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The human cost of Red Dead Redemption 2 (Eurogamer)

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CaptainExplosion said:
potato_hamster said:

Ohh... you think Nintendo treats their employees noticeably better. Well... perhaps you should look into that.

Sure, but I bet they don't force them into unpaid overtime and say things like "If you don't like it, go work for fucking Tesco.".

No, they don't say that. They force them into unpaid overtime and say things like "It's Mario time!":

https://kotaku.com/at-nintendo-working-all-night-is-mario-time-1794042341

https://www.thegamer.com/miserabl-reasons-working-at-nintendo-is-the-worst/



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contestgamer said:
Mandalore76 said:

Nice attitude.  You are a credit to society.  I've never met any of the sick kids at the Shriner's Hospitals, or the helpless animals being helped by the ASPCA, that I donate money to every month from my paycheck.  But, that's because I choose not to live in ignorance.  Not caring if someone else's mental, or family life suffers just as long as you get your precious video game is a ridiculously callous and beyond selfish attitude to have.  Bravo.

If they dont like the work, they can quit. Anyone working on the video games I enjoy should be fully committed to doing whatever it takes to deliver me that 97 rated MC game.

Except you can't just quite without repercussions. In the UK if you quit a job and don't find another one before doing so you are exempt from benefits for six months.



Ka-pi96 said:
Hard to feel sympathy for them when UK employment law is generally pretty good for employees. Just refuse to work the overtime and either you'll just work regular hours like everybody else or they'll fire you, you'll sue them for wrongful dismissal and get a huge payout.

My friend got blacklisted from for suing and the pay out (around 300k) wouldn't compensate for not never being able to work in the industry he had spent a decade becoming skilled in. 



fatslob-:O said:
Azzanation said:
I respect RDR2 and thank the employees for the masterpiece they created but human rights should never be broken. A happy work place is a good workplace.
Things some people tend to miss. Its acts like this that ruin companies. MS already poached the lead director from Rockstar to work for there newly created studio. Staff will jump ship and Rockstar could possibly fall if they continue this method on making games.
Reason i bring this up is i saw the exact same thing happen to Rare in the N64 days. During the development of Perfect Dark, Rare staff were leaving the company. Rare were also guilty of doing the same thing in the past by overworking there teams, and look how that panned out for Rare in the long run.
Quality should never be a human sacifice.

Rare suffered because of poor management, not because of employee turnover. The former Rare employees who went on to form Free Radical Design didn't last all that much longer with a release like Haze and being acquired by Crytek who are also now in trouble ... 

@Bold The statement you make is nothing more than a platitude. To create quality products one must simply invest in many man-hours towards it. Just as it may be unjust for an employee to be exploited it is absolutely unjust for the consumer to accept sub-par goods and services for their own hard earned work. You can not have both pro-consumerism and employee welfare ... 

This is way too much hyperbole. Quality doesn't require excessive overtime, poor working conditions or expense of employee welfare. This exact quality game that's sitting on metacritic with a score of 97 could have released in fall 2019, potentially to an even better perception due to better execution of ideas from a well rested workforce and more efficient workforcethis is scientifically backed ;) 

The question here is time... and time cost money. Not every game can afford significant delays (which is where I think the actual dilema arises-indie studios/studios that are struggling) but we know Read Dead and Rockstar can. Unfortunately such significant crunch and forced overtime is something they know they can get away with, so why delay when you can overwork your staff and save a 20m+ on employment costs even though you know the delay will only make a small dent in your overall profits.

Here's at least one studio doing something crazy ambitious and not employing a culture of "cruch"

http://www.pushsquare.com/news/2018/10/media_molecule_doesnt_crunch_reckons_its_too_90s

Essentially their needs to a rebalancing between developer ambitions, publisher budgeting and scheduling. Unfortunately developers are being pushed in the arms race to outdo each other in scale and spectacle, whereas I think diversification is far more important for 90% of game studio.

A game like The Journey is higher "quality" in terms of reception and technical performance than the likes of Mass Effect Andromeda, quality can't simply be attributed to man hours.



