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This Week in Games - The Uncomfortable Crunch


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Northlander



Joined: 10 Feb 2009
Posts: 693
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 11:29 am Reply with quote
So... the Johnny Turbo game isn't about punching Feka goons in the face or letting them dangle? Well, now I'm disappointed.
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russ869



Joined: 22 Dec 2006
Posts: 327
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:11 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
“crunch is bad and needs to stop.”

Huh? Isn't that kind of a delusional and uninformed statement from a business perspective? What product-based industry doesn't have "crunch" time? Mine certainly does, but nobody's outraged about it or saying there needs to be a "revolution." You can't expect a job to be smooth sailing all the time. If you don't make at least some deadline then your window for making a profit will eventually pass you by. But at the same time, I completely agree that companies sometimes set absurd deadlines that wind up completely crippling their product and asking the impossible of their employees. That's what really needs to stop. But what are you going to do? You can't outlaw stupid managers. I guess the concern here is if people still buy half-finished games that nearly killed the development team to even get them to that point, then there is no incentive for game company management to change how they do business.

Why anybody buys new games nowadays is beyond me. Most aren't even playable or worth playing until at least a year's worth of patches, updates, and DLC.
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AiddonValentine



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 1421
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:25 pm Reply with quote
-SCVI: Yeah, Create a Soul is pretty nuts even with people claiming a lack of parts. I actually managed to make an eerily accurate Lenneth Valkyrie. Overall the game is a vast improvement over V, especially when it comes to single player content.

-Smash: I'll wait until the next Direct

-Rockstar: This can be summed up thusly: Rockstar are now the weenie villains they claim to satirize.

-Yakuza 4: Physical copies of Yakuza 4 are now collector's items
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belvadeer



Joined: 11 Jun 2006
Posts: 4604
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 12:45 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
These work cultures grind the passion and enthusiasm out of talented people, and it's a shame: there are undoubtedly some creative geniuses that could go on to make amazing things if they didn't grow to hate what they were doing thanks to absurd expectations and deadlines.


The eternal problem plaguing all creative outlets: Everything costs money and money makes the world go round. If a product doesn't make a profit for the company, then it simply won't exist. And making it on your own as an artist of any form of media is a very thorny, often impossible, road.

Yakuza 4's Rerelease:

Quote:
Well, the character of Masayoshi Tanimura, the biracial cop, was originally based on Japanese actor Hiroki Narimiya. Narimiya "retired" from acting a few years back, mostly because of strong rumors that he was hitting cocaine. And, well -- once you're suspected of drug use, your days in the biz are numbered.


Which is utter bull since Narimiya was found clean, so he quit for nothing. His former company tried to convince him to stay, but he insisted on quitting to avoid "causing trouble" for everyone else there. I feel bad for him. I wonder what he's doing now. I'm not endorsing bad behavior or anything, but I think Japan treats mere accusations of any crime a little too strictly. Simply being accused of something is enough for everyone to pretend you don't exist, because you're seen as a negative element that will "disrupt society's balance". That's my outside observation though.


Last edited by belvadeer on Thu Oct 25, 2018 5:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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pikabot



Joined: 19 Nov 2014
Posts: 97
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:18 pm Reply with quote
russ869 wrote:
Quote:
“crunch is bad and needs to stop.”

Huh? Isn't that kind of a delusional and uninformed statement from a business perspective? What product-based industry doesn't have "crunch" time?


‘Crunch’ in the context of game development has a very specific meaning. It’s not just a period of extra work before a deadline, it’s making employees work 70-80 hour weeks, or constantly working lesser but still significant overtime. This overtime is often not compensated.

And yeah, it does need to end, because it’s not just bad for the employees, it’s also stupid and counterproductive. You don’t get any more actual work done on crunch time; in fact, at the upper end, you actually get LESS work done than you would with a 40-hour work week. Study after study has confirmed this. You can temporarily boost productivity with a 50-60 hour overtime week now and then, but going beyond that, or trying to sustain that as a regular working pace, results in no gain in productivity.
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Zin5ki
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Joined: 06 Jan 2008
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Location: London, UK
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:18 pm Reply with quote
It is hard to avoid the conclusion that when one supports games produced through exploitation, one is an unknowing accessory to the act in the moral sense. If a big game studio cannot be profitable without overworking its employees, we might question why we allow it to exist in its current form. There are certainly other ways for the software industry to manifest.
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BodaciousSpacePirate
It's Over 9000!It's Over 9000!


Joined: 17 Apr 2015
Posts: 2482
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 2:48 pm Reply with quote
russ869 wrote:
But what are you going to do? You can't outlaw stupid managers.


