New Crediting Guidelines Released by International Game Developers Association
The lack of original staff credits for Metroid Prime Remastered was a bit of a gut punch to the developers of the original game. Only a couple months after MPR’s release, some effort’s been made to help solve this growing problem of missing credits.
On March 13, 2023, the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) released an update to their Game Crediting Guidelines. This new version (10.1) builds upon their previously established policies to help remedy the on-going issue of game developers not receiving proper credit for their work, as well as publishers and studios not having properly established guidelines they can rely on.
Zoid Kirsch was very vocal at the onset of the lack of proper credits in Metroid Prime Remastered. In a recent interview by Kiwi Talkz, Jack Matthews, the lead technical engineer for Metroid Prime on the GameCube also voiced his opinion regarding the lack of credits.
According to IGDA’s 2023 State of Credits survey, they had found that “51.3% of respondents either ‘never,’ ‘seldom,’ or ‘sometimes’ receive official credit for their efforts. Additionally, 83.1% of respondents indicated “unsure” or “no” when asked if their employer or client had a game credits policy in place.” These percentages represent huge gaps in the video game industry regarding the issue of credits. Rather than the original development team being given full credits at the end of the Metroid Prime Remastered, just a few lines were added to note that MPR was “based on the work of Metroid Prime (Original Nintendo GameCube and Wii Versions) Development staff.”
This issue has been plaguing the video game industry for quite some time. And it’s no wonder – that stat of 83.1% makes it incredibly clear: video game publishers and studios often lack the policies on how to properly offer credits. Thankfully, IGDA’s new guidelines should help rectify this issue.
It’s important to note that the Game Crediting Guidelines are not mandatory across the industry. Publishers like Nintendo, EA, or even smaller indie-level groups are not legally bound to uphold the guidelines; however, a general expectation is being set thanks to IGDA. As we move forward, hopefully more and more publishers will look to these guidelines and create a positive trend in properly crediting their games. The policy itself is also incredibly helpful for any publisher that doesn’t have an internal policy of their own in place.
Guidelines with Purpose
Now, there’s that big question that many want to ask: why don’t publishers just credit everyone involved? IGDA offers an initial answer in their FAQ section towards the end of their guidelines, and I think it’s an important answer that people understand. If you had a policy that was simply “credit everyone,” what does that mean? You need some sense of guidelines in place. It’s the only way you can hold the parties involved accountable. If the policy says a certain person should have been given credit but wasn’t, the studio that adopted that policy is at fault. There’s a clear guideline you can reference that determines that.
You might say, well create a policy that makes sure everyone involved is given credit! But the reality is that you also need a policy that’s manageable. If you have a 10,000 page document of this and that, nobody’s going to adopt it and we’re back at square one. As IGDA states in the FAQ, “while more detailed qualification rules could be developed on a per company basis, the Committee believes that it may be counter-productive and that simple rules are preferred […]”
Overall, the new guidelines that IGDA has released is an incredible step forward for the gaming industry. It gives developers and their respective publishers and studios something concrete they can point to. And going forward, one can only hope that these guidelines will become the industry minimum standard.
Join the Discussion
What do you think about the issue of video game credits? Do you like the approach that IGDA has taken or is there something else you would have liked to see instead? Share your thoughts in the comments below!
The International Game Developers Association (IGDA) is the world’s largest nonprofit membership organization serving all individuals who create games. The mission of the IGDA is to support and empower game developers around the world in achieving fulfilling and sustainable careers.
Source: International Game Developers Association
Daniel is a Website Reporter for Omega Metroid and an avid fan of the Metroid series. You can find me most places as AFallenApple.