A misjudged Twitter post from Striking Distance Studios founder Glen Schofield has been deleted after it was criticised for appearing to glorify crunch. The former EA and Activision man – whose team is currently working to wrap up survival horror The Callisto Protocol ahead of its 2nd December launch – said that “we are working six to seven days a week […] exhaustion, tired, COVID but we’re working”. He continued: “12 to 15 hour days. This is gaming. Hard work. Lunch, dinner, working. You do it because you love it.”
Schofield was roundly criticised by a number of industry pundits, including Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, who’s written books about the toils of game development. “This, from a studio head, is crunch culture defined,” he said. “Of course nobody is ‘forced’ to work insane hours. But imagine the reduced bonuses and lack of promotion opportunities if you don’t? ‘You do it because you love it.’ Weaponised passion. This is why people burn out of gaming.”
After the original Twitter message was deleted, Schofield sought to clarify his comments: “Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about the people I work with. Earlier I tweeted how proud I was of the effort and hours the team was putting in. That was wrong. We value passion and creativity, not long hours. I’m sorry to the team for coming across like this.”
The working culture at a number of tentpole studios, including top AAA teams like Naughty Dog and Rockstar, has hit the headlines over the past decade – with some seeking to improve their approach. Many staffers pointed out that they didn’t work overtime on The Last of Us: Part I, while one of the reasons cited for GTA 6’s longer than expected development cycle has been a change in the culture at creator Rockstar.
Of course, this is a complicated topic with lots of nuance that often splits opinion. However, Schofield’s insinuation that his team are working while unwell with COVID is poor – although it’s possible he meant that his studio kept going through the rigours of the pandemic. If these are the kind of conditions, though, we’d argue a delay should be considered – however, we suspect Striking Distance Studios is also feeling the pressure of the Dead Space remake, which is currently slated to release a little over a month after The Callisto Protocol, on 27th January.
[source twitter.com, via twitter.com]
Complicated topic, but one thing I will say on this story is: if you're so busy, stop wasting your time on Twitter and attracting attention to yourself!
I just can't fathom the sheer amount of people who get themselves in hot water because they lack the self-control to close Twitter. It's mental!
Yeah, saw this one over the weekend. Clearly the man learned a lot during his time at EA and Activision.
The people whos making this game need times off.no way i would want to work all that time.spend time with yourself. Family and friends and loves one.and this is not good for your health also.the money is good.but health is more important.take some time from work.enjoy your life more.word up son
I sometimes enjoy working these kinds of crazy hours - especially if it’s a project I’m really invested in and feel passionate about. If it’s not forced or expected I don’t see why it’s an issue.
Crunch simply doesn't work. Years ago we did it at my job to make deadlines. Everyone agreed it was awful, so the thinking shifted to realizing that if a deadline slips a week or two, it's not the end of the world, next time you'll have more experience to plan better how long it'll take. Now nobody is crunching and productivity is way higher.
If there is one thing you never want to trust a word from about a company's health, that is from the FOUNDER. A developer's word is more trustworthy.
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@BritneyfR_ee We don’t know whether it’s forced or expected in this case, but when bosses and managers celebrate people specifically for working unsustainable schedules (rather than, say, the quality of their work), that definitely sends the message that this is what management/leadership wants from you.
And by this point we’ve seen plenty of instances of workers in game development who do feel exhausted and taken advantage of. Assuming this isn’tthe case here feels overly optimistic..
Got a friend that works at Striking Distance that wasn't too happy about that tweet
Twitter is trash. I don't like the boss needing to tweet about working hard and I don't like Jason (who is he? Who cares) having the need to inject himself into a matter that he has nothing to do with and knows nothing about.
Boss should keep his business to himself and off Twitter and Jason should mind his own damned business. I hate busybodies.
A good manager wouldn't let his staff work that long.
Passionate people especially need reigning in. They burn themselves out and let other stuff break down because they are so laser focused on this one thing.
This is, at best, borderline exploitation.
@GreatAuk "Jason should mind his own damned business"
This is gold. He's a journalist...
@Richnj Then he can write another article about it.
Twitter is just for arguing and scoring high fives with like-minded people.
@GreatAuk He's already wrote about this behaviour in games development (as per the info in this very article). What he has here is additional evidence directly from a manager who willfully and publicly (through twitter) gave up that supporting information.
Why don't you just ignore his tweets the way you ignore his journalistic works?
@turntSNACO To me it reads like he’s just really passionate about the game and is proud of how hard the team is working. Then Twitter is like, “OH HEEELL NO! Take his job, take his home, take his kids and his dog (if he has any). Ruin this monster!!!” lol
Crunch is seen as a negative thing but I would be one of those people throwing myself 100% into a project, working my a** off and hoping to be recognised for it. Sometimes you have to go the extra mile to get the job done.
