When it comes to crunch culture in the video game industry, some descriptions paint a depressing atmosphere for employees. You’ve likely heard about this term in the past as developers aim to make a certain deadline for a video game release. The result towards the end is usually a long crunch for employees as they put in additional hours at work. We’ve heard about these horror stories in the past with developers sleeping at their desk to toxic conversations due to stress and worry over the future. However, as more of these stories come out, more developers chime in to alert fans that they are doing their best to avoid this situation for future releases.
The latest horror stories come from one of the biggest and beloved video game development companies to date, Naughty Dog. These are the developers who are responsible for some of the biggest PlayStation exclusives that range from the original PlayStation to the current PlayStation 4 platform. However, to get the amount of detail and compelling video games for players to enjoy, the studio had to go through some crunch time and it’s pretty rough on contractors in general.
You may find that the development studio has a massive collection of employees, but a good portion of those employees are there through contract based work. Some are just starting into the video game industry and looking to get their name out there while others jump from job to job. At any rate, former contractors employed by Naughty Dog are starting to chime in about the crunch time they dealt with at the company.
These contractors spoke to COG Connected but didn’t offer their names. Instead, they only gave their insights to the company and what crunch time meant for these developers. We highly recommend looking at the article as it gives some pretty interesting quotes, but essentially, those that were part of the company through contract-based work were peer pressured in doing overtime. Overtime is not mandatory at Naughty Dog according to the reports made by these former contractors, but they overcame this obstacle by paying about minimum wage which is tough to live by. Likewise, there would be peer pressure from management which could have contractors worried that they would be fired. Furthermore, it was also described that the time allotted for their work goals was impossible to do in just a standard shift.
You also have the reports of how contractors were not treated to the same events and company benefits that the full-time developers have at their disposal. Naughty Dog has yet to make a statement since these accusations came out and we’re wondering if another batch of employees is going through the same treatment with the upcoming anticipated release of The Last of Us Part 2.