[Last week, on the day that THQ had rebranded itself with a new logo, one that “reflects emphasis on innovation and creativity”, an insider from the publisher’s New York studio – Kaos – contacted Develop. That person’s comments can be found below.
You can also read a full and candid response to the claims, written by Kaos general manager David Votypka, here.]
“We have been crunching for the last 6 months or so at 10 hours a day and if we did not hit our bug goal that week we would have to come one weekend day as well for 6 days a week.
Over the holiday many of us were on call and unable to leave to see our family or do whatever. And now we are in 7 day a week crunch mode.
I would assume DLC will keep some of us in crunch months after the game is released but I can’t say for sure.
I wouldn’t say that [Crunch] solidifies a team. I have previously worked on a project where it may have had that effect but I do not believe that to be the case with Kaos. That team was smaller and we were establishing a new company which may have made it feel like it was a different ‘we are all in this together’ kind of situation.
I think a lot of people at Kaos resent crunch time in any form. The longer crunch goes on the more bad will gets built up. People have shown me studies that indicate crunch time just burns people out and they do the same or less work. They might stay at work longer but they make more mistakes or work slower. Some people even quit because of the crunch and then the rest of us have to pick up the slack.
There are people here with a more positive outlook that wear crunch time as a badge of honour. There are people here who believe it is a rite of passage for every game. I think that most people at Kaos think that we as a studio should have managed our time and schedule better.
The management team shouldn’t have put us on a schedule that would have led to this kind of crunch.
Kaos probably had enough time to make the game but lack of early resources and over committing on the project led to this situation more than not having the proper length of time.
Some people have negative feelings because they are forced to stay late for support even if they are finished with all or most of their tasks.
In some cases if part of the team was behind, everyone had to stay late or work one weekend day.
Management seems to be inconsistent about this though because sometimes we do not have to come in on the weekend when others are behind.
I think that many people at Kaos are unhappy about the crunch mainly because they assume there will be not be a good reward for it. THQ does have a bonus program but most people feel that it will not reward the team enough. People assume the way the bonus works it will not fairly reward those that put in the extra time and effort.
Also people at Kaos do not want to hear THQ publicly say things that glorify crunch time.
Most of all though I think people just want to feel that their time and hard work is appreciated.”[Image used for illustrative purposes].