A group of former Team Bondi employees--the Australian studio behind Rockstar's best-selling detective title L.A. Noire--have banded together in protest over what they claim is the omission of their names from L.A. Noire's credits.
Launching the site www.lanoirecredits.com, the 100-plus developers used the International Game Developers Association's (IGDA) Game Crediting Guide to draw up a "true and complete credits list" for the game's production.
Group members believe they were omitted from L.A. Noire's credits list because they were absent during the final months of production, something that they say goes against the IGDA's Game Crediting Guide. According to the guide, any person, contractor, or employee who has contributed to the production of a game for at least 5 percent or 30 days (whichever is least) of the project's total development cycle must be credited. In addition, the guide states that credit is retained by any person who leaves the company or project prior to the game's completion.
The developer behind www.lanoirecredits.com, who wishes to remain anonymous, told GameSpot AU that the project was about raising awareness surrounding credit practices in the games industry rather than "crying over spilt milk."
"At the end of the day, I think what [Team Bondi/Rockstar] have done by leaving out all these developers from the credits is unfair," the source said. "But we know the game is out now, and it's done. We don't expect to be retroactively added in. The main reason we wanted to do this was so that we could use L.A. Noire's obviously large profile to ensure that future developers, both in Australia and overseas, can use our story as an example. Especially those new to the industry, who might not be immediately aware of how credit practices work."
Addressing the issue of L.A. Noire's long development time and how this might impact each developer's personal contribution to the game (given that some developers worked on the game for a very short period of time, while others for longer), the source told GameSpot AU that it would not have been an impossible task for Team Bondi and Rockstar to credit every single person who worked on L.A. Noire.
"The best example I can give for this is Duke Nukem Forever--when Gearbox picked up development for the game, they put up a website where any developer who worked on the game during the course of its 13-year development cycle could contact Gearbox and they would be credited. If Gearbox can do something like that for a project as big as Duke Nukem Forever, I don't think it would be an impossible task for Team Bondi to do the same."
Group members say they spent a week reviewing each name on the list, including performing background checks and peer reviewing each developer's claim to ensure that the final list was correct.
Tony Reed, CEO of the Game Developers' Association of Australia (GDAA) believes it was well within the rights of both Team Bondi and Rockstar to choose what names to include on the final credit list.
"I understand the frustration of individuals omitted, but this is a factor that is outside of their control. [However,] the establishment of the www.lanoirecredits.com site is important. Individuals that believe they have made a meaningful contribution to a game's development have the means to, and should, highlight their involvement. In the creation of this site or using industry sites that reveal credits, those individuals have greater control over the information."
Team Bondi and Rockstar Games, the publisher of L.A. Noire, were contacted for comment but had not responded as of time of publication. GameSpot will update this story as more information comes to hand.