Bruce Straley, co-creator of The Last of Us, apparently wasn’t pleased with him not being mentioned in the game’s closing credits and has since made some comments that are alarming and concerning for the industry as a whole.
Recently, Straley spoke with the Los Angeles Times about how the lack of credit he was given for the recent pilot of HBO‘s The Last of Us series is related to the lack of workers’ rights within the game industry. To be fair, though, Straley’s primary responsibility was only the game mechanics, whereas Druckmann was responsible for the story and script (something that weighs more when considering a show).
Straley, on the other hand, held his own views on the subject, and he made it very clear that he was concerned about it. He pushed for the formation of unions so that “creators could protect themselves.” It will be interesting to see how the industry responds to this comment, which is obviously concerning. In particular, he made the following statement:
It’s an argument for unionization that someone who was part of the co-creation of that world and those characters isn’t getting a credit or a nickel for the work they put into it. Maybe we need unions in the video game industry to be able to protect creators.
Straley, who worked for Naughty Dog, which has a reputation for having an unhealthy workplace, should have known better. It’s possible that this was one of the factors that led him to quit his job at the company six years ago. Even back then, he was unhappy with the development of Uncharted 4 and had voiced his displeasure to the studio.
After Uncharted’s developer Amy Hennig departed the studio, he and Druckmann took over development of the game she had been working on, and despite not having any personal interest in it, he quickly became exhausted by the project’s fast pace.
The connection that Straley has with Sony and Naughty Dog has been described as “strained” by the L.A. Times. Despite the fact how it may look on the outside, Straley’s remark does not indicate that he has a grudge against Druckmann or anybody else at Naughty Dog. Instead, it reveals how little control anyone in the video game industry has over their production.
When it comes to games, though, Sony can claim full ownership and cut a key creative like Straley out of a licensing arrangement, whereas in the heavily unionized television and film industry, credit is zealously guarded and strictly regulated, and maybe that is why Straley is pushing for unionization.
It remains to be seen how the industry reacts to this, however let us know your thoughts about this in the comments., Till then, we will keep you informed of any developments, as new information becomes available.