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For the record (Gaming)

by CruelLEGACEY @, Toronto, Sunday, May 24, 2020, 22:21 (158 days ago) @ cheapLEY

So. Hmm. I don’t disagree with your point. I don’t think crunch is inherently bad. Working long, tough hours can be beneficial and rewarding. I think the current video game industry takes that to the extreme, and I don’t get the feeling it’s done in a healthy, beneficial way, but rather in the series capitalistic way of taking advantage of workers.

I do disagree with your final paragraph about God of War though. I absolutely think they could have made that game without actually having to suffer away from their families for so long. People have better imagination and artistic abilities than that, I think. In any case, even if what you say is necessary to make that game, I’d rather have the good but not masterpiece version of that game than to force people to endure such shit conditions. If the driving force of your narrative is mirroring your actual life in the way you are neglecting your children and that neglect is necessary to make the art, I’d argue that’s not a worthy trade off at all.

Here’s where I’d make an important distinction though. Who’s forcing these people to do it? Because if they literally are being forced, then I think I’d fully agree with you. But they aren’t being forced. They’re choosing to dedicate such large amounts of their time to the project. Now I know that’s a bit easier to say about the team leads, for whom this game is very important on a personal level. But maybe there are 80 people on the team who don’t care, and would rather be putting in 40 hour work weeks (at this point in my life, I’d fall into the latter group). One could say that even if nobody is forcing those people to crunch, they feel like they must so as not to be replaced. But that can only be true if there are other people willing and eager to take their place, crunch and all. Which just points to my original statements that some people like throwing themselves into a project on that level. And perhaps that’s what it takes to get a job at Sony Santa Monica. They’re trying to be the best in the world, and there’s zero evidence that you can achieve that within a 40 hour work week.

Again, I’m not trying to defend practices that burn people out and destroy families... far from it. I AM saying that maybe most people aren’t cut out to be THE BEST. Maybe success in creative, competitive industries like video game development takes a certain amount of sacrifice.

I do however think there are examples of crunch that are far tougher, if not impossible, to justify. I look at what some of the teams behind the big annual sports titles go through; cranking out a game in 9-10 months, year after year, not given any of the time or space needed to make real improvements, worked into the ground... I can’t find much to defend in those kinds of practices. For me, if we’re going to try to sway parts of the industry away from crunch practices, starting with the studios who are creating the greatest games ever made is probably not the right approach. I’d rather call out the studios cranking out garbage mobile game after garbage mobile game and stuff like that.


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