How We Assign Credit in "Solo" Game Development

Art, at its most commodified, is rarely a solo production. Whether it's a painting in a blue chip gallery or the latest AAA game from a huge developer, there are often workers that get little to no credit, or name association, with the finished work. In fine art, those pieces are credited to a singular artist, with studio assistants rarely getting any recognition and often paltry pay. Likewise, much of the labor in AAA games gets swept to the end of game credits, with most of the name recognition going to the directors and heads of teams. So when a "solo developer" uses assets made by other people, are they really a solo dev? Where do we draw the lines of giving credit, is it only due if there's an active collaboration? Do more transactional models (i.e. asset marketplaces) mean that credit is no longer necessary? We discuss this and more on this question bucket episode of Waypoint Radio. You can listen to the full episode and read an excerpt below.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

This discussion displayed a very shallow knowledge of game development and more specifically asset creation and came off as a bit pretentious. I think it’d be extremely helpful if you could have devs speak to these sorts of topics.


I have a lot of issues with their discussion of a theoretical socialist games utopia and the idea of the auteur in games. Even in some idealized communal future I will still seek out particular creators that I enjoy. Working for a collective good doesn’t mean the erasure of the individual.

I also think the auteur theory has merit even in the AAA space. I think leftist critique sometimes ignores the fact that management is a real skill that has many creative aspects. It certainly doesn’t merit the vastly outsized attention and compensation that it’s given but it’s still very important. The person leading a group has a huge impact on the work that group produces even if that person isn’t personally creating it. I worked BOH for several years in fine dining restaurants. At most mid-sized or larger establishments the head chef does not touch any of the food that is being served yet they have a huge impact on the quality and nature of the dishes served. Without a doubt others have an impact but anyone who’s been through a management reshuffling knows the impact that can have.