Fans and Industry Members Aren’t Laughing
NeocoreGames, the developer currently working on Warhammer 40,000 – Inquisitor: Martyr in collaboration with Games Workshop, is under fire for a recent joke about 90-hour work weeks. Earlier this week, in a Steam update stating that the game’s final release was delayed to June 5, Neocore producer Zoltán Pozsonyi said that the development team would work overtime to meet the deadline.
“Again, sorry for this as we kindly ask for your further patience and hopefully it won’t be a deal breaker for any of you,” Pozsonyi wrote. “In return, we promise we’ll push this extra three weeks in 90+ hours per week so it’ll be very-very useful for Martyr.”
Although later revealed to be a joke, many people spoke out against the comment and pointed to the reality of these kinds of workloads in an industry that still has a problem with excessive working hours during crunch time.
@NeocoreGames Please delay Inquisitor much further so that your employees can work normal human working hours and turn out a good product.
Crunch is awful, will result in a poor product and harms people.
— Andrew Dice (@SpaceDrakeCF) April 19, 2018
Josh Sawyer, the director of Pillars of Eternity and Fallout: New Vegas, also put in his two-cents.
90 hour work weeks are truly unproductive and dumb. the WH40K inquisitor team should not be subjected to them.
— Josh Sawyer 🚲 Reboot Develop (@jesawyer) April 19, 2018
After the backlash, NeocoreGames’ PR manager Gergo Vas told Kotaku that the post was a joke. “The line about starting to put 90+ hours per week to finish the game was a joke,” he said, “that was sadly misunderstood and blown out of proportion.”
Unfortunately for NeocoreGames, it looks like many people’s perceptions of the development company has suffered. Even The International Game Developers’ Association (IDGA) made a statement addressing the joke.
90 hour work weeks aren’t funny. They’re abuse. And they have no place in game development. Not as a plan. Not as a last resort. Not as a threat. Not as a joke.
— International Game Developers Association (IGDA) (@IGDA) April 20, 2018
It doesn’t help that NeocoreGames has made similar statements in the past and never addressed them as jokes.
“We’ll release this patch even if the whole company has to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the office,” Pozsonyi said on Steam in regards to missing a November 2017 update. “We still have tons of work to do, and many of us are already pulling 80+ hour weeks, as it usually goes during crunch time,” he wrote during another March update.
The studio is currently trying to mend the potential damage done to their reputation.