Striking Distance CEO and The Callisto Protocol director Glen Schofield has walked back a tweet appearing to glorify crunch culture after it received backlash online.
It’s since been deleted, but was screenshotted (opens in new tab) and uploaded to Twitter by Bloomberg journalist Jason Schreier. “We are working 6-7 days a week, nobody’s forcing us. Exhaustion, tired, Covid but we’re working,” Schofield’s tweet read. “Bugs, glitches, perf fixes. 1 last pass through audio. 12-15hr days. This is gaming. Hard work. Lunch, dinner working. You do it ’cause you love it.”
Schreier pointed out how the whole thing stank like crunch, calling it “weaponised passion” and adding “this is why people burn out of gaming.” Other industry figures chimed in too: Firaxis narrative lead Cat Manning called crunch (opens in new tab) “a failure of project management,” while Metal: Hellsinger creator David Goldfarb remarked (opens in new tab) how it’s “sad that this shit continues even now.”
Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about the people I work with. Earlier I tweeted how proud I was of the effort and hours the team was putting in. That was wrong. We value passion and creativity, not long hours. I’m sorry to the team for coming across like this.September 3, 2022
The backlash was enough to make Schofield delete his tweet and issue a sort-of apology in a follow-up. “Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about the people I work with,” he said. “Earlier I tweeted how proud I was of the effort and hours the team was putting in. That was wrong. We value passion and creativity, not long hours. I’m sorry to the team for coming across like this.”
It’s a real bummer to know The Callisto Protocol is being made in such conditions—after all, I was really impressed with what I saw of it at Gamescom, quickly becoming one of my most anticipated releases. Unsustainable work hours and an environment ripe for burnout do sour those feelings rather a lot.
Just this year alone we’ve seen the impact crunch can have on the people working hard to push a game out. Reports for both Fallout: 76 (opens in new tab) and Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (opens in new tab) were published this year detailing the gruelling culture staff were put through. Some studios are trying to learn from their past mistakes, like CDPR’s desire for a crunchless development (opens in new tab) on the new Witcher game, but it remains a sad reality for too many developers at the coalface.