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Team Bondi: My Side Of The Story
by Dave Heironymus on 07/12/11 08:07:00 pm   Expert Blogs   Featured Blogs

The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.

 

I know, I know. I'll be labelled as "Brendan McNamara's sock puppet" or worse. You'll just have to take my word that I'm doing this because I enjoy working at Team Bondi and don't want to see it destroyed by anonymous ex-employees.

(Update: Charles Lefebvre's letter to the IGDA is here -> http://gamasutra.com/blogs/CharlesLefebvre/20110714/7988/Another_side_of_the_story.php)

I'm going to post in full the letter I sent to the IGDA in a moment, but first I want to ask one question: What is the motivation behind these attacks on Team Bondi? If the motivation were to see improvement in the working conditions at Team Bondi, then I'm all for it. I have a wife and friends who didn't see very much of me during the latter stages of L.A. Noire, and I'm lucky my wife was so understanding. All of the management and staff at Team Bondi want to improve our processes so we can make even better games in a decent timeframe, without burning people out along the way. However, some of these comments in recent stories seem to go beyond that. Some ex-employees who left the company years ago want to see Team Bondi destroyed. They want to see 35 game developers out of a job. That seems to me to be a less laudable motivation.

So here it is, my side of the story (as sent to the IGDA):

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Dave Heironymus and for the past four years I've been the Lead Gameplay Programmer at Team Bondi. This is an open letter regarding the development of L.A. Noire at Team Bondi.

Firstly, my motivation for writing this: while I'm part of the "management goon squad" at Team Bondi, I'm also part of the "Aussie Five" who were the first five local employees at Team Bondi. I've been at Team Bondi since it was 11 people in a big empty room. I've been there through the highs and lows of developing L.A. Noire. And the recent coverage on working conditions has been very one-sided. At no point did the journalist who wrote the original IGN piece ask me for my side of the story. So here it is:

I started at Team Bondi on April 5, 2004, as a Junior Programmer straight out of university. During my final year at university Brendan McNamara gave a talk about a game he wanted to make and how he was starting a new studio in Sydney to make it. This was a dream come true! I'd been hoping that by the time I finished my degree I'd have the opportunity to make games right here in my home town, and sure enough here it was. I'd emailed Brendan within an hour or so of the end of his talk and two interviews later I had the job! From there I made my way to Programmer, Senior Programmer, and finally to my current position.

During the early years of L.A. Noire, we generally worked 9 to 6. Occasionally we'd do some late nights towards the end of a milestone, but by and large it was pretty smooth sailing. Unfortunately as time went on we failed to make as much progress as we'd have liked and there was growing pressure to work longer hours. It was not any one person's fault that we weren't making progress, responsibility for that has to rest with the entire team. There were times when it seemed too hard to keep on going. Work kept piling up, potential release dates slipped by, and frustration grew. At these times we lost people, who legitimately decided that they weren't willing to keep on pushing.

Recognising that working on the weekend was inevitable, Team Bondi put in place a scheme to (generously) reward employees for their weekend days spent at work.  Additionally, in the last 6 months of the project a scheme was put in place to reward employees for staying back late on weeknights, and this resulted in myself and most of my team getting an additional 4 weeks of leave upon completion of L.A. Noire, on top of the weekend working payment.

Towards the end of the project I was probably working (on average) around 65 hours per week. Apart from a few isolated cases (various demo builds) this was the highest my regular hours ever got to, and at no time did I ever work 100 hours per week. If you think about it, that's 14 hours per day, 7 days per week, which is huge. I can't say that no-one ever worked 100 hours per week, but those sorts of hours were not encouraged. In fact, if someone on my team was working that hard I would have done my best to stop them.

I never (and in my experience, neither did any of the other managers) expected anything from my team that I didn't expect of myself. The management team at Team Bondi was not ensconced in an Ivory Tower working normal hours while everyone else crunched. Brendan himself worked very long hours and few of us here in the studio are aware of how grueling the DA and motion capture shoot in LA was.

Saying all of this, no-one at Team Bondi is under the illusion that crunching is a good way to work and we're actively working to learn from our mistakes for our next project. The people at Team Bondi are great to work with and I'm confident that we can make Team Bondi a leading game studio on the international stage.

L.A. Noire is the biggest game ever made in Australia but we started as a small fish in a large local game development community. While we were making L.A. Noire we've seen the game development community in Australia dwindle with the likes of Pandemic, Krome, Ratbag and Transmission closing their doors during our tenure. We could have gone the same way, and I'm sure we came close to being cancelled several times. Having Rockstar as the publisher of L.A. Noire was a blessing, because their focus is on developing extremely high quality games. Rockstar kept faith with L.A. Noire and Team Bondi throughout the hard times because they could see the game L.A. Noire would eventually become. I'm proud that we managed to pull L.A. Noire away from the brink and get it shipped, because it's a great game and it's a rare new IP in a sea of sequels. For those of us that made it to the end L.A. Noire is a huge source of pride.

Please think about that when you talk about boycotting L.A. Noire or about how heinous Team Bondi is. There is a team of dedicated game developers here in Sydney that look forward to learning from their mistakes, improving on their successes and taking on the world again next time around.

All the best,

Dave Heironymus


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Comments


Lewis Pulsipher
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And yet it's been shown many times that working 60+ hours a week results in 40 hours worth of work, after the first weeks of crunch. In other words, it is largely fruitless. The 40 hour work week is there for a reason. So why do teams keep doing it?

Alex Leighton
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It's a strange practice for sure. I tend to think it results in poor time management skills on alot of peoples' parts. People either underestimate how long something will take, or don't make time for the unexpected, and then things pile up and it seems that the only way to get back on top of things is to go around the clock. Like you say though, humans aren't machines, and our productivity takes a big fall if we aren't well rested.



Before I start anything, I ask myself: "How long will this realistically take me to complete?" Then I take that amount of time, multiply by 1.2 and budget my time accordingly, so that I've still got enough leisure/sleep time. This is alot easier to do when it's just me working on personal projects though, since I know how quickly I work. I can see where this would be difficult when you're setting deadlines for a team of people who all work at different speeds.

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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Good management uses evidence-based scheduling to solve that problem. Look it up!

Jason Pineo
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You wish it resulted in 40 hours worth of work. Try 30, or 20.

Duong Nguyen
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It's called a death march, usually companies who engage in it wither and die but Bondi had the near unlimited pockets and resources of Rockstar this time around.. Crunch happens and it's usually near the end phase of development not at the middle continuing indefinitely until the company goes belly up..