Don't buy from companies that have a documented history of stupid managers, I guess. For example, if I found out that the company that makes Magic: the Gathering cards expected their employees to work 80 hours a week in the month leading up to each expansion's release, I probably wouldn't play that game anymore.
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Aca Vuksa



Joined: 22 Mar 2018
Posts: 218
Location: Nis, Serbia
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:02 pm Reply with quote
Did this person even forgotted about new Meltan's evolved form for Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee? He should write about this in the next column.
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Chester McCool



Joined: 06 Jan 2016
Posts: 308
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 3:58 pm Reply with quote
BodaciousSpacePirate wrote:
Don't buy from companies that have a documented history of stupid managers, I guess. For example, if I found out that the company that makes Magic: the Gathering cards expected their employees to work 80 hours a week in the month leading up to each expansion's release, I probably wouldn't play that game anymore.


Out of all the things you could boycott Wizards of the Coast for, that seems like one of the smallest issues.

Boycotts for working conditions aren't really viable. Pretty much every big company utilizes sweatshops or other kinds of terrible working conditions. There is no such thing as ethical consumerism. You just have to learn to ignore it or straight up not care.
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whiskeyii



Joined: 29 May 2013
Posts: 1534
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 5:02 pm Reply with quote
Chester McCool wrote:
Boycotts for working conditions aren't really viable.


While I don't quite agree with Chester's more laissez-faire approach, the bonuses (which compensate for the unpaid overtime) of Rockstar's employees are based on the game's sales, as detailed in the linked Kotaku article. So boycotting in this particular instance is far more likely to hurt those employees you're trying to help.
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BadNewsBlues



Joined: 21 Sep 2014
Posts: 3344
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 6:15 pm Reply with quote
Aca Vuksa wrote:
Did this person even forgotted about new Meltan's evolved form for Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee? He should write about this in the next column.


Pretty sure "Heidi" is a she.

russ869 wrote:


Why anybody buys new games nowadays is beyond me. Most aren't even playable or worth playing until at least a year's worth of patches, updates, and DLC.


.....But games back in the 80's and 90's were? unpatchable glitches and bugs be damned.
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AiddonValentine



Joined: 07 Aug 2006
Posts: 1421
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:50 pm Reply with quote
pikabot wrote:


‘Crunch’ in the context of game development has a very specific meaning. It’s not just a period of extra work before a deadline, it’s making employees work 70-80 hour weeks, or constantly working lesser but still significant overtime. This overtime is often not compensated.

And yeah, it does need to end, because it’s not just bad for the employees, it’s also stupid and counterproductive. You don’t get any more actual work done on crunch time; in fact, at the upper end, you actually get LESS work done than you would with a 40-hour work week. Study after study has confirmed this. You can temporarily boost productivity with a 50-60 hour overtime week now and then, but going beyond that, or trying to sustain that as a regular working pace, results in no gain in productivity.


Yeah, never-ending crunch that lasts months doesn't work. And it will never work no matter how many times companies double down on it. The only way I can really see this changing is through unionization
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Aca Vuksa



Joined: 22 Mar 2018
Posts: 218
Location: Nis, Serbia
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 4:17 am Reply with quote
BadNewsBlues wrote:
Aca Vuksa wrote:
Did this person even forgotted about new Meltan's evolved form for Pokemon Let's Go Pikachu/Eevee? He should write about this in the next column.


Pretty sure "Heidi" is a she.


Oh, i see. Sorry about that, i thought the writer of Column was a male. I didn't even know female gamers love male-oriented games too.
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BadNewsBlues



Joined: 21 Sep 2014
Posts: 3344
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2018 11:42 am Reply with quote
Quote:
Castlevania Requiem: Symphony of the Night and Rondo of Blood is hitting PS4, meaning you can buy SotN for the umpteenth time… and it doesn't have the classic voice acting.


Just because it's been meme'd to front and back doesn't make it classic at least not in a positive sense. Nor is it something worth treating as a big deal with it's exclusion.

Also the new model for Tanimura is off looking.
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Shaterri



Joined: 03 Jan 2008
Posts: 159
PostPosted: Sat Oct 27, 2018 10:48 am Reply with quote
Aca Vuksa wrote:

> Pretty sure "Heidi" is a she.

Oh, i see. Sorry about that, i thought the writer of Column was a male. I didn't even know female gamers love male-oriented games too.


I'm not sure which of these games you think is particularly male-oriented (though I suppose you could make a decent case for the DoA series), but yes, it turns out that women like all sorts of things, and one of the best ways of learning this is to help them in feeling comfortable talking about the things they like. And one good way of doing that is by trying not to assume that only men are into any given hobby or even subculture.
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