A Sega war on crunch time has caused it to cut its long overtime hours by 80%. Long overtime hours are noted by employees working over 100 overtime hours in a given week. This news comes after Rockstar Games employees were allegedly working 100-hour weeks to finish Red Dead Redemption 2, which sparked controversy.
Crunch time is a term in game deelopment where developers work long hours in the final stages of a game’s development to make sure that it’s ready, with extremely long hours causing them to work far into the night and even into the next day, and often barely able to get any sleep or possibility of food before they have to go in again.
The recent story on how long Rockstar employees have been working on Red Dead Redemption 2 has reignited a huge controversy on how game developers are treated in terms of development, especially in terms of Triple-A games. Crunch time, as said above, often leads to increased stress, health issues, and a decrease in productivity due to tiredness among employees. While Rockstar had a semi-explanation, saying that several particularly dedicated higher-ups were the ones making up the huge amounts of overtime, that wasn’t enough for many people.
Sega’s war on crunch time first started in 2013 and the company hopes to have completely eliminated long overtime hours by 2020, though so far the initiative is only being implemented in four different Sega subsidiaries: Sega Games, Sega Entertainment, TMS Animation, and Sega Toys. The focus of the initiative is to allow a better work-life balance for employees, and they have produced substantial results.
Hopefully the Sega war on crunch time will inspire other studios to begin doing the same, and hopefully gamers will understand if their games take a little longer to come out while employees are able to spend time with their families, get a full night’s sleep, and actually be able to eat.