A look at how big budget game developers outsource crunch
When Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red promised none of its employees would have to work overtime to get the game done, did this also apply to the many developers working on parts of the game at its support studios?
As far as Cyberpunk is confirmed, well, that point is now all moot. But it’s an interesting question, and as pretty much every big budget game employs support studios, it’s a topic well worth exploring.
This month, Chris Bratt (who?) does just that in the latest video from the Patreon-funded People Make Games. In it, we hear from young developers working unpaid overtime on numerous big AAA projects, in support studios based in Malaysia and Indonesia.
There are tales of 70-hour weeks and employers cutting corners when it comes to overtime pay and time off in compensation for working public holidays, and of fresh graduates putting up with poor conditions for the hope of a better gig in the future. Another interesting point is that even if one outsourcing studio says they won’t let crunch happen, another will just swoop in and snap up their projects, promising them done quicker or cheaper.
It’s a topic to keep in mind, the next time a studio does commit to no crunch. Does their pledge apply to every developer working on their project, or has their crunch just been outsourced?