The allegation was made by Roberto Mejías; who worked at developer MercurySteam as a Senior 3D artist from March 2019, to October that same year. On a post on his LinkedIn profile, Mejías congratulated the team on how the game turned out, but also alleged he had not been credited for his work.
“I would like to sincerely congratulate the Metroid Dread team for putting out such an outstanding game. I’m not surprised of the quality of the game though, since the amount of talent on that team was through the roof. I know this first hand because, despite not being included on the game’s credits, I was part of that team for for eight months.
While playing the game, I’ve recognized quite a few assets and environments I worked on… so my work is there.
Then, I would like to ask MercurySteam: Why do I not appear on the game’s credits? Is it some kind of mistake?
I would really appreciate having some answer to this. Thank you in advance.
Again: CONGRATS, TEAM!”
A MercurySteam representative told Vandal (translation: DeepL) that it was company policy to list those who had been with the studio for at least 25% of the development time; with exceptions made for exceptional contributions. Mejías told Vandal “they can always say that they consider someone’s contribution as exceptional and do whatever they want.”
Mejías explains over the three years of development, he worked for eight months, and as such did not meet the nine month minimum needed to be credited. He also states that while MercurySteam required a 42 working day notice period, workers rights in Madrid dictate this is 15 days minimum.
As such, he was given a financial penalty when leaving. Mejías claims another colleague had a similar situation, but avoided the penalty after speaking to human resources and highlighting the Collective Bargaining Agreement law. However, that staff member also allegedly does not appear in the game’s credits.
Mejías concluded that he had been “hearing from colleagues for years complaining about how people are treated at MercurySteam and I was sick and tired of no one doing anything about it. I hope more people will come forward to tell their side of the story.”
An anonymous source speaking to Vandal claimed Metroid Dread had been in development for four years, not three as Mejías states (making him fit the 25% clause). They could not confirm or deny if the 25% clause was enforced, but stated failing to credit all developers was “something common in all studios, it happens everywhere.”
Another anonymous source who worked at MercurySteam claimed while they worked for over 11 months, they did not appear in the game’s credits. “Not crediting the work of the team who put all the love into the project, and the effort, is a very ugly practice.” They also claim the 25% clause sounded made-up when they were exposed- still adamant they should be credited for any amount of work done.
After Vandal’s publication, another former staff member made allegations via LinkedIn; 3D Character Animator Tania Peñaranda Hernández. From November 2019 to May 2020, she worked on the game’s cinematics and in-game animations.
“I am very happy and proud to finally be able to see my work on the project, a job that I did with great love and enthusiasm! I am also very proud of the whole team!
But it also saddens me to see that I am not reflected in the credits for this work that I did. It has been hard for me to see that they have considered that it should be like this when I keep seeing a lot of animations that I made in every gameplay.
Even so, I will continue to feel very proud of my work and very happy to see how people enjoy the game and the creatures that I had the pleasure of giving life to.”
We shall keep you informed as we learn more.
Metroid Dread is available now on Nintendo Switch. In case you missed it, you can find our review here (we recommend it!)