Tobias Jacobsen
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First off, I have yet to read the IGN article you refer to, and I will probably never do so. IGN is my preferred site for gaming-news, but I use the site solely for looking at pretty pictures or gameplay videos; this is the most essential news for me. The rest is for the most part just noise... like reading comments on Youtube-videos.



I very much enjoy playing L.A. Noire. It has a very captivating story among other things. My guess would be that I'm 3/4 parts through it. Despite the "challenges" Dave describe, I don't feel that they have carried over to the game - it feels very much like a polished-attention- to-detail type of game.



Most importantly you guys have made innovation in the game industry, which is extremely rare nowadays (for the blockbuster productions at least) I find myself in the situation, where I have been playing 1st&3rd adventure/sci-fi/post apocalyptic games for the last 10-15 years - I want to try something new, and L.A. Noire was something new, so big kudos to you and the rest of the team for pulling it off.

Robert Green
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"I never (and in my experience, neither did any of the other managers) expected anything from my team that I didn't expect of myself"



I've never been a big fan of this line. To be fair, you do hear it all the time, but the idea that somehow forcing everyone in the company to work overtime is justified if senior management are doing it is a bit of a non-sequitur. It does avoid some of the potential hypocrisy, but surely, as management, you not only have more of the responsibility for getting things done on time, but also more of the reward for the final product as well. Trying to pretend that people in their first job in the industry are as responsible for meeting deadlines as the people managing them suggests that management already failed.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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Thank you tremendously.



I too am tired of the "hey, I'm working just as hard as you guys *coughandgettingpaidfivetimesasmuchcough*" line of defense.

Jason Pineo
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Agreed. I'm also concerned by the apparent refusal to lay blame at the feet of those most responsible with lines like "It was not any one person's fault that we weren't making progress, responsibility for that has to rest with the entire team."



Let's put it clearly: When companies decide to overwork their staff to get work done, they are expressing their disrespect for the people involved. It's disingenuous of management to overwork their team and claim it was the only way when they hold the reins.



From my position I can dimly comprehend some of the titanic pressure placed on management by forces in- and outside of a game development company. And to those managers who use these pressures as excuses to overwork their staff I'll say out loud what is left unsaid to those overworked staff: It's part of working in the industry, so if you can't handle it you should quit, it's not like there's any lack of people to fill your job.



Not so nice to hear out loud, hmm?



Trust me, it's not any better left unsaid.

Maurício Gomes
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So, Team Bondi is not so bad because instead of working 100 hours weekly it worked only 65?





While this remains as standard in the industry, I will remain as Indie and working also in the regular software industry, that may be sorta boring, but at least is serious in management and production practices.



Unless someone offer me like two times what I get now or something like that... But since I doubt this will happen...

Jonathan Lawn
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I don't think Dave is denying there was a management failure here.



It is possible to do more in 60h than 40h in a week, it's just that the hours get progressively less efficient. Nevertheless, it is possible to make a sane and rational decision to do longer hours for a limited period. (I myself have just done a non-game software crunch because hitting a milestone overrode other considerations. That was also a sign of failure on my part, but was nevertheless a rational decision when it came to it.)



And I think it is important to say that everyone crunched together, and was rewarded for their efforts. It takes the charge from exploitation to merely incompetance.



I'm sure Bondi will do better next time, and if they get the right managers and the right culture in place, they might avoid a crunch completely!

Andrew Grapsas
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Dave, great post! I really appreciate your candor!



That being said, what you've described still isn't a good work environment, especially for creative individuals. Honestly, what's more important to you: that the game shipped, or that you missed hours of your life that you could've spent with your wife and family?



Was shipping the game on that specific date overly beneficial to you (in non-monetary ways)? Was it worth losing those segments of your life that you did? Are you saying there was no friction generated in your personal life?



Even if you want to/are willing to work 65 hours a week on occasion, I would question your motivation. Is it to get the product out? Or, is it for another psychological reason?



This is less about what people said or felt and what is actually "good" for the psychological and physical well being of the individuals.

Luis Guimaraes
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Productivity equals HardWork to the power of SmartWork.



But then, making games is a non-stop learning and tackling on the unknown. I'm guilty of the same shortcomings, and work more than 100h/week.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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Is this for your own project or for someone else? I could easily work 100h a week (if I didn't have a job) on my own project, but 60 hours a week for someone else's project is soul crushing. This is the problem with crunch, which I think gets overlooked - it's not how much time you spend doing something (we spend 56 hours a week sleeping, is that bad?), it's how much you enjoy that which you put your time into. And it's hard to enjoy working in this industry with its risk aversion and often, as evidenced by this article, naive management.

Luis Guimaraes
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It's the sum of my dayjob and my own project.

And yes, I'm already burnt out, but it's near 100% completed and has to be finished. Then I can rest.



EDIT: Sadly I can only show it upon completion.

William Collins
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Let your fellow 'Gamasutrans' know when it's finished! Curious to see what your one-man-team is up to ...

Luis Guimaraes
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I will soon as possible!



But can't say it's like one-man-team anymore. I started alone in last September, got my boss in as investor and business-side former, another colleague as server-side programmer, and by now the full team sums up to nine if I include everybody related in the whole process, from website to press release writing.



We only brought more people in in the later polishing phase, something like 5 months in development. It's just an iOS title cause we decided to venture in something small.



I've been the one working harder and longer, but couldn't ever take the credits for the game, I simply started it...

Mathieu MarquisBolduc
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" It was not any one person's fault that we weren't making progress. responsibility for that has to rest with the entire team"



Im going to have to call you on that. If a single developper isnt making progress with his task, it may be his fault. If the whole team isnt making any (or enough) progress, the trouble lies with management. Same as in sports!



"Recognising that working on the weekend was inevitable"



I strongly doubt it was inevitable. Your management (and/or yourself) failed to put the correct processes, methodology and ressources in place to attain your objectives. That statement can only make me doubt that you've learn from your mistakes. Still, I hope you did and best of luck with your next project.

M U
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Of the 22 comments as of my reply, this is the best. Most of the comments I have read so far are pretty self-serving "I am better than you" posts.



I agree that the Management team was most likely not a veteran team. The author specifically states went from the university into junior programmer and 7 years later he is Lead Gameplay Programmer. Some people over the course of their lives pick up the ability to manage teams well, but it is not usually magically learned when you get a new title. There are reasons why managers are frequently hired from outside the company, and there are even more reasons why developers would not be good managers.



