Developing a game is no walk in a park specially a AAA game, as developers has to figure out every angle for the game’s story, gameply and more. While most of the developers would want to enter the AAA development, but according to Amy Hennig, former Uncharted director, AAA development could destroy people’s lives.
During a recent Idle Thumbs’ Designer Notes podcast, Henning talked about her experience at Naughty Dog, and also discussed how stressful her job was and how it effected her health. She said during her time at Naughty Dog she worked almost 80 hours a week.
The whole time I was at Naughty Dog–ten-and-a-half years–I probably, on average, I don’t know if I ever worked less than 80 hours a week. There were exceptions where it was like, ‘Okay, let’s take a couple of days off,’ but I pretty much worked seven days a week, at least 12 hours a day.
She further added that it was not just her but a lot of developers worked weekends, and said Naughty Dog is notorious for this sort of thing, but in a leadership position, you have to work even more.
A lot of the team was there. I mean, Naughty Dog is pretty notorious for the amount of crunch, but obviously in a leadership role you try and do even more. You may not be hands-on with the game as much, but you’re writing, you’re reviewing stuff. Maybe you’re working with the composer, reviewing the music, giving them notes. It’s like being a film director.
She also added that AAA games is not worth having this kind of lifestyle, as there were many developers who would see their families very less often, and some even got divorced because of it.
Former Uncharted director also added that the developers make games to touch other people in some way, which is the main reason they work hard but sometimes all this hard work can cause some “destructive outcomes”.
Amy Hennig is currently working at Visceral Games as a creative director for the upcoming Star Wars game.