Fortnite: Battle Royale‘s success had a price. The developers themselves talk about it…
Polygon published a detailed article with former and current Epic employees and contractors, and their comments do not paint an entirely positive view of Tim Sweeney‘s company. „I was working at least 12-hour days, seven days a week, for at least four or five months. A lot of that was having to stay at work till 3 or 4 in the morning,” one person said.
There were people who didn’t want to work during weekends, and when they missed a deadline, they got fired. Contractors knew that refusing work will lead to not extending their contract when their term ends. Someone added that the managers either ignored the work time-related complaints, or they just threatened the employees to be fired.
„It’s killing people. Something has to change. I can’t see how we can go on like this for another year. At first, it was fine, because Fortnite was a big success and that felt good. We were solving problems that were new for Epic: how to run a big, global game as an online service. But now the workload is just endless,” another person said. Fortnite‘s success has caught Epic Games off guard: before it, they got roughly 20-30 daily player complaints or questions, but now it’s roughly 3000/day, which is why the headcount has been doubled, external studios help with the workload, and multiple teams work in parallel to make the situation easier.
The problem is that people were hired and trained too fast, and the leadership has not managed Fortnite, or its live service game model properly. „The executives keep reacting and changing things. Everything has to be done immediately. We’re not allowed to spend time on anything. If something breaks – a weapon, say – then we can’t just turn it off and fix it with the next patch. It has to be fixed immediately, and all the while, we’re still working on next week’s patch. It’s brutal,” a source said.
„People are working very hard on Fortnite and other Epic efforts. Extreme situations such as 100-hour work weeks are incredibly rare, and in those instances, we seek to immediately remedy them to avoid recurrence,” an Epic spokesperson said.
So we hear from another team that the developers get heavy crunch times, and they get thrown away after being used or if they dare to oppose the leadership. The gaming industry starts to cross the line, doesn’t it?