A Twitter user that goes by the name of Jiminy Snackmouth has opened up on the intense crunch periods when developing the games at NetherRealm Studios, with a claim that a colleague died at his desk because of it.
The long Twitter thread highlights incredibly long hours and very little time off during release periods of NetherRealms games, in this instance for Mortal Kombat 9, and that the practice within the company is “is scheduled for” by his manager. He also states that in the past three years he was with the company, he had only received a 1% salary raise and no bonus for his work. He even went as far as to say the company considered him “persona non grata,” and has been told from friends still within the company that it’s gotten even worse, with crunching starting as early as September.
One of the biggest takes from his tweets is that he states that one of his fellow developers, Miguel, died at his desk during the crunch period of NetherRealm’s Injustice 2 release.
oh I forgot to mention Miguel, who just died. at his desk, during crunch. this was after I left, on mkx I think. there’s no doubt in my mind he’d be alive if it weren’t for this absolutely insane practice
— Jiminy Snackmouth (@jlongstreet) April 23, 2019
If this is true, it’s a damning example of why crunch is such a terrible period for many game developers out there at large studios.
The whole thread is worth reading. While it’s currently not possible to verify, it still further highlights the growing concerns from the games industry about crunch hours of work, especially within AAA game studios.
Rockstar Games founder Dan Houser recently received criticizm for his claim that crunch at the studio meant working as much as 100 hours a week, and just this week Epic Games received similar backlash for the crunch hours during its development of Fortnite.
Jiminy ends by advocating Game Workers Unite, an organisation committed to unionizing videogame developers.
We will bring you more as this unfolds.
Update April 25 4:10pm CT:
Jiminy Snackmouth today removed the mention of the colleague’s death, posting an update to the thread.
i got some details of what happened during IJ2 wrong, and i apologize for that. i deleted the specific tweets
— Jiminy Snackmouth 1 (312) (@jlongstreet) April 24, 2019