Crunch Culture
Moonface Offline
#1
"Look at the size of that sunbum!"
Administrators
Posts:
Threads:
Joined:
Jun 2018
Currently Playing
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled (PS4) | Sniper Elite 4 (PS4)
Favourite Platform(s)
PlayStation | Nintendo | PC
XP: 3,131
LittleBigPlanet Ratchet & Clank Crash Bandicoot 
A few months ago, I posted a thread about an article from Kotaku concerning BioWare's Anthem, and how the general takeaway from it was how horrific the development crunch was for that game. Crunch is no secret in game development, and two days ago an article was published about how crunch is handled at Naughty Dog. Both paint very different pictures, with Anthem being more that everyone was forced by the higher ups to pull some absolutely insane levels of shit, whereas Naughty Dog seems to have an approach of "You can do it and we won't stop you if you do" which might sound good, but it still doesn't discourage it and peer pressure still makes it more or less obligatory from the sound of it. Take away the reasoning though and both have pretty crazy things:

BioWare Employee Wrote:
“I’d never heard of ‘stress leave’ until the end of Andromeda,” said one former BioWare developer, referring to a practice in which BioWare employees would take weeks or even months off for their mental health. On Anthem, the developer added, this practice just got worse. “I’ve never heard of people needing to take time off because they were so stressed out. But then that kind of spread like wildfire throughout the team.”
Naughty Dog Employee Wrote:
“A normal work week for [QA] was 10 AM-10 PM six days a week and we didn’t really have any choice about it,” they explained. “Sometimes we’d stay until midnight or 1 am. At the end of [Uncharted 4], we started doing seven day work weeks for a little while and even did some 24 hours shifts where we’d come in at 10 AM and leave 10 AM the next day. I didn’t really have a life outside of work for eight to nine months during the big crunch.”
I'm not surprised for even a big first party Sony studio like Naughty Dog to have crunch, but I am surprised at how far out it kicks off. I'd have assumed they would have the time and resources to only need to crunch during at most the three months prior to going gold with a game, but not almost an entire year. One person even says that while it sounds voluntary because no one outright says to do it, it won't end well for you if you don't do it. So really, calling it peer pressure based just feels like trying to be nice about it. Voluntary would be you can do it but we won't rip you a new one if you don't want to.

The fact that Sony can't/won't even give one of their top first party studios extra time or people to avoid putting the entire team through months of 12-24 hour shifts really makes me wonder if there's any studio out there (excluding independents) that doesn't enforce overly long periods of crunch on its employees. I don't think nor expect it could ever go away fully, but as I said, crunch should really be to finish things up at the end when you're making sure every i is dotted and your t's are crossed. It shouldn't be used to even get the undotted i's and uncrossed t's onto the paper in the first place.

I think unless they're independent, there's probably no studio out there that doesn't enforce crazy crunch on the employees. What sucks more is I wonder if anything will ever actually be done about it or will we just keep seeing articles about it every couple of months like we have done so far? Eh
[Image: sm19-sig-1st.png]
I, the Philosophical Sponge of Marbles, send you on a quest for the Golden Chewing Gum of the Whoop-A-Ding-Dong Desert under the sea!
#1
Moonface Offline
"Look at the size of that sunbum!"
Posts:
Threads:
Joined:
Jun 2018
Currently Playing
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled (PS4) | Sniper Elite 4 (PS4)
Favourite Platform(s)
PlayStation | Nintendo | PC
XP: 3,131
A few months ago, I posted a thread about an article from Kotaku concerning BioWare's Anthem, and how the general takeaway from it was how horrific the development crunch was for that game. Crunch is no secret in game development, and two days ago an article was published about how crunch is handled at Naughty Dog. Both paint very different pictures, with Anthem being more that everyone was forced by the higher ups to pull some absolutely insane levels of shit, whereas Naughty Dog seems to have an approach of "You can do it and we won't stop you if you do" which might sound good, but it still doesn't discourage it and peer pressure still makes it more or less obligatory from the sound of it. Take away the reasoning though and both have pretty crazy things:

BioWare Employee Wrote:
“I’d never heard of ‘stress leave’ until the end of Andromeda,” said one former BioWare developer, referring to a practice in which BioWare employees would take weeks or even months off for their mental health. On Anthem, the developer added, this practice just got worse. “I’ve never heard of people needing to take time off because they were so stressed out. But then that kind of spread like wildfire throughout the team.”
Naughty Dog Employee Wrote:
“A normal work week for [QA] was 10 AM-10 PM six days a week and we didn’t really have any choice about it,” they explained. “Sometimes we’d stay until midnight or 1 am. At the end of [Uncharted 4], we started doing seven day work weeks for a little while and even did some 24 hours shifts where we’d come in at 10 AM and leave 10 AM the next day. I didn’t really have a life outside of work for eight to nine months during the big crunch.”
I'm not surprised for even a big first party Sony studio like Naughty Dog to have crunch, but I am surprised at how far out it kicks off. I'd have assumed they would have the time and resources to only need to crunch during at most the three months prior to going gold with a game, but not almost an entire year. One person even says that while it sounds voluntary because no one outright says to do it, it won't end well for you if you don't do it. So really, calling it peer pressure based just feels like trying to be nice about it. Voluntary would be you can do it but we won't rip you a new one if you don't want to.

