"Studios like us, we rely on our portfolios to get more business. And if we can’t put something in our portfolio, then it costs."
- SuperGenius studio director Paul Culp
Plenty of games are made, whole or in part, by teams that receive no credit at all for their work. Today, Polygon has a feature by Matt Leone that blows the cover off of "secret" game development, with quotes from Western and Eastern teams that make games undercover.
One such team is Tokyo-based Hyde; few had heard of the studio, despite is work on high-profile franchises like Persona and Final Fantasy, until its name popped up in the doomed Kickstarter for Red Ash. But public information suggested the highly experienced team had barely worked on just a few, low-profile games -- and that lead to a lot of uncertainty about its capabilities, helping to crater the crowdfunding effort.
Secret game development is very common in Japan, and Kenichi Yanagihara, the company's president, explains why:
"In Japan, it’s very common to say, ‘I’m going to buy this game because it’s Square Enix. I’m going to buy this game because it’s Atlus. I’m going to buy this game because it’s Nintendo.’ If you go the extra step and say, ‘Well actually, it’s created by this person,’ then it kind of weakens the player’s impression because it’s somebody they don’t know, or it’s a developer they didn’t expect."
Western studios sometimes take the same tack, though -- or obscure the involvement of external partners so as to not show that the studio needs help to make it through a project, the interviewees say.
The full feature offers more insights from teams around the globe, and it's worth a read.