Naughty Dog Vows to End Crunch Culture: A Positive Step Towards Employee Well-being

Learn how Naughty Dog, the game development studio behind popular titles like Uncharted and The Last Of Us Part 2, is taking a stand against the notorious crunch culture. Discover their efforts to eliminate long periods of overtime and prioritize the well-being of their employees. With a focus on education, improved production processes, and a commitment to ending crunch, Naughty Dog is paving the way for a healthier work environment in the gaming industry.

Naughty Dog’s Pledge to End Crunch Culture

Naughty Dog, the game development studio known for titles like Uncharted and The Last Of Us Part 2, has recently made a significant commitment to end its notorious crunch culture. This practice, which involves long periods of overtime, has had negative effects on the well-being of employees. However, Naughty Dog is taking steps to prioritize the health and personal lives of its team members.

Naughty Dog Vows to End Crunch Culture: A Positive Step Towards Employee Well-being - 1902192642

( Credit: Gamesradar )

In a documentary released by Naughty Dog, the making of The Last Of Us Part 2 was discussed, shedding light on the intense working conditions that developers faced. Previous reports had highlighted how employees would work long hours, including weekends, often neglecting their health and personal lives due to the studio’s perfectionist expectations. This type of crunch culture not only leads to difficulties in production cycles but also causes burnout among developers, with many leaving the industry for good.

Acknowledging the Impact of Crunch

The documentary addresses the issue of crunch, but it appears hesitant to delve into the extent of its damaging effects. It does mention that the studio started offering free dinners to encourage employees to stay late, a common practice in crunch culture. However, Naughty Dog claims that these dinners were introduced because they anticipated that people would want to work overtime, rather than as a response to excessive hours.

The documentary also reveals that the studio made efforts to address crunch during the early stages of The Last Of Us Part 2. They had a proper pre-production period where the story was finalized before production began. While these improvements allowed for the creation of a bigger game, crunch was still present.

Naughty Dog’s Commitment to Change

Naughty Dog is now determined to eliminate crunch altogether. The first step was defining what crunch means internally and addressing the issues that arose during the post-mortem report of The Last Of Us Part 2. The studio is focusing on educating new hires about the negative effects of crunch and has removed the practice of “crunch dinners.” They also regularly send out questionnaires to developers to address any concerns related to crunch. The implementation of hybrid working and a more robust production department has also been beneficial, according to some developers featured in the documentary.

The success of these new strategies will only be known when the studio releases its upcoming single-player projects. However, there is some encouraging news, as one developer claimed that The Last Of Us Part 1 remake was made without crunch.

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