Over the past year or so, we’ve heard a number of harrowing stories revolving around working conditions in the video games industry. From Rockstar to BioWare, Epic Games and beyond, numerous accounts of crunch and harassment have often accompanied AAA releases, and they only seem to be increasing.
Mortal Kombat developer, NetherRealm Studios, is the latest company to come under fire for questionable management practices, severe crunch, and harassment among other allegations.
“I crunched for about four months straight,” former QA tester, Isaac Torres, told PC Gamer. “I was regularly doing 90-100 hour weeks and worked every single day. I know someone who stayed on the couch in the office to not risk falling asleep while driving.”
The crunch was reportedly so severe that it wasn’t unusual to see employees sleeping at work and walking around in pajamas.
“[On Mortal Kombat 9] crunch officially began after New Year’s Day, 2011,” said former Software Engineer, James Longstreet. “I took one day off between January 1 and the day the day-one patch was approved. It was my birthday, and it was on a Sunday, so it was OK if I was just on call. I was allowed to go to a friend’s wedding (on call, of course) on a Saturday night, after working an 8-hour shift first.”
Another former employee spoke to PC Gamer on condition of anonymity, and revealed that they and a coworker filed a formal complaint against NetherRealm with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. However, lack of support from other coworkers – who were scared of repercussions – along with NetherRealm hiring lawyers resulted in the case being closed.
“We brought up the harassment, the secret nicknames that the devs had for all the female employees, the singling-out that we experienced, etc etc.,” they added. In response to their complaint to the EEOC, NetherRealm didn’t renew the employees’ contracts.
A number of other former employees have also come forward on Twitter over the past week, detailing their personal experiences of working at the studio and corroborating the aforementioned allegations.
NetherRealm and parent company Warner Bros. have yet to comment on PC Gamer’s report.
[Source: PC Gamer]