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Credit Where It's Due: IGDA's Della Rocca Speaks Out

Gamasutra spoke to IGDA executive director Jason Della Rocca about the organization's recent push for industry-wide adoption of crediting standards in games, on the heels of controversy surrounding an absence of credit for members of the Rockstar Vienna t
The IGDA has recently begun a push for industry-wide adoption of crediting standards in games, in the wake of claims, originally broken by Gamasutra, that a number of Rockstar Vienna employees were missing from the credits of Manhunt 2. To that end, the company has released a public beta of its Credit Standards Guide, which was posted in September to the IGDA's members for feedback. The Credit Standards Committee chair, John Feil, will also host a roundtable at the 2008 Game Developers Conference, titled "The IGDA Credits Movement: The Revolution Is Already Here". Gamasutra spoke to IGDA executive director Jason Della Rocca about the push. He called accurate, complete and fair crediting "essential" to professional development and artistic fulfillment for all, and added that credit standards would also aid employers in making hiring decisions. How do you get publishers to credit consistently? What motivation can we give them? This is an industry driven by talent. More and more, we are seeing studios take a "talent = asset" approach. This includes practices like being mindful of work/life balance, maintaining competitive pay scales, providing opportunities to learn/grow, and ensuring credit is accurately given. Those studios that hold onto abusive practices will have a tougher time holding onto top talent. Which, in turn, is the talent they need to make great/profitable games. Ultimately, investing in talent is the best way to run a business. So, beyond pushing credit standards as simply the "right thing" to do, natural economics (and the maturation of the profession/industry) will help drive their adoption. What wider conclusions has the IGDA drawn on the state of game crediting? An earlier report from the Credit Standards Committee did an assessment of the current state of industry crediting, both in terms of process and labels/titles. That's online at: http://www.igda.org/credit/IGDA_CreditsSnapshot_Apr06.pdf In short, the conclusion is that it's all a big mess. Though, what's encouraging is that we're getting interest and buy-in at all levels. Not only is the rank-and-file developer keen on the prospect of consistently receiving fair and accurate credit, but we're hearing from producers who dread the credit process and are desperate for a set of rules/standards to refer to. Studios, of course, like the idea of having a degree of assured accuracy so that CVs can't be bloated with "embellished" credit claims. What do you say to those who demand the right to credit as they wish - for example, games like Guitar Hero III just credit all of Neversoft alphabetically. Is this wise? A big alpha dump is certainly better than no credit at all, as was the case in Manhunt 2. However, the IGDA standards specifically call for fully-contextualized credits. A big list of names does not provide enough info or insight into who contributed what to a given project, eliminating many of the benefits of having a standard in the first place. At the end of the day, we are proposing a set of voluntary standards. While our hope is that all studios will adopt the standards, we realize it may take a while.

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