Respawn Entertainment, the team behind Apex Legends and Titanfall, is doubling down on its stance against crunch culture in video game development.
A job listing on Respawn Entertainment’s site advertises a position to work on a brand new IP. Listed in the ‘Why Join Us’ section is a promise of “No crunch or overtime. We don’t glorify this behaviour.”
The term ‘crunch’ refers to a practice in game development where the team are encouraged to work longer intensely long hours and potentially extra days to get a project finished. This usually occurs towards the end of a development project and can last for several months.
Cases of crunch can be devastating for the physical and mental health of game developers. A report from Kotaku claimed that Bioware suffered “stress casualties” while crunching on Anthem. Employees were reportedly known to frequently find offices to cry in due to the insurmountable workload.
“We don’t glorify this behaviour”
Luckily, this EA studio is taking a strong stance against that sort of work culture. Several employees at Respawn back up the job listing’s promise of eradicating crunch from the studio.
Ryan K. Rigney, the director of communications at Respawn, says that “this is extremely true in my experience with Respawn.”
A quality assurance lead at the company also gave some insight into their experience:
“I’ve never felt pressure to do overtime since I started at Respawn, despite that usually just being the norm for QA, and have never experienced a crunch period. In a sea of horror stories about QA treatment in the game’s industries, I can’t sing this company’s praises enough.”
Rico Sanchez, an associate quality designer at Respawn, explains that the ‘no crunch’ culture has been there since they started working there in 2019:
“Been on the Apex team since S3 released and it’s always been true. Since WFH [work from home] it’s even more of a priority to make sure we’re not burning out, and making time/space for everything outside of work. I’m so thankful that Respawn gets this from the top down!”
Why can overtime be a bad thing?
Some Twitter users are curious as to why overtime can be a bad thing for employees if they are willing. Rigney is quick to point out that, often, any overtime is unpaid if you’re salaried. Taking on overtime can also put unfair pressure on other employees to take up more hours than they’re comfortable with to ‘keep up’ with the rest of the team.
Rigney gives some extra context on his team’s stance on working hours:
“The attitude on my team is: abide by some core work hours and otherwise choose the hours that work best for you while delivering against objectives. But heavily encouraged to prioritize family time, avoiding crunch, etc. People are respectful with booking meetings, etc.”
It’s promising to see such a huge studio clamp down on toxic working conditions like this. Developers deserve to be happy and healthy while making the games that we enjoy.
What are your thoughts on this stance on crunch culture from Respawn Entertainment? Let us know across our social channels.
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[Featured Image Credit: Respawn Entertainment/Unsplash: Luis Villasmil]