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sales2099 said:
Shaunodon said:

Well I've honestly bounced between both sides of this argument today. When I first started reading these things about some leaks and a disgruntled employee, all I saw mentioned in these threads was that he was upset about crunch or being fired. The only opinion I had was regardless of the work conditions and whether he just wanted to hurt ND, it was a blatantly immature act that just hurts everyone including fans and his future career.

I recently however read a snippet from an interview that actually gave a very different angle. I can't post it here because it contains spoilers, but I'll quote the safe bits of the article:

“I don’t doubt, even for a moment, that this leak came from the studio. The Last of Us Part 2 is very divisive and, as you can imagine, some of the team aren’t really thrilled to be working on the game.”

The source goes on to talk about how stale the work environment has been at Naughty Dog and how so many people have had to bite their tongues because ‘cancel culture’ is very much alive inside of the studio.

[Paragraph with potential spoilers skipped]

“The team is very much divided on the game, and even voicing your concerns on its story will upset certain individuals; it usually results in said person being called closed-minded or even phobic, or some such nonsense. Some people literally have to bite their tongues or fear losing their jobs, even careers, to an outrage mob.”

Our source also alleged that the high turnover in staff is because of the reasons mentioned above. “What’s really sad is that nobody is allowed to talk about any of this. Many employees have left Naughty Dog because in-house politics and they are under a strict NDA and absolutely cannot discuss the studio’s ‘productions practices’ secrets. Oops!”

Naughty Dog Inc., has a turnover rate of 70% which skyrocketed around the time The Last of Us Part II went into production. Our source’s claims have been corroborated by a former Naughty Dog animator, Jonathon Cooper, who left them in early October last year.

Jonathon Cooper alleged that Neil Druckmann would force employees to sign a very strict NDA upon leaving Naughty Dog or he’d withhold their final paycheck.

A source added: “It was primarily the senior team that left Naughty Dog and to assume that it’s because of ‘long working hours’ is laughable. Anybody that has ever worked in game development knows that this is crock of shit. Since I can remember, development has always been like this; get to work, chug coffee and don’t leave until you’ve completed the task that you’ve been assigned for the day. It’s a part of the fun. It’s a part of the lifestyle. What’s not fun is working in a toxic environment.”

Very interesting to see a whole different perspective. While at first it was easy to question why a disgruntled employee would launch a kamikaze attack just to get back at his employer, it becomes very different if we instead look at the angle of, maybe his career was already in danger. Maybe instead of just trying to take one last shot at an employer, he was actually trying to shed some light on a toxic situation?

So far this is just some vague allegations, containing a lot of common buzzwords, from some unnamed sources, but the one thing I could say lends this any credibility is how divisive reactions to the leaks have been. Honestly, that might be underselling it, because most of what I've seen has been very negative.

Sounds like NG is becoming far left woke. Which ironically aren’t tolerant of mainstream conservatism. The idea you can’t internally have a dialogue about the game without putting your career at risk and being called a bigot must be hard. I guarantee that can take its toll more then crunch hours because let’s be honest, they knew that when they entered the field. When you a woke developer your games story is either love or hate. There is no in between. 

1.) The article comes from an Australian 'news' site which I won't link because they got one too many clicks already from me, but they commonly have headlines like this:

"Ellen DeGeneres is transphobic according to people who’ve met her"
"HBO’s The Last of Us will focus on ‘climate change’ and ‘rape culture’"
"Joaquin Phoenix reportedly wants Joker 2 to be a protest piece"
"Captain Marvel sales are bombing, here is why"
"Marvel reportedly only hiring women for Captain Marvel sequel"
"Australian comedian Isaac Butterfield cancelled for being ‘too offensive’"
"Ashley Tisdale talks about mental health in her underwear"

2.) They claim an anonymous ND employee reached out to them.

3.) And they just happened to post this article yesterday after spoilers leaked.

This looks like nothing more than a baseless opportunist hitpiece to bandwagon the situation, from the most unreliable source imaginable considering their history regarding this subject.

On top of that, the idea that the majority of ND turnover is due to their inability to criticize the story sounds like fantasy, because less than a handful of people have any input on the story. A few more are even in a position to make any comments at all, because ND tend to keep the scripts of the game secret for the majority of the hundreds of people working on it, until close to release. With the exception of the actors who record the lines. And even they got bits and pieces of the script progressively. Recorded lines for story events out of sequence and without context, etc.
(The first scene Troy recorded was the car scene with Elly. The second (or one of the first) was the cabin scene with Elly and Tommy.)

And even if staff were commonly privy to story elements, the idea that professional game developers would commonly quit their job in the middle of production over disagreements of how someone else handles their job doesn't sound like reality.
If you're working on textures, you probably wouldn't tell the music composer how to compose a song, or the mo-cap people how to make a great action scene, etc. Unless you're on speaking terms with whoever is in charge of the other section that's not your area of expertise, and they've shared their work with you, and you feel comfortable criticizing their work. And for the majority of ND employees, that's likely not the case. (According to Amy Hennig, ND has grown so big that the employees are mostly strangers now.)

The fact that not just one, but most of the people who left voiced their dissent with how their colleagues do their job, and then quit after how that turned out, sounds like the type of fantasy you'd expect from a site like this.

@Shaunodon
That article seems extremely unreliable considering its timing and that sites history. Nor does its content sound like its based in reality.

Last edited by Hiku - on 28 April 2020