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Crunch has been a widespread problem in video game development since the early days of the industry. In recent years, several developers have come forward with stories of stressful working conditions on triple-A products, typically due to long working hours or extended work weeks. In a now-deleted tweet from Striking Distance Studios CEO and The Callisto Protocol director Glenn Schofield, the director painted a bleak picture of the upcoming horror game’s development that seems to line up with past real-life game development horror stories.
“We [are] working 6-7 days a week, no one is forcing us,” Schofield said on Twitter. The director stated that the studio continued its work through a variety of issues, including exhaustion and COVID-19, and also that workdays would sometimes last between 12 and 15 hours. The director concluded his statement by suggesting that this type of workload defines game development, writing: “[You] do it cause you [love] that.”
Schofield posted this tweet on the morning of Sept. 3, which happens to fall on Labor Day weekend — a holiday weekend in the United States that celebrates workers, many of whom receive three-day weekends in recognition of it. The tweet was subsequently deleted by Schofield, but video game reporter Ian Walker was able to take a screenshot before the deletion.
Consumers and industry insiders alike have since heavily criticized Schofield’s revelation about working conditions at Striking Distance Studios. Many have accused Schofield of boasting about long working days/weeks, while some consumers have said that they will no longer purchase the Callisto protocol. Bloomberg gaming journalist Jason Schreier alleged that Schofield used “weapon-based passion”, and further stated that mentalities similar to Schofield’s are “why people burn out [game development].”
In recent years, some studios have taken steps towards alleviating crunch in game development. Earlier this year, Horizon Forbidden West director Mathijs de Jonge stated that the game’s delay to 2022 was done to avoid the need for mandatory overtime. Additionally, some Insomniac employees claimed last year that they didn’t crunch once while working on Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart.