Game Devs Can Burn Out: Has It Become The Gaming Industry’s Primary Threat?

Josh Sawyer, design director at Obsidian (Fallout: New Vegas, Pillars of Eternity), has pointed out that the problem in the game industry today is not crunch, but something else.


Crunch is especially common in the creative industries, where there is a lot of overtime over a long period of time to meet a deadline (which can sometimes be useful when it comes to passion projects). But it’s not the only problem in the gaming industry. Sawyer wrote on Twitter that burnout is now the number one threat because management is setting teams up to fail, and a byproduct of that is that developers are being figuratively ground up. Sawyer has suffered from it, and he’s not kidding.

Burnout is a condition in which our bodies are completely exhausted as a result of prolonged stress. Not only can our immune systems be compromised, not only can our blood pressure rise, not only can our weight change, but we can be sleep deprived and take months to recover. According to Sawyer, it is likely that managers recognize that these conditions can lead to burnout but are not taking a single step to change them, and it is important that developers talk to each other and support each other to put collective pressure on management to make a change.

Other people responded to Sawyer’s tweet, with Jorge Murillo, who was previously a senior designer at Blizzard and worked on the unrealized PvE mode for Overwatch 2, writing that he’d been working on it for years, and while it wasn’t overtime, it was demotivating to have the rug pulled out from under him after all this time, asking “what was the point of all this? Nathaniel Chapman, who has worked as a designer at Blizzard and Obsidian, added that working slowly on something you don’t believe in is ten times more soul-crushing than working overtime on something you do believe in.

They’re all right: if there’s a question of what’s the point of doing something, you’re just going to do the bare minimum.

Source: PCGamer,

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