globally.”
The IGDA’s statement also included links to several toolkits intended to help development teams organize their credits sequences, and revealed that a second update to the Game Crediting Guide is currently in the works, which “will be revised based on peer feedback from the recent Game Developers Conference (GDC) roundtable.”
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