Some developers on the space horror blockbuster Callisto Protocol say they were omitted from the end credits sequence despite extensive work on the game and key contributions to the finished product. The claims come amid a renewed push throughout the video game industry to fix a broken crediting system that often punishes lower-ranking employees and those who leave prior to the final release date.
In a new report by GamesIndustry.biz, former employees at Striking Distance Studios say they believe around 20 developers were left off Callisto Protocol’s long end-of-game credits roll. Many were surprised by the omission, and say the studio never formally communicated a policy of leaving developers off the credits if they left before the game shipped. A few regard it as punishment for taking a job somewhere else.
“[The credits omission] felt like an obvious F-U to those who were left out,” one source tells GamesIndustry.biz. “Somebody wanted to send a message, and the message was, ‘Next time have a bit more loyalty to us.’”
Striking Distance was formed by former Dead Space director Glen Schofield in 2019 after leaving Call of Duty studio Sledgehammer Games. Late last year as its debut game was finishing development, Schofield was criticized for a tweet that endorsed crunch culture, celebrating sacrifice and long overtime hours.
While he later deleted the tweet and apologized, Bloomberg subsequently confirmed that at least some developers at the studio had crunched during production. Schofield told Bloomberg that some staff were “working hard for a few weeks” but that no overtime was mandatory.
Some former developers now tell GamesIndustry.biz that studio management would make promises to address crunch culture in the very same meetings where it would praise the long hours people had put in. “My issue is those of us who took part in that culture, who put in that time, and worked intensely to help craft this product, were punished with a credit omission for not going the extra mile…to stay until it shipped.”
The International Game Developers Association announced a plan last August to try and standardize how developers are credited for their work, and foster the spread of tools that can make it easier to update end credits scrolls when they are missing someone or contain other inaccuracies. “Game credits are hard, particularly in AAA,” former Naughty Dog communications manager, Scott Lowe, tweeted in reaction to today’s GamesIndustry.biz report. “But the answer is easy: credit everyone. Gating by time and subjective assessments of value/impact is messy and cruel.”
Striking Distance Studios did not immediately respond to a request for comment.