why should games de­mand my at­ten­tion for their dull cred­its se­quences? I don’t think they’ve earned the right

Ben makes the case for clever cred­its to re­place the slug­gish post- game name crawl

XBox: The Official Magazine - - DASHBOARD -

As I un­der­stand it, videogames don’t just sprout out of the ground like pota­toes. They’re the prod­ucts of cre­ators. Cre­ators who play god. And just like God, venge­ful and strong, they de­mand at­ten­tion. The thing is, of­ten I don’t feel like giv­ing it to them. Why? Be­cause ac­knowl­edg­ing things sucks.

The game’s com­plex­ity doesn’t mat­ter – whether it’s a three­p­er­son project or the re­sult of a global team work­ing with such mirac­u­lous co-or­di­na­tion it would make the Pyra­mids of Giza look like a rushed school project – if the start or end cred­its are bor­ing, I’ll try to skip them. My so­lu­tion: bet­ter cred­its.

I re­mem­ber fin­ish­ing Fa­ble back in 2004. At the time this was one of the most am­bi­tious games ever made, so you’d rea­son­ably ex­pect the cred­its to be a bit long. I’m far from rea­son­able, how­ever, and af­ter pre­cisely 30 sec­onds of watch­ing an as­sort­ment of very Bri­tish names crawl up the screen I not only started to tire, I started to ac­tively de­spise ev­ery­one at Lion­head. How dare they give me 30 solid hours of en­ter­tain­ment and then have the gall to ask for recog­ni­tion?! How dare they?

Cred­its can be so much more. They es­sen­tially ex­ist to mo­men­tar­ily shine a spot­light on the hard-work­ing peo­ple who made it all pos­si­ble. They’re nods, ci­ta­tions, ex­pres­sions of grat­i­tude – who said this needs to be made against a black void in the form of ran­dom names slowly ris­ing up and dis­ap­pear­ing for­ever?

Sun­set Over­drive is a per­fect ex­am­ple of how to do end cred­its right, spilling its heady spirit into hy­per-coloured band posters bear­ing the de­vel­op­ers’ names. White Night, re­viewed in this very is­sue on page 87, pre­pares play­ers for its noir stylings with a twi­light drive while head­lights il­lu­mi­nate a pro­ces­sion of road­side bill­boards plas­tered with the team’s roles and ti­tles. In both cases, the be­gin­ning and end can nur­ture the game’s tone rather than nul­lify it.

And, un­like in film or TV, game cred­its can be in­ter­ac­tive. Ray­man Leg­ends has you smash­ing through chunky blocks of names and col­lect­ing Lums like you do in the game proper; in Beau­ti­ful Kata­mari, you roll your sphere of stuff through the cos­mos, hoover­ing up comets and winged tur­tles and land masses; Van­quish gives you a laser can­non to blast the faces of de­vel­op­ers stuck onto as­ter­oids. Th­ese in­no­va­tive cred­its in­ject mean­ing into a tra­di­tion­ally one-sided re­la­tion­ship, a ‘you’ve had your fun; now sit and watch this’. Both player and de­vel­oper mat­ter here.

Some games use mu­sic to hold your at­ten­tion. Go­ing back a bit, Gui­tar Hero: World Tour’s cred­its fea­tured Ozzy Os­bourne, Zakk Wylde, and Travis Barker belt­ing out Pull Me Un­der by Dream Theater as they soar among the clouds in a pirate ship pulled by Griffins. Gears of War’s an­other, with its cus­tom rap track per­formed by Lester Speight, in-char­ac­ter as Cole Train. And who can for­get the catchy jin­gles of Por­tal and Plants vs Zom­bies?

Other stu­dios use video. Lion­head makes amends for Fa­ble’s end­ing with The Movies’ char­ac­ter­ful mon­tage in which the team dis­plays its act­ing prow­ess in a se­ries of comedic vignettes. Not only are the se­quences en­ter­tain­ing, but they cap­ture the cul­ture of the stu­dio bet­ter than words ever could.

From a de­vel­oper’s point of view I un­der­stand why, af­ter the crunch, you don’t want to spend more time away from pets and loved ones di­rect­ing some niche cred­its most peo­ple won’t even see. Still, they’re a great op­por­tu­nity to es­tab­lish or con­tinue themes, to grab the player with mu­sic and video, to even let them par­tic­i­pate. So come on, videogames. Don’t bore us with the black screen. Do some­thing clever, or I’ll go and make a cup of tea in­stead.

Next month Are there too many dogs in games? An irate Matthew ar­gues yes.

// How dare they give me 30 solid hours of en­ter­tain­ment and then have the gall to ask for recog­ni­tion?!//

Sun­set Over­drive’s unique voice car­ries into its stylish end ti­tles.

Ray­man Leg­ends’ bril­liant ex­am­ple of in­ter­ac­tive cred­its. Take that, Tony Key!

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