Lanoirecredits.com is a website dedicated to giving credit to all of the men and women who put enough time into L.A. Noire’s development to meet the IGDA’s (International Game Developers Association) guidelines for proper crediting. The website claims that over 100 men/women were not given credit for their work on L.A. Noire, most of whom put in enough time to receive full credit.
According to the IGDA, whose guidelines are not standardized, developers who contribute at least 30 days to a project should receive “Additional” credit, while developers who contribute at least 8 months of their time should be given “Full” credit. Lanoirecredits.com claims that, on top of the 100 missing developers, some developers–eligible for actual credit–were listed under the “Special Thanks” category. In a well connected industry, why snub over 100 developers?
I got the chance to speak with the developers behind LaNoireCredits.com. While they would, understandably, like to remain anonymous, my questions were passed around to multiple developers with information on the subject.
When asked about the possible reasons for excluding the developers, I was given an answer that won’t exactly reinforce anyone’s optimism. According to the devs., this may be an issue of leverage.
With regards to future employment, credit on a title is a major issue. As the developers note, this is the perfect “carrot on a string.”
“By mandating that credits are only assigned to those who remain at the studio by project’s end, this gives management the perfect carrot to dangle at the end of the stick, that they use to ensure developers stick to gruelling schedules and extended crunches.”
The LaNoireCredits website mentions that some of the uncredited developers didn’t leave by choice. Certain positions were made redundant towards the end of the game’s development cycle. Just how many of these excluded devs. had put in enough time to receive “full” credit by the IGDA’s standards? As of the time of this writing, 106.
“By using the IGDA’s definition of full credit (ie. 8 months or more in the role working on the project) we have, at this point, 106 developers given full credit that weren’t recognised in the game or manual credits. The other 30+ developers on our list are given an ‘Additional Programming/Design/Art etc.’ credit for having worked on the project for over 30 days.”
This isn’t the first time Rockstar has been accused of excluding developers. In 2007, former Rockstar development lead, Jurie Horneman, attempted to amend the Manhunt 2 credits. According to Horneman, 55 developers were excluded from the game’s credits. Horneman says that, aside from some employees who moved to Rockstar London, no one from Rockstar Vienna was credited.
“I am disappointed and outraged that Rockstar Games tries to pretend that Rockstar Vienna and the work we did on Manhunt 2 never happened – the work of over 50 people, who put years of their lives into the project, trying to make the best game they could. I am proud to have been a part of that team.”
Some may use L.A. Noire’s long development cycle (around 7 years) as an excuse for the exclusions. The developers I spoke with don’t believe that’s a viable excuse. In fact, they use a game with an even longer development cycle as an example for the right way to handle what could possibly be a confusing crediting process.
“To give a balancing point of view, it would be amiss to not point out Gearbox Software’s initiative, prior to their release of Duke Nukem Forever, of their efforts to get all the developers that were involved in the game’s 13 year development (across 2 studios, 1 shuttered down no less) credited in the final release. They had a website set up to receive submissions (http://www.gearboxsoftware.com/dnf-credits/) - now closed, of course, as the game ships next week.”
On top of that, the people at LaNoireCredits have managed to obtain information on the developers’ work history and have fact checked said information.
Multiple accusations have been pointed in Rockstar’s direction, but this can’t be an issue exclusive to the company. While it’s difficult to say just how widespread the issue is, crediting scuffles have taken place at Capcom over the Wii version of Okami and at Mythic over Warhammer Online.
Without a standardized system, crediting developers is always going to be a messy process full of inaccuracies. With teams expanding daily, it’s a problem that’s only going to get worse. But LaNoireCredits isn’t looking for retroactive atonement. They want this to serve as a lesson to companies. Developers won’t sit by idly as their work goes uncredited.
“We’re not so much an organization, more a bunch of developers getting together to put something up, trying to do what is right for our peers. Of course, we welcome any statement from Rockstar or Team Bondi on the matter – but we understand that the horse has already bolted – we aren’t trying to shut the barn door. From the very beginning, our goal was not to seek some kind of recompense, but to raise awareness amongst the development and gaming community of what has happened, in the hopes that this will not occur again to other developers in the future.”
You can “like” LaNoireCredits by visiting their Facebook page. Rockstar was contacted but, as of this writing, has not responded.