Some Epic Games devs are working up to 100-hour weeks on Fortnite

fortnite battle royale crunch




Are you excited for that sweet Fortnite Avengers Crossover that is coming soon? It will be pretty cool, right?

Well, maybe some of Epic Games' devs will beg to differ, as some of them are reportedly working up to 100-hour weeks.




Polygon has an amazing report about the crunch and pressure and toxic work environment at Epic Games since Fortnite Battle Royale became a huge success. A dozen current and former Epic Games employees talk about the stress they have to endure, where working overtime is expected, while officially “voluntary”. Contract staff are paid overtime, but they work in a culture of fear, where long hours are expected, resulting in 70-hour work weeks and subsequent health issues.

This isn't the kind of crunch that we used to know, where staff is pushed to work extra hours to release a game – nowadays, crunch is a continuous matter, with the “games as a service” theme resulting in post-launch updates, regular DLC and patches.

While Epic Games requires their staff to sign NDA's to keep the company's operations under secrecy, anonymous staff described what is going on at the Fortnite studio:

“I work an average 70 hours a week,” said one employee. “There’s probably at least 50 or even 100 other people at Epic working those hours. I know people who pull 100-hour weeks. The company gives us unlimited time off, but it’s almost impossible to take the time. If I take time off, the workload falls on other people, and no one wants to be that guy.”

“The biggest problem is that we’re patching all the time. The executives are focused on keeping Fortnite popular for as long as possible, especially with all the new competition that’s coming in.”

Obviously, this takes its toll in personal life:

“I hardly sleep. I’m grumpy at home. I have no energy to go out. Getting a weekend away from work is a major achievement. If I take a Saturday off, I feel guilty. I’m not being forced to work this way, but if I don’t, then the job won’t get done.”

And if you don't work overtime, your job won't last long:

“I know some people who just refused to work weekends, and then we missed a deadline because their part of the package wasn’t completed, and they were fired. People are losing their jobs because they don’t want to work these hours.”

Another anonymous source said: “I’ve had friends come to me and say, ‘I can’t take this anymore.’ I’ve had friends break down in tears. The crunch is constant.”

These contract workers were called by a senior at Epic Games “bodies”:

“One senior guy would say, ‘Just get more bodies.’ That’s what the contractors were called: bodies. And then when we’re done with them, we can just dispose of them. They can be replaced with fresh people who don’t have the toxic nature of being disgruntled.”

The rest of the report is as bleak as what you have read. It concludes with a desperate statement:

“It’s killing people. Something has to change. I can’t see how we can go on like this for another year. At first, it was fine, because Fortnite was a big success and that felt good. We were solving problems that were new for Epic: how to run a big, global game as an online service. But now the workload is just endless.”



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