'Seven-day crunch for two months' at THQ studio

'Seven-day crunch for two months' at THQ studio

By Rob Crossley

January 12th 2011 at 11:38AM

THQ boss jokes studio is showing signs of exhaustion

The development team at New York outfit Kaos has been subjected to a seven-day crunch phase for two months, the studio’s owning publisher THQ has said.

The Kaos workforce has been thrown into the brutal crunch phase in order to finish work on its current project, Homefront, before the scheduled US release of March 8th.

THQ has no intention of delaying the game past its release date.

The publisher’s executive vice president of Core Games, Danny Bilson, said on Twitter that he was yesterday in New York to visit the studio.

His message read: “At Kaos studios in New York sitting with a team that's finaling on 7-day weeks for a couple of months. Talk about that ‘thousand yard stare’.”

Crunch has become a prevalent practice in many entertainment fields, particularly games. The effect it has on workers can be serious.

Last year Develop asked the industry for its views on crunch. The response portrayed crunch as a complex and possibly destructive practice, though one that could also help studios.

Relentless co-founder David Amor said “I used to think that crunching would always have a negative effect on staff turnover and studio morale, but now I believe it's more complex than that: sometimes crunch will bring a team together, sometimes it's exciting.”

Team 17 Studio Director Martyn Brown took a different view: “Sustained periods of crunch in no way benefit projects, people or studios, increasing illness, stress and motivation,” he said.

Bizarre Creations’ commercial director Sarah Chudley said she “couldn’t see games, or other similar industries, being able to be produced without any sort of a crunch... because passionate and creative people want to utilise as much of the available time to make the best games they can.”

Last year the apparent wives of developers at Red Dead Redemption studio Rockstar San Diego had published an open letter pleading for better working standards.

“It is known that some employees have been diagnosed with depression symptoms and at least one among them is acknowledged to have suicidal tendencies,” the letter alleged.