View Full Version : Employee Working Conditions

10-15-2018, 07:05 PM
I'm really loving the game, but the more I play the more I see just how much there is to do, the more I wonder about the working conditions for making a game like this.

Today's news that Rockstar has been making people pull 100-hour weeks to finish Red Dead Redemption 2 makes me want to hear from Ubisoft Quebec about the working conditions for making this game.

I love Odyssey, but I don't want to support exploitative working conditions, something that's become all too common in tech.

Does anyone know of any word from Ubisoft about this?

Ubisoft, if you're reading this, could you please clarify what's expected of your employees and how they're compensated? Reading through reviews on sites like GlassDoor hasn't been very reassuring as it seems many low level employees are underpaid and treated poorly.

I wanna give the benefit of the doubt and believe that Odyssey that the large team behind Odyssey were all treated well and fairly during it's development, but this is a massive game to come from just three years development and without word from the company or team I can't help wondering what it was like to make this thing.

On the other hand, if conditions were in fact good and people were treated well, I would love to know because this would be a model game to show off what can be accomplished while still treating your employees fairly and compensating them well for their work.

10-15-2018, 07:13 PM
Game companies make tonnes of money, especially when they exploit their employees (software developers, graphic designers, sound engineers etc.)... I don't know if it is true that Rockstar exploits its staff to finish RDR2 quickly, when they could have easily hired more devs to finish the game sooner without making people pull 100-hour weeks! There are so many unemployed people out there....

10-15-2018, 07:22 PM
Used to be that the world's were created rock by rock, tree by tree. It's not like that anymore. Most are computer generated, tweaked, then filled in with content. If not, they would take 5+ years easy to make.
Good example of the old ways is Star Citizen, it's the reason it's taking Years to get done.

10-16-2018, 01:27 AM
While it is true that most of the map was probably procedurally generated then tweaked, they still needed to create all the custom assets, write all the questlines, place all the enemies, tweak the enormous environments, run through EVERYTHING for balance and bug checking, and handle countless other components that can't be automated.

The bigger and more expensive games get the more incentive there will be for large publishers to exploit developers. The only way we as customers to support developers in this is to make it known that this is an issue we care about and that it matters to us that the people who make the games we love are treated well

10-16-2018, 01:30 AM
fake news. those staff choose to work 100 hour work weeks

10-16-2018, 01:34 AM
Lets give Rockstar the benefit of the doubt too. Even though the lead writer did say that some people worked 100 hour weeks, it wasn't because it was forced upon them. He explains that it was because of the passion that those people had for the project to make it perfect. I have yet to hear an employee come out to say they were forced to work these hours. Just like how Telltale employee's came out to complain about their lay off's, I'm sure if the work conditions were that bad someone would speak up....hopefully.

10-16-2018, 02:24 AM
Wish more people acted like they cared about the Staff - that's just to the ranting haters.
Carry on.

10-16-2018, 02:34 AM
The only way someone doesn't *choose* to work is when they're enslaved. I would hope we would all hold society and businesses to a higher standard than "No one's being enslaved".

If people don't cooperate during "crunch" times they can lose their job.

I'm grateful this game exists and it only exists because of the development team that made it. I think it's reasonable to show support and make noise that we care about the treatment of the people responsible for this game's existence.

10-16-2018, 03:12 AM
I doubt Ubisoft will comment on this, at least on the forums.

When I toured their Red Storm Studio and their CRC, most everyone seemed relaxed and happy with their jobs. The few close people I know at Ubi love their job.

10-16-2018, 11:32 AM
Why open offices in Singapore?

10-16-2018, 11:34 AM
fake news. those staff choose to work 100 hour work weeks
Yes they choose to not starve. They choose to be able to continue to feed their families.

10-16-2018, 11:44 AM
Get out the door and talk to people around you. The working conditions in the Western Hemisphere is eroding at a speed not imaginable.

It is popular to find a stick to hit with and today that are often games developers as if Westerners are a caring bunch that cares about anything unless it supports a dubious agenda!

10-16-2018, 01:49 PM
No one, and I mean no one wants to work 100 hr weeks. Even if you need the money, no one wants to work like that. Better pay, more employees is the right answer, but that's in a perfect world I guess.

10-29-2018, 08:23 PM
Here's a great article I found that interviews a few key members of the Odyssey team and talks about their process:

https://www.gamasutra.com/view/news/329130/Crunch_worklife_balance_and_Assassins_Creed_Odysse y_A_view_from_the_top.php

Too often we see developers in IT, not just game developers, get overworked with deadlines and unrealistic project timelines. I think that's often a symptom of the old school, waterfall methodology of development. For those who don't know, waterfall is basically the linear, sequential design approach. You finish one thing, then move to the next, and you have specific workloads and a set deadline from the beginning. It doesn't allow for much deviation from the original plan, and if something doesn't work you have to go back to square one and redo a bunch of things you already had "completed". Agile is much more flexible, with different teams simultaneously working on different pieces in short "sprints". Once each sprint is completed, the teams get together and evaluate what to do next. It's much more dynamic, allowing for rapid changes and flexibility, and it gives the dev teams a voice in how things are completed, what's realistic, and what their own workload is like.

As someone who's involved in the IT industry, it's great to see the culture and attitude they are building at Ubisoft. Agile is a great way to operate for large projects, and when the devs themselves have input to set their workload, it immensely helps prevent "crunches" and burnout. They also don't participate in the big hiring sprees at the beginning of development and the layoffs once the game is complete, instead giving their employees a chance to rest and then putting them on new projects. It's refreshing to see a game developer operate this way with so much in the news about the lack of work-life balance for game developers.