Metroid Dread is out in the wild and it's looking like a tremendous success – it's an absolute cracker, for starters, and has just nabbed itself a debut week number one in the Japanese charts. Unfortunately, though, there is a downer on proceedings that's come to light since the game's release last Friday.
A number of staffers who worked at Metroid Dread studio MercurySteam during the game's development, but have since left the company, have claimed that they aren't included in the game's credits despite finding their work in the final product. As spotted by Vandal, 3D artist Roberto Mejías raised the issue on LinkedIn, questioning the development studio's decision to leave them out:
"I would like to sincerely congratulate the Metroid Dread team for putting out such an outstanding game. I'm not surprised of the quality of the game though, since the amount of talent on that team was through the roof. I know this first hand because, despite not being included on the game's credits, I was part of that team for eight months.
While playing the game, I've recognized quite a few assets and environments I worked on... so my work is there. Then, I would like to ask MercurySteam: Why do I not appear on the game's credits? Is it some kind of mistake?"
Speaking to Vandal, another staffer who wished to remain anonymous told a similar story, saying that they worked on the game at MercurySteam for eleven months but haven't been included in the credits. They called it "a very ugly practice".
The games industry has struggled with this problem for a long time, with no official guidance in place for how studios should go about crediting their staff. In most cases, the employer has the final say, sometimes resulting in temporary team members or those who have moved on from the company just ahead of a game's launch to be removed entirely.
In Vandal's report, a MercurySteam representative told the outlet that "the policy of the studio requires that anyone must work on the project [for] at least 25% of the total development of the game to appear in the final credits," going on to say that "sometimes exceptions are made when making exceptional contributions." Metroid Dread was thought to be in development for four years, which would explain why anyone who didn't work on the game for a full year might have been cut.
Of course, the question remains why? Why should putting eleven months of hard work into a project rather than twelve mean that you don't receive credit for your efforts, potentially spoiling future career opportunities?