Over the past week, three media articles have been published with reports from former studio workers revealing a culture of exploration, with one of the employees busting with Games Industry who came to work 115 hours a week. “
“I was working weeks of 90 hours for four months without a day off,” said the former employee who worked during Injustice production in 2013. “This included Saturdays and Sundays. the week was 115 hours.
This is not an isolated case. While overtime varies from department to department – design, programming, and QA areas are reported to be the most affected – there are other reports of former employees reporting weeks with 100 hours of work in the months prior to the release of Mortal Kombat X and Injustice 2.
Overtime – or crunching, the most commonly used term – is expected in the NetherRealm, workers point out. There is no one to force employees to work overtime, but there are deadlines and excessive workloads. If they are not met, studio management can use this as an argument to dismiss.
“It was not a 100% thing, with a gun pointed at the head,” explained one of the officials. “It was a crafty thing to say, we’re not forcing anyone to do overtime. We’re not doing anything.”
“But you looked at planning and you knew how long things took to be done … They look at the amount of work that has to be done, and if not done, management has a reason to say goodbye.”
“It is a complicated maneuver in which they can acclaim innocence in the fact that they do not force anyone to do anything, but in reality, it is even coercion.”
“I was working weeks of 90 hours for four months without a day off”
The USGamer and PC Gamer articles also denounce exploiting short-term contracts. These contracts, usually lasting 9 months, had low wages (allegedly $ 11 per hour) and because of this, there were people willing to do the overtime to raise the salary by the end of the month.
“We were second-class citizens and this became clear in a number of small ways,” said one of the former employees, accusing a supervisor of trying to make QA feel lucky for the extra pay resulting from overtime
“This money is good, but I have no life and I am working to death, so how much does this money really cost? I did not appreciate that from a supervisor who was not there as often as his subordinates.”
“This money is good, but I have no life and I am working to death”
People working with such contracts were also willing to work overtime to receive a full-time contract, but allegedly, this does not happen. After the contract expires, the studio contacts the same people after a few months and contracts them with an equal contract, thus avoiding being forced to offer the benefits of a permanent contract.
Both NetherRealm and Warner Bros. the allegations in the Articles have not yet been answered.