Reminds me of the kind of deadlines we had in college, staying up all night drinking espresso by the gallon and eating pro-plus like candy. Very stressful but worth it in the end. No one cares about college crunch though lol
Forced crunch is obviously bad. Implied crunch as in if you don't stay back or you will be fired is also a no go and would mean that workplace is a toxic environment that doesn't value its employees. That is the first half of the coin to me, but if it is literally only passion and it's only some people in the team doing it who "choose" to do it and isn't forced to make that choice, I'm fine with. We also need to look at the reality of gaming as a creative field and say maybe in the last 2 weeks or so it would be expected to work slightly longer hours than you usually work.
My only experience in life so far would be stocktake in retail, where by choice I had the option to either work my regular shift or work the stocktake shifts for that week for a longer duration, but I'd also be getting payed more per hour. So as long as the Calisto Protocol devs have the choice and are given actual incentives such as higher pay for that time period I'm fine with these people working longer hours. May I state again that if they made this mandatory I would deem that workplace as having a toxic work culture and most normal people should opt out of that type of environment.
So he accidentally tweeted out a very specific number that goes pretty well beyond a hard day's amount of hours?
If it’s everyone you can guarantee someone is miserable and feel obligated because everyone else is doing it. 7 days a week is also too much. I get it’s possible some people want to, but at a point he should force his employees to go home and stop.
And you also should not be rewarded at a point either, it encourages a toxic culture.
If the employees don't mind then who cares. They have jobs and are getting paid for the work they do. We are fortunate to complain about such minor things in this age.
You can take the guy out of EA but you can’t take the EA out of the guy.
I will never understand why some people act like heroes because they work super long hours at their job, life is so short, why should we be required to work hours like that just to feel like we are doing a good job?
Work/life balance is super important and most companies just don't care/get it. If you want to work overtime great, but don't put others down because they value their time outside of work.
@Jaz007 I’m not sure I agree with that. You want people in your team who are passionate and enthusiastic about their work. If you have people who are willing to work harder, why punish them because others can’t, or won’t?
I realise some people have other commitments, like families with young children. That’s fine. But having a child is a choice. You make that decision knowing you won’t be able to devote as much time to your career (men and women). So why should people who don’t want children be held back?
If choosing not to have children gives you an advantage in the workplace because you can work harder and longer hours, too bad.
Edit sorry to anyone that read that I posted to the wrong thread ,that will teach me to open up more than one tab lol
@KaijuKaiser how about people should care because they're not getting paid for it? Or rather, by participating in crunch, the employees are effectively slashing their own salaries and worth to pieces.
Let's say they're paid $80K a year to work 40 hours a week. Well at 100 hours a week they're still just getting $80K a year. They're showing the company that they only value their own time at like $15/hour instead of $38/hour. Why should the company even consider a raise, clearly they're vastly overpaying what the employee values themselves at. Why should other companies consider hiring them at their current salary either, apparently they're fine working for peanuts, so $40K a year without crunch should be fine, right?
If they're really willing to work 100 hour weeks, maybe they should consider a job at like Starbucks or something instead. They'll be making more.
Everyone has different work preferences. There's no one perfect solution. Yes, 7 days a week sounds like way too much for myself and many others, but that's not the case for everyone. Some people just love work, it's a crazy concept to me but who am I to judge? I don't like this "crunch is bad no matter what" mentality because there are so many variables that might go into crunch that it makes it difficult to define it like so.
We don't know the full context of what the situation is like at the studio. All we can really get from this is that was a bad tweet. That's all.
That's inhumane. Hire more people and let them work realistic hours.
I mean duh. The game looks phenomenal for just 3 years after founding the studio.
I'm sorry, but people actually crunching makes me wanting more to buy the game. Imagine not appreciating their extra hours.
@get2sammyb he's trying to get attention for a new IP that definitely needs it. What he said was still terrible. That's why PR people exist.
Oh boo hoo... Had to work to make sure your job is completed by a schedule... Imagine that. The world is becoming far too entitled. I'll be buying the game and supporting the devs for their hard work.
@BritneyfR_ee i agree with you. If you want to work long hours on something you enjoy doing and do it because you want to and not forced to and then want to tell people about it because you are happy then whats the issue? A lot of times context is missed or convieniantly overlooked on typed comments so the usual head shaking and chin wagging comments can commence..not allowed to be happy about working hard and feeling fulfilled in the job you choose now?
People forget the history of this studio and how they were shafted by EA. Schofield gave all these people a second chance and the Callisto Protocol is absolutely a passion project and a spiritual successor to the Dead Space games they made when they were Visceral Games. It's them giving EA the finger. I think these devs are all working passionately on this game and want to beat the Dead Space remake release. Can't wait to play Callisto Protocol!!!
