Former MercurySteam Developers Left Out of Metroid Dread Credits

by in General | Oct, 16th 2021

With Metroid Dread finally out, players are congratulating the work of MercurySteam, the development studio behind Metroid Dread, on a job well done. The game finally came to fruition after the idea of the title laid dormant for over 19 years. With the job done by MercurySteam on the remake of Metroid II: Return of Samus, players have found themselves falling in love once again with the bounty hunter from beyond the stars as she embarks on the final arc of her journey. 

However, while the developers have done a perfect job at the game, there’s an issue with the title that players haven’t found out about until the developers pointed it out. The issue doesn’t come from the gameplay or the visuals. Instead, it comes from one of the most unlikely places—the credits.

Inside of the credits for the game, a few people are missing who have been a part of the development team, and it wasn’t until someone noticed when they were playing the game for themselves that they realized that their name wasn’t on the list of people who worked on the title. This developer is Roberto Mejías, who made a post on LinkedIn congratulating the team on the game. 

“I would like to sincerely congratulate the Metroid Dread team for putting out such an outstanding game. I’m not surprised by 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 in the game’s credits, I was part of that team for eight months. While playing the game, I’ve recognized quite a few assets and environments I worked on… so my work is there. Then, I would like to ask MercurySteam: Why do I not appear on the game’s credits? Is it some kind of mistake? I would really appreciate having some answer to this. Thank you in advance.”

However, this wasn’t the only Metroid Dread developer to get the short end of the stick when it came to the credits of the title. Another animator, Tania Peñaranda Hernández, made their own post on LinkedIn as well.

“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! 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. Even so, I will continue to feel very proud of my work and very happy to see how people enjoy the game and the creatures that I had the pleasure of giving life to.”

A third anonymous Metroid Dread developer also mentioned that they saw their credits in the title but were neglected to be included in the game, even after working with the developer for 11 months. So, what’s the big idea? Why did these developers get removed from the game’s credits? If they see their work inside the game, they should surely get some recognition when the player completes the title.

MercurySteam Responds

Well, the answer might shock readers, as MercurySteam made a statement about the reasoning behind the removal of the Metroid Dread developer credits. Speaking to GameSpot, MercurySteam stated removing former developer names from the game’s final credits.

“We accredit all those who certify minimum participation in a particular project–usually the vast majority of devs. We set the minimum at 25% of development time. We also credit those who, even though they have not been in the project for too long, have had significant creative and/or technical contributions. A game development is a complex, hard and exhausting endeavor. We understand any of us needs to contribute at a minimum to it to be accredited in the final product. Thanks for your interest.”

Unfortunately, some people didn’t get the memo, and the developers left in the dark who left early, are now being removed from the credits of the game. Seeing that the game was developed for four years, that would mean that developers would have to be with MercurySteam for at least a single year before getting their name in on the credits. Something that these developers didn’t do. However, it seems surprisingly mean-spirited that the developers were not credited for their work.

Even though one developer was a month short of the game’s 25% mark, they were still stripped of their name in the credits, making players question why the development studio is using this minimum participation. 

There’s a difference between participation in a video game, which takes hours of manpower, teamwork, and time to complete, then something like a high school group project. The choice that MercurySteam has made feels nothing short of childish and immature. This would be a different story if the developer were removed. If their work wasn’t included in the game, perhaps they worked on its pre-production animations or demo builds. When they left, they weren’t a part of the finalized content that was in the title. However, this isn’t the case. 

This practice could hurt the developers who aren’t credited in the long run as well. Some developers are freelance contractors. They have to fill their resumes while going through jobs to prove they can perform the tasks necessary to pick up more jobs. In this instance, how likely would it be for the developers to put Metroid Dread on their resume when they have the evidence their work is in it, but their name isn’t attached? This could have these developers unable to get jobs that they’re qualified for because they don’t have enough experience or work on a high-profile piece like Metroid.

Community Reception

Disgruntled players and industry professionals came to Twitter to vent their frustrations on the developers for their poor choice in policy for their developers to be credited in the game. A Twitter user posted their thoughts. “Hot take: If you worked on the game in any capacity, you should be credited.”

Josh Sawyer, studio design director of Obsidian, posted about the controversy on his Twitter account. “MercurySteam confirmed and defended its policy in a statement to GameSpot, seemingly indicating it did not consider contributions from employees like Mejías to be significant. Yes, that is a consistent policy that is consistently bad and stupid.”

He then continues to say, “Yes, companies should have clear and consistent policies and while there will always be categorical and individual arguments about how to credit someone, at the bare minimum, anyone who does work should be credited. This really should not be a topic for debate.”

The English-speaking fans of the game surely aren’t very happy with how the developers are being treated over at Mercury Steam, and they’ve certainly made their voices known about it as well. Overall, this seems like something that shouldn’t be done or at least done if the developer who’s being uncredited doesn’t have their work in the game’s final build. It also seems especially petty and cruel for the one developer who was a part of the project for 11 months and then quit only a month before the line to be credited. 


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