Sounds Like Naughty Dog’s Uncharted Crunch Was Brutal

Illustration for article titled Sounds Like Naughty Dog’s Uncharted Crunch Was Brutal

Crunch, or the process of video game developers working very long hours for a very long time, is a big problem. I mean, look at your job: can you imagine working 80 hours a week, every week, for over ten years? Because that’s what former Uncharted writer and director Amy Hennig did.

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In an interview on the Idle Thumbs podcast (via GI.biz), Hennig, who is now with EA, talks about the “unsustainable” business model AAA games development is built upon, and the toll it takes on the individual humans responsible for putting your electronic entertainment together.

After mentioning the stresses Naughty Dog faced between the release of Uncharted 2 and 3, when the studio ramped up and split into two teams to accommodate development on The Last Of Us, Hennig says she took almost no time off over a decade’s work.

“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, ‘OK let’s take a couple of days off’, but I pretty much worked seven days a week, at least 12 hours a day.”

Just in case you think that’s only Hennig and other top positions on the team, she adds that “A lot of [Naughty Dog]” worked similar hours. “I mean, Naughty Dog is pretty notorious for the amount of crunch, but obviously in a leadership role you try and do even more.”

I don’t care how much you love your job. That ain’t right.

Luke Plunkett is a Senior Editor based in Canberra, Australia. He has written a book on cosplay, designed a game about airplanes, and also runs cosplay.kotaku.com.

DISCUSSION

alexanderstream
Alexander Stream

I feel like it depends, if I really loved my job and made a lot of money doing it then I probably wouldn’t mind it. I work a lot as it is, half of it is my regular job as a biomedical research and half of it is as a music producer. I don’t make a lot of money doing either, and I think I would be quite happy pushing long hours if I also had a big monetary gain from it, as I do love both of my fields.