I was a workaholic some years ago and man it was a bad time in my life. I made tons of money at a young age but if a day off happened I was miserable and I couldn't enjoy anything, even work. Being a workaholic is a serious mental illness.It doesn't matter if it is your choice either. You become addicted sooner or later and eventually sick.
I don't understand why Schreier is so obsessed with crunch. No one is being forced to work these hours and him saying that those who don't work crazy hours won't get promotions is just made up nonsense. Games media and media in general is so low brow nowadays and there's very little actual journalism even done. You literally see the exact same stories on IGN, Gamespot, here, and basically every other site and there's so little difference between the articles it feels like they're just copy/pasted.
I'm sorry but it's hard to feel bad for someone sitting in a comfortable room working on video games for hours on end when you have jobs like crab fisherman that are out at sea for weeks at at a time.
Long hours do suck. I don’t know their exact working conditions maybe they are rough. I am a machinist by trade. Me and some others in the shop worked 6 months straight 12 hour shifts Mon-Thurs 8 hours Friday and 8 hours Saturday. We got 3 Saturday’s off in 6 months. We did what we had to do to get the customers their products. We didn’t like it, but it had to be done. Summertime in the south is brutal. The shop gets up to 108 degrees on a normal day.
Oh god a crunch controversy, how very 2020.
@Yupyupyup i know 2 local trawler men who go out in all kinds of weather and they graft and dont make a lot of money..they do ok but "ok" just aint going to cut it in the coming year(s)..so yeah i understand why it would be hard to feel sorry for office bound employees in warm,dry conditions with coffee machines etc...harsh conditions..harsh..
“Of course nobody is ‘forced’ to work insane hours. But imagine the reduced bonuses and lack of promotion opportunities if you don’t?
So you do it or no promotion and less bonuses the last one i get but you can only be a good worker it you make 105 hour weeks?
The funny thing its shown time and time again these insane hours make the quality of your work less and you are less productive. So its a total waste quality will suffer. Not that weird that game breaking bugs and lack of polish are a big issue with these hours.
Look at Cyberpunk 2077 rushed with a nice sidedish of crunch and man that game still isnt finished on the old platforms.
In the past month my interest for this game has went from pre-ordered a physical copy to will wait until its half price in a sale
Jason Schreier is soo annoying! Has he ever made a triple a game? Lot's of people who want to accomplish something great do overtime. Afterwards they celebrate this. Why they obsession about "crunch"? He doesn't even know what's it like to be head of a big studio. To make something truly great...
Look when devs focus on one platform in a timed exclusivity people get outraged. But when they work insane hours to satisfy entitled gamers on all platform people get outraged.
They can’t win.
Should have chosen one platform to prioritise in my opinion.
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If it reviews well i will be buying it day 1 as to fully acknowledge all of that hard work.
Keep it up people!
Coming from a journalist looking on his computer and phone all day that has probably never wrote thousands of lines of code or picked up a wacker or a trowel in his life, getting his hands grafted, talking about crunch, isn't something he should be talking about.
I'm not a fan of studios pressuring people for unsustainable hours that ultimately lowers the quality of the work they do. It's just stupid. And it's interesting that I, living in a middle-eastern third world country, see this kind of thing happen less here than it does in the West. People deserve their time off, if somebody wants to work more hours... that's a different topic. (We all got our own reasons for being workaholic)
But all that aside Jason Schreier is a journalist, and I've grown to despise journalists these past few years. Schreier strikes me as someone who lacks empathy for the employees and just wants to throw shades at companies and studios because he gets paid to do it. Not to mention he acts like a child and literally blocks random people he disagrees with in his own comment sections. Schreier doesn't take responsibility for the power his voice holds. But who can blame a man for just wanting to make money out of a messed up situation?
Schreier should just report the facts and stop policing the industry. If anybody at the studio doesn’t like it, then speak up and tell your boss.
Wow, insane that so many gamers have so little respect for the people who actually make games that they think devs should be paid less and work 100 hour weeks.
I hate all of the backtracking and false apologies on social media posts. They should just stick to their guns and tell the people who complain to do one. I don't particularly like Liam Gallagher but if anybody complains or criticises what he says on Twitter, he'll just tell them to f**koff and call them a bellend.
After reading this a couple days ago I wondered if if they’re just feeling a little pressure with two big releases in less then two months.Now I’m sure they got a little too big for their britches took on too many projects and now Glen’s wishing he’d stayed at Activision.😝
@Notoriousmakavel if you let twitter outrage and snipe articles kill your interest in things you may as well turn everything off and live in a cave
@CapGod imagine not appreciating the people making the game by stating you are not buying it based on faux outrage
@BossBE I think that's the thing about Schreier, he counts being a journalist in the industry for a long time as being in the industry. Seeing someone drive an 18-wheeler doesn't make you a trucker. Schreier just likes to make people look bad. I don't agree with heavy crunch and I understand that corporate life definitely puts a lot of people under pressure, but as you say great things aren't achieved without a little bit of sacrifice.
the usual someone posts something on twitter rest of world over reacts and offended on others behalf.
had it been a tweet from an employee complaining etc thats different. for all we know they agreed and are being rewarded for it.
