Master of The Free World Productions | Jumpcut Entertainment Network

Where Credit Is Due – Video Game Credits That Innovate

You just conquered the last boss or finished off a trilogy. Besides
your initial excitement and maybe an achievement or trophy, what is
left? Most likely a plain, black screen scrolling through the names of
hundreds of talented people. A standard credit scroll makes sense for
movies, but it doesn’t make as much sense in video games. As games
mature and embrace what makes them unique, credits need to evolve to
reflect the interactivity that makes them special (while still giving
proper recognition to creators). Here are lessons that the industry
needs to learn about end-game credits from games that got it right.

Make The Credits An Extension Of The Game

Awesome Non-Interactive Credits
MadWorld extends its humor to its credits by allowing its announcers – comedian Greg Proops and voice actor John DiMaggio – to riff on the development team as the main character drives down a highway decorated in billboards of developer names.

Portal’s infamous Still Alive song also matches the game’s humor along with being a fitting – if temporary – send-off for the villain GLaDOS.

Shadow of the Colossus uses the finality of credits as a way to force the player to reflect on what they’ve done. The slain colossi it scrolls through are reminders of the horrific deeds you’ve done throughout your journey.

Devil May Cry 3 and 4
marry their gameplay to scrolling names in the most appropriate way.
After a climactic final boss fight and short, calm ending cutscene,
demons pour into an arena and the names start to scroll. Mixing combat
and credits is both respectful to the hard-working team and perfectly
emblematic of the game’s relentless action. Devil May Cry 3 and 4’s
credits maintain the tempo of the rest of the game and take full
advantage of the interactivity of the medium. Bayonetta replicates this formula, replacing hard rock with sexy jazz.

Katamari Damacy and Flower
both directly channel their gameplay systems during the credits.
Katamari Damacy lets the player roll up all the countries on Earth into a
ball, while Flower strings together collectible petals to guide you
from name to name. Using the game’s mechanics means the credits are
essentially a short, bonus stage that entertains the player like any
other normal level.

Directly interacting with the names is another possible avenue, which
a few games have explored. Instead of only being serenaded by their
delightful soundtracks, Rayman Origins and New Super Mario Bros. Wii let players treat the thousands of names like destructible platforms, free to be jumped on or butt-stomped. Super Smash Bros. for the Wii U also takes this approach by letting fighters directly combat the names as they speed by. Noby Noby Boy
even lets players eat and poop out every letter of the credits. While
very basic examples, they place their mechanics into the credits, albeit
with no goal other than to goof around.

Turn The Credits Into A Mini-Game

Some games turn the credits into a different genre altogether. Vanquish and Super Smash Bros. Melee flip the script and turn the credits into an on-rails shooting mini-game where the targets are the names of the creative team. Tatsunoko vs. Capcom: Ultimate All-Stars
turns the credits in an odd bike-riding mini-game where the player can
jump around and collect golden letters to unlock a hidden shoot ‘em up
mode. While gameplay consistency is noteworthy in titles like Devil May
Cry 3 and Flower, these one-off mini-games work because of their
interactivity in addition to their novelty. Surprising the player with
something completely different from the main game is a good change of
pace and an alternate way to add playability into the credits.

Think Outside The Box

More Awesome Non-Interactive Credits
Batman: Arkham City

plays Joker’s voicemails during the credits as he creepily sings for
Batman. It’s deeply unsettling and plays brilliantly off the shocking

God Hand’s
goofy credit sequence plays the corniest song with stiff background
dancers that have the rhythm and coordination of most suburban dads.
It’s stupid, memorable, funny, and catchy in the most endearing ways.

The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
shows what Zelda was doing while Link was on his adventure in a series
of dialogue-free cutscenes that play during the closing credits.

This could be just the beginning. The aforementioned games have interacted with credits in some capacity, but games like Chrono Trigger, The Stanley Parable, and Ratchet and Clank
explore possible avenues for the next step in interactive credits.
After unlocking the most difficult ending, Chrono Trigger lets you walk
around and chat with the pixelated representations of the development
staff. Although not technically during the credits, Stanley Parable and
some of the Ratchet and Clank games allow you to wander around a museum
and check out fragments of the game during its development along with
cut content and explanations from the team.

