It’s already an established fact that Dan Schoening’s distinct art style was used as concept art for the Wii version of the Ghostbusters video game, when Sierra producers gave his art to Red Fly Studios as examples of what they were looking for. And having contacted them, it was generally understood that he would be credited for the use of his art. That was a year and a publisher ago, however, and when the game hit the shelves last week, his name wasn’t include.
Dan, understandably wanting recognition, took to his blog, and in response, Red Fly took to their blog. Somewhere in between (click here to read JoyStiq’s summation of events) is the sense that either side wishes the other had handled it differently in the first place, and that taking it public isn’t cool, but it’s done, and here’s why;
Too Many Cooks – The credit situation for the Ghostbusters game is nightmarish. Two publishers, two developers, a license owner, and a whole host of third-party companies are involved in the production of the games. With all those names, “special thanks” is the first to suffer. This isn’t unusual – I did a whole year of direct design on a game, and I’m not in the credits. It sucks. And it happens.
Head Chef – Atari, as publisher, is responsible for the credit gathering. There’s a small truth to the fact that in the final credits, timing was an issue, but a little tweaking could have scrolled text faster. On the other hand, you thank on person, then you have to thank the hundred others. But I’m digressing – the point is Red Fly’s lead artist talked to Dan and said he would receive credit. And then publishers changed, and it wasn’t his call. I’m surprised he opted to take the hit publicly, except that he did genuinely want to do what he could to affirm Dan’s involvement, even if he does have to be the fallguy.
Why am I saying all this?
Well, it’s simple. Dan totally deserves credit for the involvement of his art in the production of the game. And in a perfect world, Atari, and all publishers, make it a point to thank everyone involved. And Red Fly shouldn’t take too much of the heat on this, particularly when they did what they could within their own powers, to acknowledge Dan (and you have to trust me on this – publishing contracts have whole big sections that say, “keep your yap shut – publicity is run through the publisher” – that they said anything is a surprise).
And at the end of the day, everybody’s had their say and in the long run, Dan’s work will be better known in the public because of this slight than if he’d been properly credited.
Mostly I’m saying it because the one side effect of the recent increased interest in Ghostbusters on this site is the negativity and arguing. It erodes the soul, honestly.
I’d rather declare this done (because, practically, it is) and focus on Dan’s secret project!