Let's face it, we are all guessing on why this project was so difficult. Nobody here knows any of the team or their environment from experience. Here is my guesses:



1) Poor management. The author says "Work kept piling up". If this happens over a course of years, good managers should have realized they either need to hire more people, outsource, extend the timeline, or cut features. Someone there should have said "we scheduled 12 months for X many features, we got Y done. At this rate, we need Z more months to finish everything." This should be done on a regular basis, especially after you 65 hour weeks.



2) Poor communication. Team Bondi is in Australia, Rockstar is in England, and Sony is in the US. How well do you think the communications were? How often do you think McNamara said "we're almost there" to Sony and Rockstar versus "we are so far behind, we need years."



3) Too many unknowns. If this is your first project, and it's huge, and it's all original, and you are a new company, there are going to be a ton of things you never knew could come up. Surprises will pop up even after a dozen projects, unless you are cookie-cutter releasing the same code with new graphics.



Even tho we are guessing, I am very sure Team Bondi just bit off more than they could chew with this project. I am sure they will learn many things from this game, and I hope they learn the right lessons.

Mike Kasprzak
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> While I'm part of the "management goon squad" at Team Bondi, I'm also part of the "Aussie Five" who were the first five local employees at Team Bondi.



Dude I'm sorry, but being part of the founding team kinda disqualifies you from a valid opinion on quality of life. Your position and seniority gives you special consideration in the eyes of those above you, lenience and benefit due to friendships or whatever. The Bondi story is typical. I've been there too, and there are things we do not see sitting on the high horse of "Lead". Not until we get out.

Trevor Powell
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I'd like to add another voice of agreement here, having also been in the same situation as Dave.



When you're a lead or are otherwise one of the "favourites" of a visionary in charge of a major project, you often simply won't see any major issues which are affecting everyone else. It's not a personal failing; it's that people behave differently when you're in the room, so you simply don't witness the worst of the troubles.



In my case, it took almost five years for me to realise and understand that my experiences in a particular project didn't reflect the experiences of most of my co-workers who weren't in my favoured position. At the time, I hadn't even realised that I was in a favoured position, or that I was being treated differently from other people on the project.



But I was.

Laszlo Molnar
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I think this might cause some heat, so please do not file me as a troll. Thank you ;)



Having spent 15+ years in the gamedev business, I think I know what might be the real issue behind this whole Team Bondi thing.

Everybody who decides to work in gamdev has to accept that this is a very gruelling creative industry and not an easy office job. It is beautiful, yes, but oh how demanding... especially if the project is based on an experintal/progressive design.

If you think that you are up to the challenge, go for it! If you realize that it is not the job you wanted, go work somewhere else, you will thank it later.



Let's play a little situational game. Replace Team Bondi with 20th Century Fox, L.A. Noire with Avatar, Brendan McNamara with James Cameron. What is your opinion *now*? :)

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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Were over 100 (or any number) of people who worked on James Cameron's Avatar not credited despite putting years into the project? Do you know of any other QoL red flags on that project (crunch, massive layoffs, management yelling when people around him are trying to do work)?

Laszlo Molnar
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I am not sure about the discredit issues (but I think it happened), but yelling, bad personnel relationship, etc is all trademarks of Mr Cameron. Yet, the results are stunning at the end. Avatar is based on blood, sweat and tears, just like all important products of any creative industry.



(Some unnecessary nitpick: another creative visionnaire and well-known crew killer, Stanley Kubrick reportedly cheated with employee/contractor payments - most famous victim of his: Arthur C. Clarke)

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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All this does is make me lose respect for James Cameron and Stanley Kubrick (I will do further research to verify this of course). There is nothing ethical that allows anyone, whether they be a game industry suit or a movie industry visionary, to treat the people that are helping make their (plural their) vision come true like sub-humans. This line of thinking is utter bullshit.



Whatever the quality of LA Noire (don't know first hand, still boycotting it), it took seven years to make with rampant turnover. Does this sound healthy, necessary, or inseparable from quality?



The "blood, sweat, and tears" come from struggling in a technological landscape that constantly changes and desiring to be gods of our own worlds and bring unheard of joy to our customers. We don't need, on top of this stress, the artificial institutional stress that the workplace hierarchy and asshole managers bring, other industries be damned.

Laszlo Molnar
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Hmm, I think I was not clear enough.

Both Mr Cameron and Mr Kubrick may be unethical a.seholes, but no one can deny their brilliance on delivering the vision of theirs.

Based on my experience as project manager and/or designer on several projects, it is very hard to communicate your own vision of greatness towards your team -- the vision you believe in so much, will eventually make you literally mad/overly passionate (it really does not differ too much at this stage), and *will* lead to tensions. Always.



Why? Because you have four choices as a manager:

- create a small "inner circle" core team who you can trust, but this will raise a very destructive elitist/laborer tension in the whole project.

- try to communicate with your team to make them understand at least some part of your vision, but this is often harder than you think and requires ultra-excellent communication skills, and lots of patience.

- go Darth Vader, but despite its ahem... "coolness" for some, will surely alienate you from your team.

- cut down your vision, get in the line, make a mediocre game, and damn yourself for an eternity for the wasted opportunity.



Methinks, the issue lies in the pro/indie game dev mindset mixup. As an indie, you will never experience such problems, thus, you won't understand the frustration, because your team is small (if any), you are your own designer/manager. But you have no money to burn.

As soon as someone gives you say, 10 million dollars, a tight deadline and brutal marketing expectations to make a game, the responsibility will eventually makes you very nervous... and if you are doing good, you will be an excellent crisis manager. ;)



Having played through LA Noire recently, I can clearly see why certain people of the dev team are so upset, and why the high management is so stubborn: this is an experimental game, dare to say, unique. High production values, lots of dollars burned. High-stakes gamble. Also, I'm pretty sure, that the design has changed a couple times during development. (Try this, try that, no, try the other way). All of this leads to extreme team burnout, and I suspect that McNamara and co. may have a good stash of coke or Xanax somewhere in the desert to finish this game. (/sarcasm!).

Personally, I liked the game, so kudos to the team.



Finally: do not boycott LA Noire. If you do not buy the game, you will harm the innocents even more. (Common practice dictates some final bonus/royalty payment deals might be in order at the end if the game is a success at retail)



Make no mistake, I am not defending either Brendan McNamara, Dave Heironymus, or Team Bondi. All I wanted to say is this: the creative industry is crazy, and thus demands crazy people to make it through. Sad and scary, yes, but we cannot be van Goghs with two ears. :)

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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You were pretty clear, I believe :).



