Callisto Protocol director apologizes for showing up to celebrate crunch culture
Hot potato: Crunch culture, a term used to describe the sheer amount of (often mandatory) overtime work of those who work in the video game industry, has long been a contentious issue opposed by many consumers and employees. So when a CEO tweets a message that seemingly glorifies a practice, don’t be surprised if it’s quickly followed by an apology.
The post in question comes from Striking Distance Studios founder and CEO Glen Schofield. In a now-deleted tweet, the director of upcoming horror film The Callisto Protocol wrote: “We work 6-7 days a week, no one is forcing us. Tired, tired, Covid, but we are working. Bugs, crashes, performance fixes. . 1 last pass through audio. 12-15 hours a day. These are games. Hard work. Lunch, dinner at work. Do it because you love it.”
The tweet generated a lot of responses, almost all negative. It’s easy for a company founder and boss to talk about work every waking hour because they love something, but not all employees share those feelings. And while Schofield believes that this work is optional, many people, not just in the games industry, know what can happen to employees who cannot or do not want to work overtime.
Schofield responded to criticism with an apology. “I previously tweeted how proud I am of the effort the team has put into the work. It was wrong. We value passion and creativity, not long hours. I’m sorry the team faced this,” he wrote.
Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about the people I work with. I previously tweeted how proud I am of the effort and hours the team puts in. It was wrong. We value passion and creativity, not long hours. I apologize to the team for experiencing this.
— Glen A. Schofield (@GlenSchofield) September 3, 2022
Stories about the problem of crunch culture have been permeating the video game industry for years. Examples include months of long hours, including a six-day week, of work at CD Projekt Red as they rushed to finish Cyberpunk 2077, despite the studio’s previous claims that such overtime would not be mandatory. Crunch has been said to be a big problem at Bungie and Rockstar.
It’s such a weird coincidence how the guy who boasts about how his team works 6-7 days a week for 12-15 hours a day because they love it also happens to be the guy who controls all of their salaries, positions and current employment status.
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) September 3, 2022
Recently, game studios have been trying to solve the problem of crunch. Rockstar says it’s overhauling its business to keep GTA 6 overtime under control, while Bethesda is reportedly no longer crunching after falling under the Microsoft banner. There was also the case of an environmental artist working on the PS5 remake of The Last of Us: Part I, who said that for the first time in his career, creating a game was easy.