It’s not just crunch – Naughty Dog isn’t such a good boy

It looks like Naughty Dog is in pretty hot water this week!

After an insightful and deep dive into the company’s problematic crunch culture by Jason Schreier earlier this week, Naughty Dog doesn’t look like a great working environment, but it looks like there’s even more to say about the company than first meets the eye.

The Last of Us II/ Naughty Dog/ Sony

Schreier spoke at length in the article (which is definitely worth a read) about the negative environment of perfection at the company, where results were pursued regardless of the “human cost”, sacrificing the personal lives and relationships of their team to “the altar of the game”.

It’s a pretty awful look into the ever-more common crunch periods that many studios have adopted, with developers and designers working long weeks filled with 12-hour days”, but it looks like the company is also not keen on keeping on staff.

Addressing the recent comments in a Twitter feed, former animator Jonathan Cooper suggested that the company is far from what it used to be, with the company churning out workers and unable to hire seasoned animators due to “their reputation for crunch”.

This means that games like The Last of Us II are taking far longer than ideal with the studio not interested in “talent-retention”, instead utilising contract work to bring in swathes of “juniors to make up for the attrition of key roles”.

It’s a shame to see the studio going down the same path as many in the modern era, but at the same time, it’s great to see people like Schreier and Cooper speaking about what they’ve seen and heard in order to make the public more aware of the negative practises.

Personally, whilst I’m excited for The Last of Us II, I would always put the life and happiness of a person above the title, and would be happy for the game to take much longer if it meant that people were treated correctly in the workplace.

What do you think about the situation in the gaming industry?

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