The fact that Sony can't/won't even give one of their top first party studios extra time or people to avoid putting the entire team through months of 12-24 hour shifts really makes me wonder if there's any studio out there (excluding independents) that doesn't enforce overly long periods of crunch on its employees. I don't think nor expect it could ever go away fully, but as I said, crunch should really be to finish things up at the end when you're making sure every i is dotted and your t's are crossed. It shouldn't be used to even get the undotted i's and uncrossed t's onto the paper in the first place.

I think unless they're independent, there's probably no studio out there that doesn't enforce crazy crunch on the employees. What sucks more is I wonder if anything will ever actually be done about it or will we just keep seeing articles about it every couple of months like we have done so far? Eh
Quote
Kazan X. Lemuris Offline
#2
Beginner
**
Posts:
Threads:
Joined:
Jun 2018
XP: 199
Mario Kart Doom Pokémon 
What's interesting as well is that crunch isn't exclusive to videogame developers. I read a similar exposé a while ago about RoosterTeeth and how they handle the rush up to releasing new content. The conditions their artists and animators reportedly have to suffer through sounded altogether awful, and I couldn't help but wonder why they bothered putting up with it in the first place. Though I guess the fact that needing a job to eat is the reason, but no way in hell would I work 100-hour weeks for 40-hour paychecks.
#2
Kazan X. Lemuris Offline
Beginner
Posts:
Threads:
Joined:
Jun 2018
XP: 199
What's interesting as well is that crunch isn't exclusive to videogame developers. I read a similar exposé a while ago about RoosterTeeth and how they handle the rush up to releasing new content. The conditions their artists and animators reportedly have to suffer through sounded altogether awful, and I couldn't help but wonder why they bothered putting up with it in the first place. Though I guess the fact that needing a job to eat is the reason, but no way in hell would I work 100-hour weeks for 40-hour paychecks.
Quote
Moonface Offline
#3
"Look at the size of that sunbum!"
Administrators
Posts:
Threads:
Joined:
Jun 2018
Currently Playing
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled (PS4) | Sniper Elite 4 (PS4)
Favourite Platform(s)
PlayStation | Nintendo | PC
XP: 3,131
LittleBigPlanet Ratchet & Clank Crash Bandicoot 
Yeah, it definitely isn't just for games. I wouldn't be surprised if movies involving any CG have crunch time too, since if animation and games can, then surely animated content in live action movies is the same deal. Although, they make so much money that it would be far worse for a movie to have crunch than games or animated web shows.

I expect people put themselves through it because they know that the culture is everywhere so to avoid it in the field is probably nigh impossible, and unless you want to risk seeing how things are at another workplace then you'd probably just stick with what you're aware of. I think it's only things like the BioWare/Anthem scenario that are so bad that literally anywhere else is guaranteed to be better. It probably also takes a lot to get into those jobs, especially in the more acclaimed studios or companies that get a lot of applicants, which I expect further discourages people leaving on a whim.
[Image: sm19-sig-1st.png]
I, the Philosophical Sponge of Marbles, send you on a quest for the Golden Chewing Gum of the Whoop-A-Ding-Dong Desert under the sea!
#3
Moonface Offline
"Look at the size of that sunbum!"
Posts:
Threads:
Joined:
Jun 2018
Currently Playing
Crash Team Racing Nitro-Fueled (PS4) | Sniper Elite 4 (PS4)
Favourite Platform(s)
PlayStation | Nintendo | PC
XP: 3,131
Yeah, it definitely isn't just for games. I wouldn't be surprised if movies involving any CG have crunch time too, since if animation and games can, then surely animated content in live action movies is the same deal. Although, they make so much money that it would be far worse for a movie to have crunch than games or animated web shows.

I expect people put themselves through it because they know that the culture is everywhere so to avoid it in the field is probably nigh impossible, and unless you want to risk seeing how things are at another workplace then you'd probably just stick with what you're aware of. I think it's only things like the BioWare/Anthem scenario that are so bad that literally anywhere else is guaranteed to be better. It probably also takes a lot to get into those jobs, especially in the more acclaimed studios or companies that get a lot of applicants, which I expect further discourages people leaving on a whim.
Quote


Forum Jump:


Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)