Metroid Dread developers who left MercurySteam before its launch are upset and confused by their omission from the game’s credits.
The long-awaited Metroid Prime 4 is still MIA, but Metroid Dread has more than made up for its absence. Coinciding with the series’ 35th anniversary, it’s easily one of the best Metroid games ever made – and one of the most commercially successful.
But its release hasn’t been an entirely happy occasion, as a number of developers who left Spanish studio MercurySteam before it was finished have said they weren’t credited for their work on the game.
Roberto Mejías, who worked as a senior 3D artist at MercurySteam for eight months in 2019, posted a congratulatory message on his LinkedIn. However, he is confused that he was omitted from the credits despite his work being used in the final product.
‘I would like to sincerely congratulate the Metroid Dread team for putting out such an outstanding game. I’m not surprised of the quality of the game though, since the amount of talent on that team was through the roof. I know this first hand because, despite not being included on the game’s credits, I was part of that team for eight months.
‘While playing the game, I’ve recognised quite a few assets and environments I worked on… so my work is there.’
3D character animator Tania Peñaranda Hernández says she was left out of the credits as well. She worked on the game for seven months, leaving the studio in May 2020.
‘I am very happy and proud to finally be able to see my work on the project, a job that I did with great love and enthusiasm! I am also very proud of the whole team!’ she writes on LinkedIn.
‘But it also saddens me to see that I am not reflected in the credits for this work that I did. It has been hard for me to see that they have considered that it should be like this when I keep seeing a lot of animations that I made in every gameplay.’
In a statement provided to Spanish site Vandal, a MercurySteam representative says that company policy dictates that people must have worked on a game for at least 25% of its development time to appear in the credits. Although they add that there are exceptions for ‘exceptional contributions’.
The former employees don’t appear to be satisfied with this answer, with Mejías telling Vandal that the studio is just covering its back, saying ‘They can always say that they consider someone’s contribution to be exceptional and do whatever they want’.
He does admit that since Metroid Dread’s development time was three years and he worked on it for eight months, he doesn’t meet the criteria for appearing in the credits. But he also argues that his omission may also be because of how he departed MercurySteam.
According to Mejías, a clause in MercurySteam’s contracts says that the notice period is 42 working days. After a little investigation, Mejías discovered that the workers’ statute establishes a minimum notice period of 15 working days. So when he left before the 42 days, he incurred a financial penalty.
‘I have been listening to colleagues for years complaining about how people are treated at MercurySteam and I was sick of anyone doing anything about it. I hope more people are encouraged to give their version.’
A third former employee who wished to remain anonymous told Vandal that they worked on the game for more than 11 months and yet were still absent from the credits.
‘Not accrediting the work of the team that puts all the love in the project, and the effort, is a very ugly practice,’ they said, adding that, even if they had only worked for 1% of its development time, they should still be credited.
This is unfortunately a common problem across the games industry as, unlike the film industry, there are no rules for who should be credited and in what way, which has lead to many publishers leaving out contributors on purpose or through simple neglect.
In related news, Metroid Dread players have been encountering a rather nasty bug that prevents progression. Near the end of the game, if you destroy a door while a map marker for that specific door is displayed on the map, the game forcibly shuts down.
Fortunately, Nintendo not only knows precisely what’s causing this error, but it has also provided a temporary solution. Simply restart the game and, before playing through this sequence, remove the door icon map marker. A proper patch to remove this bug is already scheduled for the end of October.
Metroid Dread is available on Nintendo Switch.
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