Coinciding with the announcement of the release date of LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, which will be released on April 5 on PS5, Xbox Series X/S, PS4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch, a series of complaints have come to light about crunch during game development. Have been more than 30 employees and former employees of TT Games, the company responsible for the project, who have told Polygon situations of labor abuse, forced overtime and veiled threats by those in charge of development.
According to these people, the crunch at TT Games it has not been a specific issue related to this ambitious video game, which will have 300 playable characters and will review the nine Star Wars movies, but apparently it is something intrinsic to the company’s philosophy: “It was not an emergency protocol for when things went wrong, but a production tool; the projects were planned with periods of crunch on the schedule, and in the worst case the crunch was the schedule,” says one of the workers. In the last twelve months 40 people have left their post, 10% of the total number of employees.
In the lengthy Polygon article there are statements that reflect a toxic work culture: 80-100 hour work weeks, low wages, wage gap, unrealistic delivery times and, in general, the usual culture of crunch. Some employees even talk about veiled threats in which those in charge told them that “if people don’t start putting in overtime there will be problems”, although it was assumed that working more than what was established was something voluntary and paid. It should be remembered that LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, that has been in development for five years, has been delayed several times until it has finally set its launch in the spring of this year.
Improvements in conditions have recently been achieved
TT Games, company owned by Warner Bros. and responsible for most of the games of LEGO that we see in the market, has issued a statement in response to the article assuring that they are committed “to creating a respectful, fair and inclusive workplace for all employees” and that they have gone to great lengths to “foster a collaborative culture and work-life balance that our employees can be proud“.
The article also cites certain condition improvements that would have occurred after an emergency meeting during the development of LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, What more vacations and a better economic bonus at the end of the year, the commitment to replace the company’s criticized graphics engine with Unreal Engine for its next project and the departure of certain people who made up the most veteran part of the company. also overtime has been limited and their remuneration has been improved.