Polygon's investigation into the working conditions of Fortnite developers visibly motivated NetherRealm Studios to make their voices heard:
On Twitter, James Longstreet has decided to express himself openly in response to Polygon's article:
"There is so, so much in this article that i can Identify with, except the "bonuses worth three times your salary"
I hardly sleep. I’m grumpy at home. I have no energy to go out. Getting a weekend away from work is a major achievement. If I take a Saturday off, I feel guilty. I’m not being forced to work this way, but if I don’t, then the job won’t get done.
It's been 8 years, and they've made it clear to me that I'm persona non grata there anyway so, fuck it: working at NetherRealm on MK9 nearly killed me. I didn't sleep more than 4 hours for months. from january to april 2011 i was at work more than half of the time. In the past 3 years, i had gotten a 1% raise and no bonuses. it was made very clear that everyone was required to crunch.
On MK9, crunch officially began after new years day 2011. of course, we did a bit of pre-crunch before that, just to make sure we were in a good spot for crunch. this was on schedule documents. this was not a wink-wink-nudge-nudge "passionate hardworking" thing, this was mandate. I took one day off between jan 1 and the day the day1 patch was approved. it was my birthday, and it was on a sunday, so it was ok if i was just on call. i was allowed to go to a friends' wedding (on call of course) on a saturday night, after working an 8 hour shift first. Those were the only two days i didn't work from at least 10 am to at least midnight. we were all doing this. i mean, except the bosses, of course, who would leave after dinner.
The whole time the old hats talked about how this was the easiest crunch ever. i hadn't done laundry in weeks. if i had stayed at NRS i definitely wouldn't be married.
The MK team's stance is that crunch works, and MK games are always profitable, so it's clearly the right thing to do. it's wrong -- crunch doesn't work, the workers don't see the profit (bonuses at WB games are capped to a small percentage of salary), and it ruins lives. From what i've heard the crunch cycle has gotten worse since i've left. a friend i talked to in september said they were crunching already. they hire as many contractors and interns as they can, pay them shit (much less than I started at 12 years ago) and work them to death
Isaac Torres, QA tester:
"I crunches for four months in a row. I regularly did 90 to 100 hours working every day. I literally did not live for several months. I went to work at 9 or 10 o'clock, and I left at 2 or 3 o'clock in the morning. I am sure I have aged 20 years in this four month period"
Still on Twitter, Beck Hallstedt, who also contributed to Injustice 2 on a short-term contract, reacted harder by stating that NetherRealm's "predatory" and "abusive" practices must be highlighted in the same way that Riot, Epic and Telltale have been in recent months. According to her, Ed Boon's studio relies heavily on "temporary" workers, with very short-term contracts renewable to the minimum wage, or almost, and who are constantly promised a more stable situation "after the next contract ". Rebecca Rothschild, a former QA analyst on Injustice 2 and Mortal Kombat X, corroborated this information. At PC Gamer, she also mentions 100-hour weeks that can span several months as they approach important deadlines, and most importantly, the low pay of these many hours of work paid $ 12 an hour for men. , $ 11 for women. In the state of Illinois, where NetherRealm Studios (Chicago) is located, the minimum wage is $ 8.25 per hour.
Rebecca Rothschild, employee from 2014 to 2016:
We were citizens of "second class". A supervisor was trying to make the QA understand that we were lucky for this additional pay. This money is good, but if I do not have a life and I work at death, what does it bring me?
Beck Hallstedt, former employee:
During my second or third week of work, a new "temporary" employee sat next to me and was setting up his workstation. The first thing we said to him was "ready to die from the crunch? .
The position of Warner Bros. is that the crunch works because their games are always profitable, so it's the right thing to do. The crunch does not work, the workers do not see the profit, the bonuses at Warner Bros. Games are limited to a small percentage of salary, and it ruins lives.
These former employees also describe a toxic work environment, where certain principles of common life are flouted: sexism, crowded offices, harassment ... Two former employees have tried to denounce the situation with the US Commission for Equal Opportunities. employment opportunities, to no avail. According to Beck Hallstedt, by accepting these practices, NetherRealm would be abusing its position as the only AAA studio in the city of Chicago, to which all graduates naturally turn
James Longstreet on Twitter
PC Gamers interview
Beck Hallstedt on Twitter
Rebecca Rothschild on Twitter