I can see stubbornness being necessary to retain a vision, but not being an asshole to those around you and calling it "your game/your movie". As soon as someone else starts helping you with it, it belongs partially to them too. Their pride is on the line too, and they deserve to get some joy out of working on the project too.



I am referring to this quote from McNamara in case you haven't seen it: ""It's my game," McNamara told IGN in response. "I can go to anyone I want in the team and say, 'I want it changed.'"" This is a horrible attitude. I can respect someone having the final say under certain circumstances (and it must be done maturely), but this attitude he exhibits is childish. "It's my game" -- that is not an interpretation, that is literally what he said!



Now then; I am going to continue boycotting LA Noire. I can not harm the innocents more; that statement implies that they are entitled to my sale for some weird reason. Whatever harm they have undertaken comes from McNamara and themselves for tolerating it. At any rate, the people who got screwed over the most (laid off and not credited) won't see a dime from me even if I bought a million copies. Yes, I want to play the game if I was ignoring politics, so this is a real boycott and not an "eh, didn't want to play it anyway" tantrum. Yes, I am doing this to, however small, avoid supporting McNamara and his apologists. At any rate, anyone who is truly innocent should distance themselves from McNamara like Rockstar did (http://gamasutra.com/view/news/35661/Report_Rockstar_Will_Not_Wor
k_With_Team_Bondi_Again.php); the guy sounds like poison, and perhaps a bit mentally unfit to be running a company.

Lachlan Gartside
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How about Steve Jobs? Similar sort of leader who produces undeniably amazing results at a cost to the team.



The point missing here is there is an intrinsic motivator of making progress and working on a project which is truly innovative.



A good day at work for most people is one where they are productive and hours at the office are a less significant rating (not insignificant, just not the most important). This is certainly the case for myself. I'd be interested in finding out the number of people who quit of the last six to twelve months of the project.



So could LA Noire have been the milestone achievement that it obviously has been without buy in from the whole team? I'd be thinking not.

Jack Nilssen
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I find those boycotting this product noble, but also foolish.



The labor conditions in the plants that produced the electronics that allow you to make your grand stands against injustice here on the Internet were more likely far worse than those at Team Bondi's offices, and the employees there had a choice in their place of employment whereas the unknown hands that assembled your PC et al did not.



Keep on fighting the good fight, though.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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I understand where you're coming from Christopher, but it is also foolish to say that it's not worth standing up for some people when others have it worse. In fact, I would say this is far more foolish. Should police in first world countries stop fighting crime there because the crime in third world countries is more heinous?



A better perspective is that we should fight against all forms of human abuse. If you really feel sorry for electronics manufacturers, then write an article exposing specific injustices and try to rally a cause instead of just using it as a blanket statement to protect "less evil" happenings. I've gone over that here (http://lifesnotsimple.com/index.php/2010/08/how-not-to-help-someo
ne-whos-down/, not exactly the same topic but the same concept); "Turning the conversation into something about some starving kid in another country with any intention other than finding a way to help said kid is just a rhetorical faux pas, putting you at just the same level as the complainer if they are merely complaining and slightly lower than them if they were complaining in an attempt to rally a cause."

Laszlo Molnar
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Thanks for the link, excellent read.

McNamara obviously opted the Darth Vader scenario I mentioned before. I am not surprised though -- there are more people like him than you think in the industry. By the way, the "it's my game" quote is pretty much applicable to Mr Cameron, Mr Kubrick (I wholly recommend you to read John Baxter's book about Mr Kubrick or Steven Spielberg, or William Goldman's wonderful essays on Hollywood -- these are full of stories like this).



There are two options left for McNamara and co.:

- prove that the vision of his is lucrative, so even if he is going to be filed as tough nut, he will get the support anyway. But one small misstep is enough to fall from grace, y'know...

- or try to change. Quite unlikely, however, I do believe that a long sabbatical can do miracles to one's persona.



Let's see what will happen...

Rich Holdsworth
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Brendan is and always has been a huge bully. He can't and won't change.

Rebecca Phoa
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Why does the game industry not come together and make a concentrated effort to ban crunch? If the processes of game project management are so poor, how about creating enforceable standards? My lack of industry experience is a bane when it comes to these situations.

Laszlo Molnar
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Unfortunately this cannot be done. Crunch is *inevitable* in creative industries.

Here is a quick proof:

Boss: I want the game to be fun by next Monday! I'll have an investoer's meeting next week, I want to impress'em, else we'll be fu..ed!

Marketing: Yeah, E3 is upon us next week, we *must* stun the audience, else we'll be fu..ed!

Project Manager: Ok team, you have heard the sacred words. Make it 150% and work overnight, else we'll be fu...ed!



Real gamedev pros will be laughing at this, really :)

Andrew Grapsas
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Examples are, by definition, not proof.



And crunch is not inevitable. Your ability to wrap your mind around new concepts is what leads to crunch.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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Fear.



I am trying to help people get over that fear by standing up for what I believe in and hoping others follow suit, but I'm a nobody right now and certainly not a leader so I don't think I can do much :(.



I've got a couple of people to reply to me here and on other sites, but that usually doesn't go anywhere after we exchange emails along the lines of "yeah, crunch is bad, we should unionize". Any ideas on what more we can do? I really never trained myself to be a revolutionary, so... *blush*

Gerald Belman
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White collar jobs are typically very difficult to establish unions in. Teachers are one huge exception. The main reason for this is that they are government employees. Government leadership generally has better ethics(or lower motivation) when it comes to ruthlessly crushing the formation of unions.(which is a common practice is the U.S.)



If you are really interested in labor conditions of game development employees, then I would recommend finding a way to systematically(and if possible scientifically) document the labor abuses in the industry and compare those results to other white collar industries. This would be very difficult because companies are extremely unlikely to release there weekly employement numbers. You would have to encourage people to come forward with their own stories about prior abuse.



Also pay is another issue. If employees are recieving generous overtime premiums then there is going to be less sympathy towards them as well. So you would have to compare average hourly pay to other industries as well.



Also overall annual hours worked is another important issue. If (as in the case of Team Bondi) they provide generous time-off incentives for employees that participate in crunch.



