When working on any sort of creative project, part of what comes with the hard work is the credit given to you. It simply is what it is. For me, I write for Explosion.com and each and every article I have written includes a byline — or in layman’s terms, my name — to let the world know that I am responsible for each article. If that is a good thing or a bad thing has yet to be determined, but as long as Explosion.com exist or as long as Google retrieves cached pages, when I tell someone that I work for Explosion.com, there is proof of that. Every article, from the ones that get no comments to the ones with all-out flame wars in the comments sections, from the ones about small games no one will play to the blockbusters are documented. It both strokes my ego and helps me get more work in the future.
In film and gaming, it is no different. How many of us actually watch the full credits to a game? Sure, some games offer trophies or achievements for watching the entire credits, but many of us just leave them running after finishing a game while we go to get a drink, or just mash buttons to skip through them entirely. A few months ago I was playing a now-deceased game from EA Sports online on its last night of having active servers with a few of the developers. We got to talking about their work on the game, and one of them mentioned that he was proud when he was watching the credits and saw his name slide by. I laughed and made a joke that it was a bit egotistical on his part to watch the credits fly by, and then both of them talked about how credits are important to them, because of who they work with, who they know and who they respect. In fact, most game developers watch the credits in games they play just to see if any former co-workers helped out in a game, or to see who they might want to work with someday.
I guess, in a way, it makes perfect sense. As a writer, I feel like there is a lot less of that whole giant team to making something happen stuff in play. When I read a good book, I am not looking to see who the editor or agent was for the writer (not that most books readily list credits like that, anyway), I just chalk it up for the author and move on. After writing an article, I don’t thank my girlfriend publicly for dealing with me, although maybe I should.
Recently, Elizabeth Tobey from 2k Games departed the company, moving on to greener pastures. Well, this means that two of the games she has worked on during the past few years — Borderlands 2 and XCOM: Enemy Unknown — will simply list her in the “Special Thanks” section of the credits. That is fine for spouses, dogs and for local pizza places, but for actual employees who worked on the game, it seems a bit crass. Tobey went on a bit of a rant on her personal blog, discussing how this affects her in the future, as her name in the credits is proof of her work, and Kotaku agreed with it.
How do you feel about former employees not getting listed in the proper place in the credits of a game? Does it erase their work history?