In-Game Credits Screens

Should your game have a Credits screen? Of the games I have handy, more than 50% have a credit screen. Yet some of the biggest names, such as Luxor 2, don’t. Instead, their credits are only in the readme.html file that comes with the game.

What’s the advantage of having credits in-game? It’s unlikely that people are going to be impressed by a list of names… and the people who ARE impressed by a list of names are the sort of people who read readme files anyway!

I removed the credits screen from Starcrossed, partially because it seemed unnecessary, and partially because it wasn’t very polished — and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time making it look cool. There are credits in the readme file, and that’s enough for me.

Am I missing something here? Is there a point to in-game credits aside from the vanity effect? I know in the brick-and-mortar games world, people really like having their names in the game’s documentation… getting your name in-game is cool too, but not as important. Presumably this is because the sorts of people who care (such as Moby Games) use the credits from the booklet, not the in-game credits. But even that is just vanity; it means nothing.

Especially in the casual games market, where brand names are irrelevant, let alone developer names, I think credits screens are an unnecessary detail. Unless your credits screen is awesome to behold, don’t bother.

6 thoughts on “In-Game Credits Screens

  1. Agreed. It’s almost always a pointless distraction; most people aren’t interested, and unless you’ve managed to capture some huge name celebrity, it’s not going to be a selling point. I can only think of a few times I’ve actually paid attention to the credits, and that nearly always when there was something funny or different about it.

  2. You should post this on indiegamer.com, get some community feedback.

    I don’t plan on including credits because they’ll be very short. I’ll only have myself as the programmer and designer, a single artist and at least four testers. If I publish, I’ll have at least six executives to add.

    I’m going to rely on my corporate identity for branding and marketing.

  3. A readme file is not the first place I look when I want to see the credits. It’s pretty common place to expect to find credits in game. And it also makes it feel more official, not some readme text that you can edit. If you trademark that you can use to brand, that’s fine, but it’s sometimes nice for artists or any other contractor to have their name on an in-game credits screen. When I’m hiring a new artist and they say that they’ve worked on a particular game, the first thing I do is fire up that game and look at the credits page. Sometimes I find out that they’ve done minor work, othertimes I see that they’ve created all the art for the game.

  4. My real point is that it’s not about vanity, it’s one of the many ways you can show your appreciation to the people who’ve helped you.

  5. Hm, I can see credits being a useful way to show appreciation, and in a large team, I think it’s an important pat-on-the-back type thing. But when your credits are three people, it’s pretty anti-climactic.

    You have to be careful when using credits to determine what games people have worked on, though. Large companies have rather arbitrary rules about who they put in credits, and they DON’T use them as proof of who worked on a game… in fact, it’s common practice to omit anybody who leaves the company more than a few months prior to the game launching. For instance, even if a developer spent two years working on Dungeons and Dragons Online, if they left three months before it shipped, they did not get in-game credit!

  6. Why not have a credits screen, though? It takes only a few hours, is fun for the developers, and gives keen players another button to click and thing to watch.

    Brand names aren’t irrelevant in the casual market (although portals would like to make you think they are!) – you may not be able to list your url but you can strongly hit at it

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