Another week, another team gets exposed for crunching the developers. This time, it’s NetherRealm Studios (NRS).
„I hardly sleep. I’m grumpy at home. I have no energy to go out. Getting a weekend away from work is a major achievement. If I take a Saturday off, I feel guilty. I’m not being forced to work this way, but if I don’t, then the job won’t get done. It’s been 8 years, and they’ve made it clear to me that I’m persona non grata there anyway so, f_ck it: working at NetherRealm on Mortal Kombat 9 nearly killed me. I didn’t sleep for more than 4 hours for months. From January to April 2011, I was at work more than half of the time,” James Longstreet, a former software engineer at NRS for two years, said on Twitter.
„This might get my ass blacklisted, but I want to talk about the ridiculous amount of experiences I had/saw at NetherRealm for the short five months that I was there. NRS needs to be exposed for predatory and abusive behaviours in the same ways that Riot Games, Epic Games, and Telltale Games have. I sat with all the other contract artists in a back room that was stuffed with workstations so they could fit as many temporary people as possible. It was a daily occurrence to hear full-time working people talk about how many contractors were cramped into that room during crunch cycle. [During] my second or third week of work, a new temporary environment artist sat down next to me and was working on getting his desk set up. The first thing that an FT person said to him was “ready to die from crunch?” I will never forget that. I and most other contractors, some of the most talented junior-level workers that games have to offer, worked at $12/hour to work on a AAA game… unless you were a woman like me, we got $11/hour. Because of this, NRS’s contractors need overtime to survive. they need the time-and-a-half pay to make rent. Much of the best talent in Chicago is paid so little that they go into credit card debt to buy food and seek out 60+ hour weeks to pay their bills. I know women that were not included in scrum meetings because they were “distracting” for the guys,” Beck Hallstedt, a former contractor concept artist on Injustice 2, explained in multiple tweets.
„I worked as a contractor at NRS and can confirm everything @beckhallstedt has laid out here. Lots of amazing people work at NRS, but there are serious, systemic issues that need to be addressed,” Rebecca Rothschild, a former QA analyst confirmed on Twitter.
„I crunched for about 4 months straight… I was regularly doing 90-100 hour weeks and worked every single day. I was tired all the time. It took me about 30-45 mins to get home since I had to take a bus. But I know someone who stayed on the couch in the office to not risk falling asleep while driving. I literally had no life for several months. There just wasn?t time. I would get to work at 9 or 10 AM. I would leave at 2-3 AM. And then that process would mostly repeat itself. Honestly, I have no clue how I did it. I’m pretty sure I aged 20 years in the span of three months,” Isaac Torres, a former QA tester who is now a designer at Iron Galaxy, added. Of course, nor NRS, neither Warner, commented.
After this, it’s hard to defend NetherRealm – previously, we wrote about how much money is needed if someone wanted to buy all costumes. Now, they wrote on Reddit that they will modify the Towers of Time game mode, as the players find it highly unfair. They will give out 500,000 Koins, 500 Hearts, 1000 Soul Fragments, and 1000 Time Krystals to help players. They will also reduce the AI difficulty (they can fire projectiles at the players for example…), and increase the rewards. The patch is planned to launch in a few days on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The PC version already got it, and the Nintendo Switch will get it along with another patch (that will improve the stability of the game).
Mortal Kombat 11 sold the most on PlayStation 4 in the United Kingdom with the retail sales. The PS4 took 73% of the sales.
Source: DualShockers, DualShockers, Gamesindustry