The game industry is an extremely competative and complex industry. People want to be involved in it because it is seen as being more creative and more fun than other industries(and I would argue overall it probably is). Unfortunately, alot of people getting in to it don't seem to consider the consequences of selling their labor for dirt cheap and getting into relationships with bosses where that cannot say no to overtime. If companies really have to pay tremendous amounts of time and half overtime to people however . . .that is not in their interests either. It would be better to just hire more employees. note: time and a half overtime is a U.S. requirement



In short, I think the problem needs to be more advertised and defined before there is enough motivation for people to form collective bargaining groups. If you could establish a survey of companies that volunteer to supply their employment information(and establish enough credibility to publicly chastise ones that don't), then you could probably get alot closer to accomplishing this.

David Paris
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I have always suspected the gaming industry would benefit from unions similar to those of the film industry. Would be interesting to see a gaming SAG equivelent. I don't know what the path to getting there would be though.

Dennis Crow
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The industry doesn't ban crunch because there is no agreement that crunch needs to be banned. Even if the industry was in agreement that crunch is a bad thing, there's no practical way to ban crunch across the industry. The only way to enforce this would be labor organization, and that's never been a popular movement in game development.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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@Dennis



I think I see where you're coming from; if you work for a company that is closely knit and you know you aren't going to get laid off after all your work and you feel passionate about the project and have a large say in it, then you probably don't mind working 80 hours a week on it (still not healthy, but enjoyable). And if this is the only kind of environment you've worked in, you might not understand the crunch issue and see people complaining about crunch as "lazy" or something.



But more realistically, crunch is not something chosen out of passion for a project, it is something forced on you by management that, despite simply being a small part of the project (like you), holds all the cards and has the power to fire you. This kind of fear-forced crunch (often on shitty projects doomed to the 50s on metacritic and mass layoffs afterwards) is a much different beast from the Epic crunch (this project is guaranteed to sell, I'm not losing my job, I am choosing to work these hours).



With that said, I don't think there is any disagreement about the need to get rid of the "Bad" type of crunch (which is a much deeper problem). With that said, I think a better thing to try and ban than "crunch" is "worker exploitation"; it covers things beyond crunch (like unjust layoffs, leaving names out of the credits) while not stepping on the toes of "good" crunch (when it is democratically chosen by the team).

Laszlo Molnar
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Sorry, I was not precise enough. The example I recited happened to me, and I was the project manager saying the punch line. Fortunately, I was able to motivate my team enough, and we did get the job done.



It is not a single case, all of my colleagues working in different companies saying similar anecdotes. We are laughing at these, because this is our everyday life.

Finally: you may not see the crunch because it may not affect you, personally. You may leave your desk at 6pm. But who knows what happens at the art outsourcing company's offices? What are those sore eyes at the QA department? Why the designer team walks nervously knee-deep in sketch papers tossed all over the place? Why does the manager wears his yesterday's suit still in the morning, while cursing his ringing cellphone? And it goes on....

Andrew Grapsas
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My response is: Toyota.



You need to intelligently and reasonably select the sources that feed your system and control your product (supply chain).



We have a lack of control in our industry and an understanding that we can just bomb peoples' lives with work and there'll be very little real repercussions other than a Gamasutra article :)

Tom Plunket
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You have two teams of identical makeup and (significant) skill. One team works 40 hour weeks. The other team works 40+x hour weeks. For small values of x, the latter team will be able to make a better game because they have more time to work on it.



Only the governments of the world can enforce overtime rules. In California USA, for example, the overtime laws explicitly exempt software developers and people making a lot of money ($86k or so last I remember).



The way to change the culture of crunch is to not participate in it. This is something that the management can only perpetuate when the staff plays along. Note that refusing to crunch is a good way to lose your job. Another consideration, however, is whether or not you'd be happy with the way you spent your time were you to drop dead right now. I do in fact know people who have died in the office while working on games.

Jeffrey Crenshaw
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"Only the governments of the world can enforce overtime rules. In California USA, for example, the overtime laws explicitly exempt software developers and people making a lot of money ($86k or so last I remember)."



I know this is a bit off topic, but why the hell is that? It really sounds like some lobbying has gone on to make programmers exempt from overtime. I've never made 86K but I've pretty much been exempt from overtime my whole career. How convenient for an industry that relies on unbounded crunch...



"I do in fact know people who have died in the office while working on games."



O_O I notice you said "people", which is plural. Disturbing, since this seems like a young demographics industry.

Tom Plunket
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Toyota also has considerable predictability while manufacturing cars on the assembly line that we do not when making games. Comparing game development to manufacturing or (as others often do) Hollywood is ridiculous at best and harmful at worst (because it sets expectations that cannot be met).

Gerald Belman
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Wow, I guess you learn something every day. I did not know about the computer proffessional overtime exemption. That IS a big load of crap. Programming is no different in causing fatigue than any other job. I wonder why they make a special exemption for computer specialists. If anything I would make a special rule to INCLUDE computer specialists.



It seems like it is only highly paid computer proffessionals(for most states). I would verify that your state doesn't have special rules. Here is a link for Washington state that also has some information of the federal rules:



http://www.lni.wa.gov/workplacerights/files/policies/esa96.pdf





That really does not seem fair to me on the federal level. Some states seem to have a much higher wage requirement to be considered exempt though so I would check it out for yourself.



For most jobs(including white collar ones) you are either exempt or non-exempt from FLSA. This depends on whether you are considered a "professional" which is highly subjective; most companies interpret it as meaning a manager. Although it ultimately depends on your job duties.



http://www.paychex.com/pdf/exempt.pdf

Jonathan Jou
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I wasn't going to comment, but after all this angry response, I have to say, it's very comforting to know that management wasn't pushing long hours without sharing some of the burdens themselves. The old horror stories of endless crunch, early and often, seem not to resonate with your own tale. It sounds like the company was being led by five people who really believed in what they were making, and wanted very much for it to succeed. In that I commend you. When the work is a labor of love and not profit-seeking proclivities, at least your heart was in the right place.



Project management is hard; setting deadlines is wildly inaccurate, and meeting wild guesses is about as reliable as working overtime and expecting increased productivity. It's just so easy to get into the deeply unfortunate mindset that working longer hours for more than a few weeks will solve problems, rather than introduce new ones. There is so much research showing the devastating effects of sleep deprivation, stress, and the way it causes employee burnout makes it truly a method of last resort, rather than first.



I do have a few questions, to see if (like most seemingly inevitable crunch periods) what might've spared the studio the amount of toil and turnover it suffered:



1. How many features were cut, rather than allotted for completion via longer hours?

Most of the time lower-priority features that "pile up" can be safely removed, or justify pushing back the deadline to do it right. Trying to cram in more work in less time tends to produce incomplete features that stray from the initial design and are too unwieldy to get right.



