Taken directly from F13:

More recently, I was told by a former developer that Turbine will not be including the names of people who left before launch to the credits of Dungeons & Dragons Online. If true, this is a really sleazy move on Turbine’s part. Some of the developers had put a lot of effort into early development, and had worked on the project for the majority of its development. To leave them out is to try to deny their role in the game. No matter how the game turns out, they should have the right to have their names associated with the project. Obviously, information like this gets out so the people won’t be completely forgotten, but it’s nice to have your name on the project “officially”.

Ken Troop:
You (this is a global you) may think the plan was ungenerous, or needlessly stringent, but I’m amazed there was a furor over this. I doubt strongly that the people who left care as much about whether they get an Acknowledgement credit than some of the people still here apparently do, *mostly people who are not even on the D&D team currently* (this is the part that really amazes me).

And if some of those people who had left did care that strongly, if it was or is that important, *to them*, to get a credit…they could have stayed and finished the game. A fairly simple calculation.

As a final note, and something that seemed to go unremarked during all this melodrama — I applaud giving full Design credit to Phillip Speer, Brent Walton, Ryan Schaffer, Ian LaBrie, Tim Lang, and Thatcher Risom. 6 people who came to us for a few months from QA and made a critical difference when it counted in helping this game make it. More than anything else, I’m glad they were recognized for it.

Jason booth:
This morning I had an interesting realization about my roles over the years at Turbine. I flirted with the Creative Director position several times, but each time backed away from the role at some point, sometimes after having the role for a while. For me, it was a naturally attractive position. I’m the type of person who not only has and recognizes good ideas from others, but am someone who can get them implemented either through my own perspiration or the inspiration of others. I always seemed to have the teams ear, and I think it was primarily because they had mine as well.

But what I realized this morning is that in this particular environment the management of the company was more interested in my ability to sell things to the team than my ability to rationalize the correct answer from the team. In fact, there was a repeating pattern of behavior that showed as much. What they wanted out of a CD was someone to sell whatever shlock was tossed down from high above on the mountain regardless of if it made sense or not; a yes man with the teams ear. A CD in this environment would be part used car salesmen, part fall guy. To be able to sell it, they’d need to be someone who had credentials with their team; but inevitably, it would be their credentials which would act as fuel, burned away on a given task. And thus, with each flirtation, an uncompromising position would be forced, and I’d back away from the position rather than compromise my beliefs or relationship with my team.

Now; DDO has shipped. It is what it is, but what it isn’t is a game with a proper credits list. In management’s infinite wisdom, it was deemed that anyone who was not with the company at the moment of ship would have their credit on the game revoked, regardless of if they wrote like half the game code or not. Quite a few of us bailed on that project due to a wide range of very valid reasons, as for myself, I was interviewing with Harmonix while being offered the CD position at Turbine, and when I backed away from the position yet again quickly turned in managements eyes. I was not willing to tote a line of action I didn’t believe in.

The only rational reason for not giving people their rightful credits is that those involved are acting out of petty and spite. In fact, Ken’s post on the matter seems to confirm it. You can reason the whole thing here, but I’ll pull out the poignant part for you:

“And if some of those people who had left did care that strongly, if it was or is that important, *to them*, to get a credit…they could have stayed and finished the game. A fairly simple calculation.”

It’s sad, because many of the people who were not credited were incredibly talented individuals who I loved working with (and some I currently work with again at Harmonix). Many of the things which made that game work at all can be directly attributed back to these people, who worked their asses off for the company. Crediting them doesn’t diminish the credits of those still hard at work on the game.

Perhaps they see it as a way to scare employees into staying, but I think this type of treatment speaks to the type of environment and executives that make someone want to leave a company in the first place, don’t you?

I wonder how old is Ken Troop. Looks like fourteen at best to me.

Lum also makes a good point:

It also means the uncredited people involved are screwed over when looking for work; many companies won’t recognize that you’ve worked on the game if you’re not in the printed credits. Obviously, yes, you can say “I worked on Whamadoodles Online for 4 years on the network client-server architecture” but without a printed credit an employer could ask why, and generally you don’t want to have the whole “my supervisors were buttheads” conversation during a job interview.

It’s not the first time I bring up the problem of authorship. It reminds me the lawsuits in the comics industry against DC and Marvel. The whole thing between Alan Moore vs DC, Neil Gaiman, the creation of Image by McFarlane, Jim Lee & co. and all the rest. Even in these cases the companies felt free to use the work belonging to those authors as they wanted and without even paying them.

I think there’s a twofold problem here. The problem of authorship itself and the fact that there’s way too much bunny hopping between the projects to avoid commitment and responsibilities.

And I’m criticizing both sides here.

EDIT: A comment from Stormwalts, in the same thread:

I sincerely doubt the decision was Troop’s to make. He’s a very decent guy, and he works hard to make sure his people are happy and respected. He practically gave the ACDM team bonuses out of his own pocket when MS refused to. Of the various people I worked under at Turbine, I was happiest under him.

I can’t say much more, although I will note that such a decision is entirely consistent with the management strategy of Certain People in the upper echelons of the company. Who are, incidentally, the reason I am no longer there myself.

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