An estimated 20 developers were left out of the credits of recent horror release The Callisto Protocol, according to GamesIndustry.biz (opens in new tab). The figure reportedly includes several staff who worked in senior or lead positions at the company, Striking Distance Studios.
It's sadly not an uncommon phenomenon in the modern games industry—developers that leave before a game launches are sometimes not credited for the final project, especially freelance or contract workers, even if they worked on it for years. Unlike the film industry, there's no enforced standard around credits, so studios are free to leave off whoever they wish, though the IGDA (opens in new tab) does recommend that anyone who worked on a game for at least 30 days be credited.
Even in the wider context, former employees describe Striking Distance's actions here as "egregious", and the choice of who to include and who not to seems to be arbitrary and inconsistent, with no clear policy communicated to staff. Some are credited, but as "additional" or "miscellaneous", with speculation from one source that it comes down to personal friendships and grievances with those at the top as to whether you were included or not.
This comes in the wake of controversy around the studio's crunch culture—not only were staff asked to work punishingly long hours, even during the pandemic, but director Glen Schofield actively boasted about it on social media (opens in new tab) as recently as September last year. According to the report, some designers were spending as much as 10 hours a day in meetings, attempting to coordinate a rapidly growing team, in addition to their normal workload. 15 hour days and seven day work weeks are unappealing enough, without finding out that that marathon didn't even earn you a spot in the credits.
It's the last nail in the coffin of a narrative built up over the years leading up to the game's release—of a tight-knit team of Dead Space veterans, scrappy underdogs against their former corporate masters, fighting to make a great new spiritual successor to the series. The cold reality is a game that launched to mixed reviews and controversy, a studio culture rife with red flags, and a significant group of former staff disappointed and angry at being left unrecognised.