Video Games Crunch

Polygon published an article about the crunch and emotional labor that goes into most big budget videogames these days. It’s partly a reaction to someone at Rockstar mentioning multiple 100-hour weeks as part of the development process for Red Dead Redemption 2:

What will be left of the people who make our games?

Crunch exists, however, because the industry is ultimately fueled by emotional labor — the demand that one always be the kind of person willing to endure all of this with a smile…

I cannot fathom how I would be able to call myself a good–or even passable–father or husband or friend and also work multiple 100 hour weeks. Maybe other people have stronger relationships than I do? I’m skeptical.

There are times when, yes, you need to put in extra time on a project. When Scope Creep Studios is close to launching something we essentially add a part-time job on top of our day jobs. However, 100 hour weeks are never necessary. I’d put money down that hours 70-100 (or even hours 40-100) don’t accomplish anything that you couldn’t accomplish in less time with more rest.

Creative projects will always have moments where they go outside of a strict workday schedule. It’s just the nature of the beast. That said: you need to remunerate the peple that work the longer hours, have those hours be optional (like really actually optional), cap those hours, and project manage as if no one will take you up on it. No deadline or creative vision is worth the sacrifice of relationships and health.