Both approaches sow seeds of interacting with the developers directly
and seeing how games are made and who did what. Imagine walking around a
virtual Naughty Dog as Joel in The Last of Us and going into different
sections of the office to meet the staff and hear about or see what
their involvement was. It’s a little like what Doom
did during its fantastic credits by juxtaposing individual names next
to stills of what they worked on, albeit more interactive. This process
is exponentially more involved but fully exercises the unique strengths
of games.

Lacking an inventive or interactive credits sequence doesn’t
automatically mean a game isn’t creative or fun. There are classic games
with boring credit sequences like Bioshock and not-so-classic games with excellent credit sequences like Double Dragon: Neon,
which features the game’s antagonist falling to his death and singing
for the duration of the scroll. But it’s time for more games to use the
defining aspects of the medium for something as universal as credits.
It’s the part of the game that pays respect to its creators so it deserves more attention. – The Feed

Video: 5 things that can make or break indie game PR

“Just making a good game is just not good enough anymore.” PR executive Thomas Reisenegger shares his insight on the different factors that can make or break an indie game’s marketing campaign at GDC 2016. …

Gamasutra News

Blog: Intermedia translation in video games

When translating a story from any medium into a game, there’s a lot to consider. What do you keep? What do you discard? What does that mean for players? Here, I look at some examples, including my own. …

Gamasutra News

Andromeda Initiative Orientation Video Invites Players To Join Mass Effect Mission

It’s been a big day for fans of the Mass Effect franchise. In addition to a new trailer and Game Informer’s own cover story on Mass Effect: Andromeda, we also learned details about loyalty missions in the new game, and new details about the voice cast. Electronic Arts isn’t quite ready to close out its N7 Day, as we also got new details about the Andromeda Initiative, which was first teased a few days ago

A new embedded video on the official site  (also viewable below) welcomes players to the Andromeda Initiative, and details what players can expect to learn about in the coming months. We're given some in-game fiction about what the Andromeda Initiative is, the name of its founder, and exactly what it means to join up. Outside of the fiction, by signing in to their EA accounts, players can complete “training” and eventually be rewarded with an in-game reward in the form of an exclusive helmet. 

For fans of the Mass Effect storyline, the site also includes a handy timeline detailing the Mass Effect version of the history of space travel. 

(Please visit the site to view this media)


Our Take
While the Andromeda Initiative is a pretty clear marketing effort, I appreciate the attempt to wrap players up in the fiction of the game as the team rolls out more info in the coming months. It will be interesting to see if the Mass Effect community is willing to go along for the ride with this effort, which only a few years ago might have taken the form of a simple mailing list. – The Feed

This week in video game blogging: Playing in heavy systems

This week, our partnership with games blogging curation site Critical Distance brings us picks from their Senior Curator Zoyander Street on workplace politics and the weight of history. …

Gamasutra News

Video Game Deep Cuts: Secret Of Savage Donkey

The latest Video Game Deep Cuts, picking the smartest longform video game articles and videos of the week, looks at ‘vanishing secrets’ in games, Skyrim wrestling dragons & the making of Donkey Kong. …

Gamasutra News

Blog: Tactics for the video game composer, part 3

Game composer Winifred Phillips breaks down the popular vertical layering interactive music technique, with music examples and a video tutorial showcasing techniques from one of her game projects. …

Gamasutra News

New York Times publishes U.S. voter suppression op-ed in video game form

The U.S. presidential election is happening next week, and the New York Times concluded a series of short, op-ed documentaries with a browser-based game: The Voter Suppression Trail. …

Gamasutra News

Video: How (and why) to create discomfort through game design

At GDC 2016, independent designer Dietrich Squinkifer took the stage to share techniques you can use to create a more varied emotional palette in play experiences, in video games or otherwise. …

Gamasutra News

Reader Discussion: What’s The Best Video Game Based On An Anime?

There are plenty of licensed games. Some of those licensed games are based on anime. What's the best one? And to be clear, we're talking about games based on pre-established anime – not the other way around.

We posted our Dragon Ball Xenoverse 2 review earlier today, which is a series that has a decent video game track record. The games based on Naruto also have a strong fanbase. The recent Attack on Titan game was interesting, and same goes for the games based on One Piece. But are there any that stand above the rest? When it comes to video games based on anime, what's your favorite of all time? – The Feed