2. How many times was the deadline pushed back, and how close was each estimate in terms of work completed and work expected?

It's one thing to discover a large chunk of work that wasn't anticipated, or find that a task is significantly more involved that initially allowed. Making wishful statements about turning three month's worth of work into two, on the other hand, is making risky assumptions about how easy it is to write clean, (mostly) bug-free code under duress and time constraints. If it's worth doing, it should be worth doing right, and if large amounts of work were lumped into unrealistic schedules it's likely that more work could have been done in less time by better rested individuals.



3. How often were late, game-changing decisions made that not only added more work, but also discarded large amounts of prior sweat and blood?

The smartest decision to make is quite frequently to not make a decision at all; in the world of game design, I've read pages and pages about iteration, "finding the fun," and trying many variations instead of trying to make a decision without at least prototyping alternatives. From what I've read McNamara instituted several changes to suit his wishes, and it wasn't clear how many features were written or rewritten based on feedback that could have been incorporated into the initial design. The only thing less motivating than working on a feature you don't fully believe in is having to throw away the work you've already done on it first.



Releasing any sort of commercially valuable software on a deadline is tricky. I do wish those with the power and responsibility to minimize the pain learned from rather old and well-understood mistakes, though. Here's to hoping Team Bondi can make another blockbuster, this time without sacrificing work-life balance!

Mikhail Mukin
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Different people at different times prefer different work conditions/compensation. I used to work 12+ hour days and enjoy it. A few years ago my hobby changed to sport, so I have to be playing/training at certain time most of the days, so "work 12 hours/day for several months and get 2 weeks off after" do not work for me any more. I expect upper management to respect specific needs and find a fair compromise with each person on the team. I always mention my preferences/requirements before I sign a contract, make sure it is Ok and so far there were no problems.



"I work 12 hours as your boss and so should you" is wrong (and probably not legal in some states?) when applied to everybody in a big company, where most people are just "regular employees" with reasonably fixed benefits.



If you created a small company "with people you know", where everybody has a big share and supposed to be commited to success - it is a different matter. But I'm not aware of AAA games where it could be the case... they are not done by "10 friends with 10% company stock each".



And... it should rarely be the hours. It should be amount of accomplished work. If you found some unexpected, smarter way to do something that would normally take a lot of work - be proud and go do something you like, come back happy and ready for the next thing. Yes, do another task if you want to, but don't sit there watching youtube just to "fake the hours". All those "14 hour crunches"... how many times (asuming you are not the "big boss" people are afraid of) when you walk the office during those hours you see a person looking into Visual Studio versus some news site? ;)



Alas, managing based on accomplishment, not "by hours", is hard. It requires the manager to be really good at what he is managing (engineering, design etc). And in many companies managers/leads could often only "check the schedule" for task names and priorities. I think many companies begin to recognize this and adjust though.

TK Rose
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Dave, thanks for sharing your experiences and details of the working conditions at the studio. As an ex-Team Bondi employee, to the best of my knowledge, I can attest to the accuracy of your working hours, as well as corroborating the fact that the Leads also pulled in the same (if not more) hours as the rest of the development team.



You see, though, that the views you have expressed are *exactly* the issues that are being raised in the interviews with the various developers who have spoken out. Like many others have observed in the comments, the attitude that management had of 60+ hour weeks being ‘normal for the games industry’ and disregarding repeated attempts by various team members to raise concern over the value of this practice is what most of the testimonials take umbrage with.



When the entire Art team gathers in a meeting with the producer and their Leads with a list of issues and are subsequently dismissed as ‘not understanding games development’, can you say that there was a culture of respecting and addressing grievances raised by team members? Especially when follow-up meetings with the Design team on similar grievances has Leads remarking about ‘those troublemaking artists? They’re like that, aren’t they?’



Here’s a link to a report on studies of how the modern, industrialised world came to the 40 hour work week for knowledge workers, drawing on close to a century of research – not exactly experimental, cutting-edge managerial material these days:



http://www.igda.org/why-crunch-modes-doesnt-work-six-lessons



I highly encourage yourself, the leadership team at Team Bondi, as well as any readers of this blog to just take the time to read the bolded ‘Lessons’ that bookends each major section of the above report. Pertinent to the working hours you quoted is Lesson Four: “At 60 hours per week, the loss of productivity caused by working longer hours overwhelms the extra hours worked within a couple of months.”



Or with more detail: “ Where a work schedule of 60 or more hours per week is continued longer than about two months, the cumulative effect of decreased productivity will cause a delay in the completion date beyond that which could have been realized with the same crew size on a 40-hour week”.



May I ask, Dave, for how long did you and your team sustain a 60+ hour working week for? Ok, I’ll show my hand first; as per the internal email dated August 2009 listed in the Eurogamer/GamesIndustry.biz article on the leaked emails:



http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-07-05-la-noire-the-team-bo
ndi-emails-article?page=2



I worked those 60+ hour weeks for 14 months before I resigned. As an experienced developer having shipped multiple titles at a different studio prior to joining Team Bondi, where the longest crunch we had lasted for just over a month, I was deeply concerned by the story being sold to many of the first-time developers at Team Bondi that year-long crunches were normal in the games industry. [Just to dispel the myth that management often trotted out about ‘this is what developing AAA titles requires’, the title that required the month-long crunch has a Metacritic score in the same range as L.A. Noire]



“...at no time did I ever work 100 hours per week. If you think about it, that's 14 hours per day, 7 days per week, which is huge. I can't say that no-one ever worked 100 hours per week, but those sorts of hours were not encouraged. In fact, if someone on my team was working that hard I would have done my best to stop them.”



Correct me if I’m wrong, but your mention of "14 hours per day, 7 days per week, which is huge" seems to imply a certain level of absurdity to claims that the 100-hour week was the norm and comprised the majority/entirety of the time we worked there. If that is the case, I’m not sure why you would imply that anyone has said that a 100-hour week was the norm; the only mention of a 100-hour work week is a testimonial from an artist from the IGN article mentioning that he did those hours only on occasion, when milestones were due. To quote directly from the source:



“Of the three years that this artist spent at Team Bondi, he worked 60-hour weeks on average. To meet each development milestone – around one per month, he says – his workload would jump to between 80 and 110 hours per week, for a period of one to two weeks at a time.”



I would say "he worked 60-hour weeks on average" syncs up with the work hours that you mentioned, correct? No-one is saying we did 100-hour weeks *all* the time, because that'll be crazy. Unlike 60-hour weeks, right? I understand that you might not have been aware of some team members who weren’t in Programming taking on 100+ hour work weeks during certain periods - and thank you for the honesty for admitting as much.



