What can I say? I have a self-destructive streak.
I will share the trademark and copyright for both “Jetpack Sushi” and “Sushi Jetpack” with you, 50-50.
There’s a better thread for this, but just wanted to say: Don’t think this isn’t an issue. What was revealed by Rockstar’s clarification was:
- It was just the writers (so it’s okay then?? 100 hrs!?)
- It was “voluntary” because they’re “passionate”.
Rockstar has defended the practice of crunch in the past as necessary for making AAA games. This isn’t an isolated incident.
Anyway, sorry for intruding. If I were to buy RDR2, before I played it I would watch the best western:
No way, it’s pure Navaronegun; you deserve every good thing that it brings you. (I will develop the sushi-themed Jetpack Joyride clone under exclusive license, though!)
But I don’t see this as an issue in this context - given what we were told (the two points you outlined) I get it. I’ve been there. I’ve been super passionate about something and poured hours into it, it wasn’t work, it was what I wanted to be doing. I can totally see a group of writers just working super hard to make a thing as best as possible, and that’s up to them. If we take his statement at face value, I don’t see a problem. If you want to call him a liar of course, that’s an entirely different conversation, but I have no reason to distrust him, given what I can personally know at this point.
In regards to Roisi’s tweet you linked, she does mention her statement was made from 10 years ago. She suspects the place is still toxic, but I guess I’d rather hear from someone that works there presently. Places, and work environments, change.
Review embargo lifting Thursday 10/25 at 6am CST (4am PST/7am EST).
I think it’s a matter of your personal barometer for such things, but for me, if we were talking about a 60-hour week, then I get it. But 100 hours? Inevitably, their work suffers, they get sick or stressed. A responsible company would not be touting their passion, it would be telling them to go home.
It is incredibly difficult to parse this out completely. These game-makers are artists, and nobody is going to fault movie directors, artists etc for pouring their passions into their work. This is what these people love to do, writers love to write, and I am sure many would gladly spend 100 hours a week writing and creating this amazing thing they love doing. I get that. I would gladly spend 100 hours a week doing something I loved.
But, as a company, you should not allow this to happen. This isn’t someone directing their own time into their passion, it is through the structure of their employer and the project they are working on that keeps them at work. When you have people claiming they voluntarily worked 100 hours in a week, I say that there are one of a number of things at work here.
- A culture that expects overtime
- Implicit requirements of overtime for advancement or job security,
- A company that has too few employees
To be a good employer, you need to tell your employees to go home sometimes. I had a great boss that told me, you have to go home now, and you are taking tomorrow off. After a big crunch project. That is how it should be. This private company I worked for held their work-life balance as sacrosanct, and managers were told to ensure employees were not staying overtime too much, and that any indication of overtime is mis-managed projects and lack of employees or training.
We shouldn’t have a culture that glorifies spending 14 hours a day, 7 days a week at work, even if it is voluntary. It looks bad, it looks as if Rockstar expects its employees to work 100 hours a week. Even if it isn’t true, and this particular person is saying they happily did the extra time, it makes your company look bad. One thing that is important to point out is that even the suspicion of a bad working environment is enough to be detrimental to a business.
They need to hire more writers, or hire bosses that don’t let employees overwork themselves, or hire better PR handlers that replace “Spent 100 hours a week on the writing” to “Spent and incredible amount of time and effort on the writing”.
But to me, that employee thought that 100 hours of work a week was some sort of badge of honor, or something to be proud of, that is the culture we find ourselves in, in the games industry. And that isn’t right.
Pre-release? On their biggest item in 3 years? Who wouldn’t be touting their passion and their hard work? I would.
C’mon. People are really trying to find an issue here. And the tweet from the woman who worked there 10 years ago is particularly weak sauce. If you want to have a convo about unionization/conditions in Game Development, fine, there are real issues and that is a worthy topic. But this is really just a typical “woke” gaming journalism freakout for no purpose, and an excuse for a lot of people to do some virtue signalling.
You know that what I meant by “touting their passion” was actually “bragging about working hundreds of hours in a month.”
I’m not going to be able to convince you that it’s a real issue or that discussing it is not “virtue signalling.” Suffice it to say that I’ve seen the industry in action, I’ve seen this kind of thing get glorified for decades, I know that it’s part of the culture at most AAA studios and many smaller ones.
No one else has to care about these issues as much as I do. But if you are curious about how the games you like get made, don’t listen to fluff journalism pieces. Find the reporters that are giving honest accounts of game development and read a book like Blood, Sweat, and Pixels. It’s not all doom and dismay–it’s a variety of stories about development of different kinds and how several prominent projects of the past five years came about.
Sure, hard to argue with that. Is it responsible? Nope. But it’s also Rockstar, and I don’t think the guys running that place, even in their mid-40’s now, are mature enough to consider responsible. If someone wants to put the time in and the work is on point, why not let them? Is probably their perspective. I agree that even Dan Hauser should stop at the 60 hour mark, try to shut his brain down, and demand everyone else call it a week and come back fresh on Monday. But I totally get why he wouldn’t do that, nor would the other senior writers that may work many hours (and to clarify, it’s very possible Dan worked 100 hours, and others worked 60-80 or something, we don’t have hard numbers or pay stubs). Also, I suspect bonuses are tied to how well this does/reviews and that’s pretty big incentive for upper writing staff to ensure things are on point. Is that right? No, but it’s not really wrong per se, either. Welcome to corporate America, I guess.
Yes. And on big projects in my life, where it was my (or a small group that included me) “baby” I would do just that. And it wasn’t in the gaming industry.
And like I said, I don’t think the issues are invisible or non-existent, to the contrary my friend. I think this “issue” about Rockstar’s statement is Much Ado About Nothing. And I don’t think you are virtue-signalling. But I think most of the SM and gaming “journalism” hissy-fit is.
Also, I’d like to point to a tweet from Chris D’Elia. It’s rough, and I don’t agree with his tone, but (at least from my point of view) he’s not wrong.
I’m not saying people hear are being fake, the part I agree is if I’m being super honest with myself, I don’t really think I care how long people spend making the games I play. Am I part of the problem? Probably, but I also really respect developers and like to support them, because I know how hard and thankless the job is.
Owning the libs by working dozens of hours of unpaid overtime.
I don’t see how the hours are a problem provided that the employees are well-motivated and remunerated. If you don’t enjoy those kind of hours you can always find another company that offers a balance.
Ok… Here’s an unpopular thought: Perhaps their paygrade is high enough that overtime is basically baked into the annual salary? My guess is the average salary in the games industry is higher than in others.
Not even slightly.
All right if this is what we have in store for the thread then I’ll just bail out until release.