Crunch has become a hot topic within games media as of late and it looks like yet another mega-popular studio has been uncovered as partaking of this despicable practice. A new report from Kotaku’s Jason Schreier posted this morning has alleged that developer Naughty Dog has a serious problem with crunch. It’s so serious that many of the employees working were nearly injured during a late-night construction accident.
Schreier spoke to a number of current and former employees, all that chose to remain anonymous out of concern over their careers. Needless to say, most don’t paint the studio in a positive light. “This can’t be something that’s continuing over and over for each game, because it is unsustainable,” one employee noted. “At a certain point, you realize, ‘I can’t keep doing this. I’m getting older. I can’t stay and work all night.'”
It seems the lion’s share of problems occurred after director Bruce Straley left the company. Having admitted to crunch during the development of Uncharted 4, Straley stated that he wished to never put his studio through that again. A short vacation then turned into a permanent leave and it seems the other higher-ups had different plans.
While you can read the full article to get the grand picture, a lot of these claims were corroborated on Twitter by a former Naughty Dog animator. Jonathan Cooper spoke out about many of the things Schreier described in a series of tweets about his experience leaving the company. Suffice to say, he doesn’t encourage anyone to take a position at the studio.
For Cooper personally, he didn’t have any horror stories to share. He does note that others in his position weren’t as lucky. He even details how a friend of his was hospitalized due to overworking. These are similar to stories we heard last year about BioWare and the development of Anthem.
You’re free to draw your own conclusions here, but it looks as if Naughty Dog isn’t prioritizing the health of its employees over making games. As fancy and impressive as video games are, they should never come at the health of the humans working on them.
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