So we now have multiple sources within and without corroborating Team Bondi's working hours – the difference being that the Bondi Eleven testimonials and a century’s worth of productivity studies view extended periods of 60+ hours work weeks as unhealthy, counter-productive and worthy of raising questions and attention, whilst Team Bondi leadership views this as acceptable and expected. So the picture is becoming clearer now.

TK Rose
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Just to clarify a couple more points on some of the wording used in your post, Dave:



On anonymity



Many of us ex-employees do not have the luxury of being in relatively secure, Lead positions. It would be extremely naive to believe that there wouldn’t be a possibility of adverse consequences for us if we fully disclose our identities. You have rightly pointed out a raft of local studio closures over the past year – hopefully everyone can appreciate how volatile and precarious it is to secure a position in the local scene.



If I must say so, the fact that so many ex-developers have eschewed the route of internalising their issues and chalking it up to personal misadventure and have instead embraced the security of anonymity to start a dialogue that affects *every* single developer across the globe is laudable.



Please understand that this isn’t a centralised ‘attack’ by a single clique of disgruntled employees – I don’t even know the identities of the Bondi Eleven (but I can corroborate their stories). The developers who helped form LANoireCredits.com did so without the knowledge that some of their peers were also involved in raising awareness of the working conditions at the studio. When a coordinated group of employees raises an issue, we may have an agenda; when multiple independent sources all feel the need to address a wrong, we have a genuine issue on our hands.



“Some ex-employees who left the company years ago want to see Team Bondi destroyed. They want to see 35 game developers out of a job.”



Would you care to point out any published quotes or comments from ex-Team Bondi employees to support this sentiment? The best public example (that I can think of) of a ‘Why are we doing this’ comment would be the LANoireCredits.com’s About page (http://lanoirecredits.com/about.html) – the intent is (hopefully) clear that educating future developers and preventing veterans from having extra reasons to be pushed away/abroad from the local industry is the ultimate goal. We *want* Team Bondi to be around but *vastly* improved – we don’t want any more developers leaving our shores. May I also ask, how many Team Bondi developers have done exactly this and left the Australian games industry for positions abroad once the game shipped?



Personally, I’m heartened to hear that Team Bondi is taking a serious look at the way projects are managed going forward – in my heart-of-hearts I would love to see Team Bondi advertise its commitment to Quality of Life standards and fair crediting practices openly on its careers page when it comes time to staff up for their next project. All this visibility being raised right now can be an opportunity for Team Bondi to take a stand and become a leader in how games are developed in this industry; to publicly commit to improving all the areas of concern highlighted by the testimonials that have been circulating around.



Hopefully this goes some way towards addressing your question of “What is the motivation of these ‘attacks’ on Team Bondi?”

Charles Lefebvre
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I have posted my letter as well.



http://gamasutra.com/blogs/CharlesLefebvre/20110714/7988/Another_
side_of_the_story.php

Alan Jack
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Just gonna throw this out there - LA Noire has more extraneous content than any game I've ever played. I, and several other people I know, hardly ever drove to the cases. Those who did happily confess it added nothing to the actual core experience. The game takes place in less than a third of the game world, maybe even less than a quarter.



How much of those 60 hours were spent on pointless asides, and how much was spent on core gameplay, I wonder? How much would a sensible paring down of the project have changed the development cycle, and how much would it have changed the finished product (my opinion: a whole lot, and very little, respectively)?

Ivan Beram
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I kind of agree with you, in that they could have made a far more limited game more along the lines of Heavy Rain, limited interactive spaces and far more of an adventure game in mechanics. The creation of an entire city says "open-world" and suggests "sandbox" to me, which I think the title failed to deliver; or more importantly, make use of this richly detailed -- if interactively poor -- period LA.



I can hardly think of any other game city that deserved more ways to interact with it, to experience it, yet in LA Noire's case all you do is drive from one homicide case location to the next with the only interaction with the game world being driving around in it.



Definitely a waste of resources and an opportunity to do something special.



You know, I suspect that even with all this controversy, that Team Bondi probably still haven't learnt their lesson(s). Getting LA Noire out the door and it being measurably successful, is most likely just going to justify the game taking 7-8 years and burning out and turning away so many from the local Australian industry.



I've read that Rockstar aren't eager to work with them anymore, and, it doesn't surprise.



When you look at the credits, it appears that Rockstar's engine (RAGE) was used. That Team Bondi ditched their own and only focused on adding their Motion Scan technology; which Rockstar already have some kind of agreement in place to use for future Rockstar games. Based on previous information, it's clear that Rockstar had a strong hand in both the creative direction of the interrogation / adventure gameplay and action gameplay of LA Noire -- without it, the game probably wouldn't have been released or at least to the quality level it was; another publisher would have forced it out the door a year ago and written it off. I also suspect that the praised "story" of the game was influenced by Rockstar so as to be more like LA Confidential and less like Chinatown -- so as to widen it's appeal to a broader and more traditional gaming demographic. I also can't shake the but feeling that if it weren't for the "goodwill" of the Rockstar brand with gamers in way of expectations and quality, the game wouldn't have been rated as high or sold as well; probably more along the lines of Heavy Rain sales-wise.



With all that, you have to wonder whether Rockstar would even need Team Bondi to make an LA Noire 2 instead of doing it all internally. You'd probably could get it out the door sooner, make it for less, and achieve a higher level of quality by them doing so.



I guess it all depends upon what was and wasn't signed away in order to get further funding from Rockstar in order to get LA Noire finished, and, just how bad the relationship may have spoiled. This controversy mustn't have helped in that regard, and I also wonder, what it has done for their prospects in finding other publishers willing to fund one of their games.



But then again, maybe they're betting that "Motion Scan" will fund their future games development, however, technology can be a rather shaky foundation to gamble your future upon as competitors can appear over night and the marketplace can radically change.



It also can have a rather long wait on return on investment...

Charles Lefebvre
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Not a single line of RAGE has been used in L.A. Noire.

TK Rose
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Just to clear up a common (but understandable) misconception; L.A. Noire runs on Team Bondi's own engine built here in Sydney.

Ivan Beram
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I guess that's good to hear for Team Bondi, as just Motion Scan on it's own is a bit pointless without an engine.



Still another reason it's probably a misconception, is that it "looks" so much like other Rockstar titles that have used RAGE -- probably more to do so with what the "genre" wants and the "hardware" (PS3) can provide.