Cerebralbore101 said:
DonFerrari said:

I'm pretty sure salaried employees doesn't earn the same in all jobs even within the same state. And it is breach of contract to contract someone for a certain hourly wage and pay for just half the hours worked, easy lawsuit. And on a country like USA with 3% unemployment rate I find it very hard to believe you can't find a job.

Salaried and hourly wage are not the same thing in the USA. If you are salaried here, that means you don't get paid extra for working extra hours. 

Yeah, a job is easy to find. A job that pays well enough to pay back your insane student loan debt on the other hand is hard to come by. And video-game schools are extra expensive, since they are almost all private for-profit schools. 

You shouldn't enter a student loan to enter a career that doesn't pay-off.

And at the Geralt discussion, it's ridiculous. The writer is a milionaire complaining the studio won billions and didn't pay him enough. Geralt defends what people are saying, yet we have seem a lot of complains on work conditions against CD Projeckt.

Last edited by DonFerrari - on 28 October 2018

duduspace11 "Well, since we are estimating costs, Pokemon Red/Blue did cost Nintendo about $50m to make back in 1996"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8808363

Mr Puggsly: "Hehe, I said good profit. You said big profit. Frankly, not losing money is what I meant by good. Don't get hung up on semantics"

http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=9008994

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I plan to never again treat my job like it is my life. I'm a teacher and there are tons of us that work 50-75 hour weeks on a regular basis even though we are only paid 37.5 hours a week. My first year or two I took so much stuff home. This year, many of us at my building are intentionally refusing to work unpaid from home to demonstrate how overwhelmed we are with falling behind on things. My job is not my life.



LuccaCardoso1 said:
o_O.Q said:
no one is forcing these people to work at rockstar, they can quit and work at another company that respects their employees more

It's not that easy to switch jobs. Some people really depend on what they're being paid by Rockstar and there's no guarantee that they'll find another job if they leave.

Sorry to interrupt, but I think if you're a valuable employee you could find another job pretty easily. If not, start your own business. Nothing is worth letting your family fall apart. 



GoOnKid said:

I don't believe that. This is no golden rule. Companies should change their methods and management in order to become more efficient. Shrugging your shoulders and putting it off as something that nobody can ever change is too easy of an excuse. Everything can become better if the people involved really want to.

In the article there are some things that the Rockstar employees themselves suggested as improvements, I remember better communication is one of those things. There are solutions to everything, you just have to work on them.

@Bold Easy for you to say and the main bottleneck is not studio communication, it's very clearly man power since game production is asset generation intensive ... 

When the Rockstar employees are off hours and we're the ones on working hour offering goods or services is it OK that we screw them out of value for the money they are getting for when we suggested them to cut corners for their labour like we would for our own ? Is it somehow productive that all parties are providing less value for the money ? 

People need to realize that productivity/value is a function of labour and it becomes dysfunctional when no value is offered ... 

Azzanation said:

Poor management can also lead to employee turnover. When a company starts to bleed staff, the questions must be asked, why did they leave Rare? They could have left for reasons we wont know for sure however with most jobs, people leave for better money, better facilities, better treatment, better opportunities etc.

Example would be why did Rockstars lead Director leave to join MS? Why would he leave such a fantastic company with a huge branding name and a success rate not matched by many?

Humans have learnt how to make good things without the risks of human sacrifice. We don't need slave labour anymore to create amazing things. Invest in many man hours doesn't have to be 1 man does more hours but more men to do less hours but achieve the same goals. Rockstar isn't poor, they can afford to treat there staff better especially with there long term dead lines.

For the most part they hardly do and who cares if Rockstar's former lead director left them ? When in game development it's not about the superstar, it's about the team and a visionary is nothing without a good team when we take Itagaki as an example for pushing out trash like Devil's Third while his former studio returned to greatness by releasing Nioh. Why change the system when it worked in providing good value for the money ? 

Human sacrifice is necessary and money is the contract between the producer and the consumer. Is producing sub-par products and not getting punished for it but instead is rewarded for it supposed to make the customers happy ? What happened to developers being only as good as their last game ? 

