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November 25, 2005



I dunno, call me old fashioned, but getting up, going to work, working on the project for the time that you are at the office, then leaving was how business worked, not taking 3 hours off in the middle of the day to play counterstrike.

Charlie Tangora

Well, but there are other anti-crunch success stories.

I have this suspicion that crunch is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Work expands to fill the time available for it - if you're thinking, at the beginning of a project, "Well, it's not that important right now, we can always crunch like madmen," it's guaranteed to happen. Oh, I know you're not thinking those exact words, but it's in the back of your head, always, that you have a little more time than you appear to, that the deadlines aren't really real. You don't worry as much when you miss a milestone, you feel like you can take three hours in the middle of the day to play Counterstrike and then stay three hours later...

I'd really like to see some games studio do what Studio Ghibli in Japan does - every night at midnight, security comes around, throws everyone out of the building, and then locks the doors 'till the next morning. Not even the studio head gets to stay in all night. (Although I'd like to see the cutoff be even earlier than midnight.) I think, if you managed to have an attitude that "if this feature's not done by 6 PM on Friday, it's not going in the game, and that'll be just too bad," and really mean it, a surprising amount of stuff would actually get done, and in a more disciplined fashion.


Almost any company with any sort of minimum level of professionalism and talent (ie, employees show up to work every weekday and can code their way out of a paper bag) could ship these titles with low defects, etc. The only product that they seem to have made that's not a port is a quiz show game - barely even interactive. Whoop-de-do, I localized my quiz show game and so I've got 27 skus. Drawing conclusions about the effectiveness of their work culture from this data is meaningless. They seem to think they could make a GTA-level game the same way...talk is cheap.

Still I actually agree with their 9-5 thing. Maybe they should try to make a GTA-level AAA title and see how it works out. The banning the internet thing is more short-sighted...really effective employees motivate and regulate themselves, as was noted previously. Do you want the kind of employees who need their hands held like this? Perhaps you should also be keeping an eye on non-work-related chatting and excessive bathroom breaks. If someone is not productive, get rid of them. If someone is, why worry about their web browser?

As the poster noted, however, in terms of business model they are wise to not worry about making "big" games and just ship their simple little "toy" games and probably make good, safe money.

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Jamie's Bragging Rights

  • Spider-Man 2
    The best superhero games of all time Game Informer
    Top five games of all time Yahtzee Croshaw
    Top five superhero games of all time MSNBC
    Top 100 PS2 games of all time Official Playstation 2 Magazine
    1001 Games You Must Play Before You Die Nomination for Excellence in Gameplay Engineering Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences
  • Schizoid
    Penny Arcade PAX 10 Award
    Nominated for XBLA Best Original Game
    Nominated for XBLA Best Co-Op Game