@Milktastrophe As far as I can tell, Gamers actively hate actual developers, and only care about the brands and their products.
I mean, Activision and Ubisoft have been the absolute worst to their employees, but also, COD and Assassin's Creed are massive money makers.
I think MS, Sony, and Nintendo could announce all the revenue of their next games of Halo, Spider-Man, and Mario would go to murdering the homeless, and Gamers would justify their desire for the games as being a good thing actually, because they are reducing suffering...
@GagaOooLaLa Because that’s a race to the bottom. Work is important in life, but if it’s all that important, your life will end up hollower than it should have been. And no one in there is anyone punished. Take a day off isn't punishment. Not being rewarded for it isn’t punishment, it’s just a matter of keeping expectations in line and not forcing people to do it, making passion the only reward and making it truly the reason. If they really don’t need to, then the team will be fine with someone not working that many hours and days all the time.
@BritneyfR_ee 'Then Twitter is like, “OH HEEELL NO! Take his job, take his home, take his kids and his dog (if he has any). Ruin this monster!!!” lol'
No one said anything like that, you absolute dullard.
Very clear we have a lot of people who have never had a real job in these comments, by how much boot-licking they're doing for management. Just pathetic.
People who are saying "if you don't like crunch, quit your job" are so hilariously transparent, just little remoras living off their parents still, they simply can't imagine what it's like to have to need a job to make rent, lol.
@Richnj 100% spot on about this. Gamers are just like every other mindless consumer base, all we care about is that we get our little treats, damn anyone who gets in the way.
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@GuyProsciutto you’re exactly the kind of person you wouldn’t want working on your team - unpleasant, generally negative and unwilling to work a second over their contracted hours. Some people do actually enjoy their careers you know. If you’re unhappy in yours, that’s nobodies fault but your own 🤷♂️
You would think the rise in 'cheap' subscription services that threaten the payload on developers and game companies that there'd be more sympathy to those not wanting to work overtime and not be punished for it. Those wanting to just work the standard are obviously going to be one of the first to be replaced in due time. Relaxing is now a punishment instead of a luxury.
The value of gaming is being exchanged for the value of blame gaming.
I read it as a dude trying to praise his team, but he just cops flak for it. Shame as now the eyes aren’t on what they’ve achieved.
Schreier is a professional outrage manufacturer and working for Michael Bloomberg makes him a hypocrite.
must be a heartless boss . na 8 hours maximum mate. work to live dont live to work. paid for the hours you do not the work you do 😊
@Yupyupyup I don't know if you've ever worked in an office job doing 12-16 hours shifts 6-7 days per week under a hard deadline (I have), but it's absolute hell. The thing about these situations is that they're entirely avoidable with proper management. If you have to essentially double the output of your workforce when you only have ONE main project you're working on, then upper management is just grossly incompetent.
This is their first games, it will make or break their company, of course they'll working hard at this. I don't think they (the devs) can work leisurely at this.
@get2sammyb Yup, I do think it's better if the gaming industries (and everyone else) leave twitter en masse, just don't use it at all or at least use it only for their games, do not use it for personal tweets. Twitter only exist to cancel people now.
At least they can't blame microsoft for the crunch. They already said it isnt gonna be a day 1 gamepass game. The fact that there crunching for its release means its most likely gonna have a buggy glitch filled launch. Please no more cyberpunks.
@WadeIsInsane only affects developers payloads who don't want to use that revenue. They get a choice to either get a fat cheque and still make that side hussle of full game purchases or dont use that revenue and not getting a piece of that pie. Lets be honest this game is a clone, carbon copy of what a dead space game would look and play like if it was updated. How well did the original dead space do? I honestly think they are mistaken if they actually think not putting this on ps plus or gamepass will give them a bigger cut.
@BritneyfR_ee not all jobs are enjoyable experiences. You think being pressured into overtime and killing yourself denying me time is a good thing? Dillusional much.
Some of you people are beyond lame. Like you had a life without problems, and decided to make gaming news the number one issue you care about..
Wow, why am I not surprised at how entitled and outright horrible many people are in here towards their fellow workers?
This community really depresses me sometimes.
I want someone to love me as much as Jason Schreir loves talking about crunch. I still like some of the journalism Schreier puts out and Blood Sweat and Pixels was great but, imo, he's become so insufferable and self-righteous when it comes to crunch.
Also, how do you just throw a massive meatball down the center of the plate like that knowing Schreier is waiting with a tree trunk sized baseball bat waiting to knock it out of the park.
Very disturbing to hear from this man, but glad he at least apologized.
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