The idea of pro-consumerism is not compatible with employee welfare since the former is about getting most value out of the latter rather than vice versa and this is something every social democrat needs to ponder about instead of showing duplicity about it ... 

Otter said:

This is way too much hyperbole. Quality doesn't require excessive overtime, poor working conditions or expense of employee welfare. This exact quality game that's sitting on metacritic with a score of 97 could have released in fall 2019, potentially to an even better perception due to better execution of ideas from a well rested workforce and more efficient workforcethis is scientifically backed ;) 

The question here is time... and time cost money. Not every game can afford significant delays (which is where I think the actual dilema arises-indie studios/studios that are struggling) but we know Read Dead and Rockstar can. Unfortunately such significant crunch and forced overtime is something they know they can get away with, so why delay when you can overwork your staff and save a 20m+ on employment costs even though you know the delay will only make a small dent in your overall profits.

Here's at least one studio doing something crazy ambitious and not employing a culture of "cruch"

http://www.pushsquare.com/news/2018/10/media_molecule_doesnt_crunch_reckons_its_too_90s

Essentially their needs to a rebalancing between developer ambitions, publisher budgeting and scheduling. Unfortunately developers are being pushed in the arms race to outdo each other in scale and spectacle, whereas I think diversification is far more important for 90% of game studio.

A game like The Journey is higher "quality" in terms of reception and technical performance than the likes of Mass Effect Andromeda, quality can't simply be attributed to man hours.

@Bold Nearly every industry experts and professionals seems to think it does and the game was delayed twice already prior to releasing on top of being long in mass production. No you can't make a crap shoot proposal and claim that your idea is scientifically backed because it's simply not testable. What happens when reviewers raise higher expectations and the game suffers for it ? What happens to the developers that don't feel the competitive pressure to make a better product ? 

As far as Rockstar is concerned, the game was delayed twice which was still far more productive than what Sony did in production with The Last Guardian ... 

A game like "The Journey" has lower expectations and sales as well so your comparison with big projects like Mass Effect Andromeda is bunk ... 

If guilty offenders of this so called "crunch culture" like Rockstar and Nintendo keep producing high quality software and customers keep buying them as well then the model will keep being recognized as being sustainable until the customers learn to boycott them ... 



DonFerrari said:
Cerebralbore101 said:

Salaried and hourly wage are not the same thing in the USA. If you are salaried here, that means you don't get paid extra for working extra hours. 

Yeah, a job is easy to find. A job that pays well enough to pay back your insane student loan debt on the other hand is hard to come by. And video-game schools are extra expensive, since they are almost all private for-profit schools. 

You shouldn't enter a student loan to enter a career that doesn't pay-off.

And at the Geralt discussion, it's ridiculous. The writer is a milionaire complaining the studio won billions and didn't pay him enough. Geralt defends what people are saying, yet we have seem a lot of complains on work conditions against CD Projeckt.

@bolded Yeah, I agree. Not to mention that everything you are taught at a "game school" is learnable on your own via the internet, and/or books. Learn to make your own games, and get that hit Indie on steam! Orrrrrrrr go into massive debt for the chance to work 60 hours a week for a company that will lay you off once development finishes. 



Conina said:
CaptainExplosion said:

Sure, but I bet they don't force them into unpaid overtime and say things like "If you don't like it, go work for fucking Tesco.".

No, they don't say that. They force them into unpaid overtime and say things like "It's Mario time!":

https://kotaku.com/at-nintendo-working-all-night-is-mario-time-1794042341

https://www.thegamer.com/miserabl-reasons-working-at-nintendo-is-the-worst/

They were doing an all nighter to get the development docs finished. In game design you have to document how your game is being made. You have to write down every little detail of your game down to the nth degree. Game design docs are often hundreds of pages long. The game design doc is what the rest of your team uses as instructions to make the game. It tells your programmers how and what to program. It tells your modelers what 3D assets you need.  Until you get the doc out of the way, nobody else can begin work. That's why most companies will hammer out the game design docs in a few days of furious typing. After that they go back to a normal workweek. 

And unlike western game companies, once you have a job at Nintendo it is for life.