The Callisto Protocol and crunch: anything but passion, shouldn’t we learn from Insomniac?

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A few days ago Glen Schofieldthe director of The Callisto Protocolexplained that to close the game on schedule it was necessary to resort to the crunchi.e. periods of overtime in which the development team was forced to work 12-15 hour shifts 6-7 days a week.

Schofield, instead of committing to improve the organization of his studio to reduce the crunch for the next projects, made the Briatore of the situation and brought up passion, flattering the classic rhetoric of hard work, which usually suits who gains, and unleashing some frankly questionable sentences:

We are working 6 – 7 days a week, nobody is forcing us. Exhaustion, tiredness, Covid, but we are working. Days from 12 – 15 hours. This is gaming. Hard work. You do it because you love it.

Now, if there were no development studios like Insomniac who, in the face of mammoth projects, are able to manage them without a crunch and if there weren’t virtuous examples of backward steps, such as those of Naughty Dog or Rockstar Games, whose production levels are among the highest in the industry (just to mention names), who in recent years have put a great deal of effort into reorganizing their work precisely to avoid certain excesses, Schofield’s speech could also have taken root a little more.

Unfortunately for him this way to justify what is simply one abnormal exploitation of human resources and which over the years has caused major problems for the industry, burning talent after talent who have preferred to migrate elsewhere rather than having to develop another video game with exhausting shifts, is less and less acceptable.

You can’t solve the problem overnight, certainly, but continue to exalt it by talking about passion, when most developers are simply an employee of a larger reality, a piece of a gigantic production that will earn their salary and that’s it. appears at least out of place, if not wrong. After all, what does Schofield know about the passion of his collaborators? Can you really assume that all the hundreds of people who have worked on The Callisto Protocol are so passionate about the project that they have happily endured certain deprivations, often harmful to their private lives and personal health, just to get to the launch on time ? Isn’t it more probable that many have swallowed the bitter pill and carried on, as happened in many other similar cases?

Let’s talk about it is a daily opinion column that offers a starting point for discussion around the news of the day, a small editorial written by a member of the editorial staff but which is not necessarily representative of the editorial line of

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