ALL WALLS MUST FALL is the first game that has Alexander Swords' name in the credits.
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Episode

Credit where credit is due: Game developers want simpler, consistent creative credits

Alexander Swords says that collective action is part of the reason why film and television creatives have consistent credits, but it's not the only answer.

April 25, 2022 9:30 AM

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If you work in the games industry it can be surprisingly complex to get your name into the end credits, that end sequence often doesn't include everyone who helped to ship that video game.

Project based work and short contracts, and inconsistent recognition means some developers feel they aren't getting the acknowledgement they deserve, especially when compare to their peers in other industries.

It's something that Alexander Swords, one of the members of the Games Credit Special Interest Group (SIG), part of the International Game Developers Association wants to change and create a standard for creative credits.

"Everything is kind of all over the place in terms of how credits are done in games at the moment, there's no real good guide to go to," said Swords.

"We're a little bit behind the eight ball, say compared to film and television who've had standards for many, many years on how things should be done."

Alexander Swords is one of the members of the Games Credit SIG calling for clearer and consistent rules.
"It's really important for a whole bunch of different reasons, the least of which it's nice. It's nice to see your name attached to something that you've done, there's a certain kind of realness that us humans get out of just being able to point to our name and a thing that we're quite proud of."

"But just as importantly, we need to be able to actually prove that we've worked on those projects, in games in particular, we don't really have any one good source of knowledge to prove whether we did work on a project or not and so obviously, being able to either point to the game, or take a screenshot of the credits in the game is incredibly important."

The Game Credits SIG said in a statement that how staff are credited varies significantly between development teams and it can be difficult to navigate process to try get your name in the credits if you aren't automatically included.

Eventually the group hopes to have a turnkey framework that any studio can adopt to ensure their workers are appropriately acknowledged.

As it stands many subcontractors in the games industry aren't credited despite working in house for the duration of a game's production and full time developers who leave before the game is shipped are sometimes not included either.

Ikumi Nakamura former Creative Director on GHOSTWIRE TOKYO left before that game was released and while she was acknowledged it was just with a "Special Thanks"

ALL WALLS MUST FALL from Inbetween Games is a tactical noir game set in a future Berlin where the Cold War didn't end.

Swords says that these creative rights in screen have been won through collective action and is hoping a bit of a groundswell of support develops as the Games Credit SIG launches their #myfirstgamecredit campaign.

"It's been sometimes hard fought, but it's always been the workers standing up for their rights in many of those cases, film and television have strong guilds and strong unions and so their credit discussion has been taken up by that group,"

"I'm not sure that we necessarily need to rely on big groups like that, I'm certainly seeing a lot of studios definitely want to try and do the right thing, so I think the first step forward is actually just coming up with a version of a standardised crediting, and then see how far we can go with that."

In film and television professional guilds such as the Screen Actors Guild, Writers Guild of America and Producers Guild determine who ends up in the opening credits, and with the move to digital fillmmaking, a standard developed for the fixed hierarchy of closing credits

Video games have inherited some of these conventions from screen but it isn't consistent.

"My first game credit was our writer on a game called All Walls Must Fall, and it's funny because I started game dev a bit late in age so my first credit I think, was 37 or 38," said Swords.

"Even though I've done a lot of creative stuff before  it really meant something, it felt like I was a real writer for the first time in a in a more public kind of sense."

"I've done a fair bit of writing through my career, but most of it's been hidden, or for different kinds of projects and this was the first time that my name was really out there on a game for some writing that I was really proud of."

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