Feb 13, 2023 - Technology

Metroid game developers call out Switch remaster's failure to credit

Video game screenshot of bounty hunter Samus Aran

Metroid Prime Remastered. Screenshot: Nintendo / Retro Studios

Developers who worked on the acclaimed 2002 Nintendo GameCube game Metroid Prime are publicly voicing frustration that a recently released Switch remake called Metroid Prime Remastered fails to name the game’s original creators in its credits.

Driving the news: Zoid Kirsch, a senior engineer on the original who did not work on the remake tweeted on Saturday that he was “let down” by the lack of full original credits in the new Switch version.

  • The original's technical lead engineer, Jack Mathews, publicly called it a "travesty."
  • He added to Axios: “When my son plays Metroid Prime on the Switch for the first time, the fact that he won't see [my] and my colleagues' names in the credits as the original creators is a punch in the gut."

Details: Metroid Prime Remastered is a level-for-level re-creation of the first game, featuring the same adventure and same gameplay as the 2002 version but with superior, modern graphics.

  • Original and remake were largely created by Nintendo-owned Retro Studios, though the staff at Retro has changed significantly.
  • Remastered's credits name hundreds of current developers at Retro and affiliate studios who worked on the game.
  • The game’s original creators are acknowledged in 15 words at the end of the Switch version’s credits: “Based on the work of Metroid Prime (Original Nintendo GameCube and Wii Versions) development staff.”

Between the lines: Credits for video games are notoriously inconsistent and incomplete.

  • Publishers make up the rules as they go, often excluding developers who left a studio before a project shipped.
  • A spate of remakes and remasters that use much of the art and game design of the games they are based on raise questions about who should get credit.

What they’re saying: “As our industry matures and games are remastered from original designs, code and artwork, it is vitally important that individual credits are preserved as peoples' work is used as a template for future releases,” Mathews says.

  • Mathews noted that a video game remake like Prime’s uses a lot of the code of the original. The remake’s impressive graphics are derivative of the original game’s artwork, he says.

Be smart: Guidelines from the International Game Developers Association, which can advocate but does not enforce game credits, state that “ports, remasters, remakes and re-releases must retain the original names that worked on the game.”

  • EA’s recent Dead Space remake, a more substantive overhaul of the 2008 original of the same name, takes a similar approach as Prime Remastered. The 2023 edition's 20-minute roll of credits ends with a brief thanks to the original team “for inspiring us every step of the way.”

One re-release that did credit the game’s original creators: Nintendo’s The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword HD, a 2021 remaster that lists the game’s original 2011 development team by name and first in the credit roll.

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