And in regards to my other long-winded comment, Rockstar do have their own engine (RAGE) and from what I understand, some kind of license to use Motion Scan in Rockstar titles. LA Noire 2 could use RAGE as its engine.

Dan Felder
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It's an old story.



Team makes new game with brand new technology and gameplay for them.

Management makes some mistakes and the schedule or budget (or both) gets blown.

Game turns out crap, money is wasted, game developer possibly closes its doors.



However, Bondi's was a bit of a different story.



Team makes new game with brand new technology and gameplay for them.

Management makes some mistakes and the schedule or budget (or both) gets blown.

Extra effort is put in, game turns out polished and interesting.

Game developer pledges to learn from mistakes due to their commitment to quality.

McNamara seems to go out of his way to portray himself as an impractical, arrogant asshole.



Mistakes happen especially in things so very complex as dealing with new tech and a new style of game. If anyone hasn't tried to orchestrate something as relatively simple as a bakery's operations - they have no right to simply say, "management failure because they don't respect us creative geniuses". Operations is one of the most complex and confusing things out there, especially in creative industries where so much is fuzzy. I'm a creative myself, but I've had extensive training in operations and things are NOT easy to manage. Mistakes happen, especially with so many X factors, and when they do the company and its talent pay a price. All they can do is attempt to learn from it.



However, McNamara still seems like an asshole.

Dave Long
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Mistakes happen, but what frustates me is that the point you make here - they happen all the time, particularly in this situation. What separates good managers from the bad is that the good ones already know that whenever you try something new that there's bound to be a bunch of teething troubles that are impossible to foresee, and plan accordingly. I've seen many examples of good and bad management, and Team Bondi looks like an archetype of 'how not to manage a company'. Someone needs to give Brendan McNamara a study tour of Insomniac's operations ;).

Travis Johnson
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As a young developer just getting into the industry (6+ months now), I'm less concerned about long hours and unpaid overtime. I'm perfectly fine working 60+ hour weeks and weekends, seeing as I have no kids and a lifestyle easily supported by a junior-level salary. I definitely think professional game developers have the right to expect livable working conditions and practices that allow them to see their families, and I will always support movements to ensure these things.



Now, what really bothered ME as a junior was the allegation that Team Bondi created a whole new level of developer below junior (graduate junior developer, according to one article) that seemed designed to allow Team Bondi to burn through as many young developers as possible.



I have so many friends who get short-term, one time contracts and infinite internships and the like when they do the work of more senior developers. To people like us, who've just gotten our feet wet and are ready to prove ourselves, the fear that we'll never advance is worse than long hours and low pay.



If what I've read is true, Team Bondi used people as an expendable resource, using them up and giving them nothing in return except a paycheck--people like me with nothing but a portfolio and a LinkedIn need more than that (and, according to some allegations, they left people off the credits. Shipped titles are important for everyone, but if you're just out of school or just starting out, it instantly separates you from everyone else at your experience level).



I'm not saying Team Bondi needed to take every single kid under their wing and mold them as clay into strong developers for their own sake, but there's a large criticism that game companies don't do enough to grow their talent, and that's bad for the industry.



So personally, I'm pretty okay with Team Bondi being held up as a big example of How Not To Do It.

Chuck Suong
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so all this to say??????



is there such a thing as a VIDEO GAME ADVOCACY GROUP? if IGDA is investigating, what will they do after concluding that yes, there was exorbitant amount of employee abuse and crunch? will a class action suit going to stave off the big publishers from advocating / police-ing such practice? perhaps for a small amount of time to address their PR but then it'll all blow away w/ the ether. trust me folks, all this will blow over and life in the video game industry will be the same as we know it.

Christopher Parthemos
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To everyone suggesting that there's 'just no other way to manage a business' or for that manner, an industry, take time out of your next available day to watch "The Pixar Story." Now there may be a few people who've been burned by Pixar here and there, but if you watch the documentary (and if you, as I have, speak to people who work there -including my uncle) you'll see that their employees are happy. I think Pixar is a good reference point; sure film isn't interactive, but there's a lot of similarities in staffing an animated movie and a game... you still need artists, programmers, writers, and people who do some of all of the above.... and you still need good management.



I think what makes Pixar great - and you hear both their higher-ups and their new recruits say this a lot - is that everyone who works there has partial ownership of the finished project. You watch footage of their dailies, and even though people like John Lasseter make suggestions for how something should be changed, they're not barging into offices and saying 'do this my way'. What they're saying is 'I'm not sure this reads... how about [blank]". Basically, good creative management isn't impossible, it just requires a certain generosity. You have to be able to say 'I know at the beginning this game/movie was my idea, but now it belongs to everyone who has coded, scripted, modeled, textured, painted, voiced, and et ceteraed it'. And if you're making a movie as bad as Cars 2 or a game as bad as L.A Noire (for those who've boycotted it, congrats on saving 60 bucks), you might be glad you did anyway.

Dave Long
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It gives me the irrates time and time again to hear managers talk about their staff working as hard as they are as some kind of "so we were all in it together" - management are generally paid more and definitely have more responsibility, and where I work management work harder when crunch is on because of that pay and responsibility. And if deadlines aren't being met, then it's on the managers head for not anticipating appropriately, and they should take more of the blame, and take it on the chin. That's their bleeding job after all - to managed! Anything else and they're not managers, they're just passengers who've talked their way into a management position.



This letter from Dave only suggests to me that Team Bondi don't even know how bad at management they are. In their defence, most organisations don't, but most organisations haven't been called out as clearly as Team Bondi have. Man up Dave, and take it on the chin that if you were only working as hard as your staff because the managers didn't manage appropriately, then at least part of your job (management) was poorly done. Until you're honest with yourselves, and stop making up stories to try and deflect the blame - particularly as the story you paint in your letter above only makes you look worse to anyone who's actually had experience with effective management before.

Julian Cram
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No matter where you stand in an organisation, if you're not on the same page of the rest of the team, if people aren't aware of what's happening, that's an issue of poor communication which is ultimately a sign of poor management.



There is no contradiction between David's post and the anonymous posts - all of it is confirming Management screwed up.



The bigger issue is this continues to happen repeatedly at many different companies, and if the Games Industry in general wants to grow, this needs to stop. We need veterans and skilled people to remain in the games industry, so we need to build people up, not burn them out.



And the only way to stop it is talk about it. Raise these issues, point fingers in the right direction, stop excusing the various ways things have gone wrong and have those responsible accept blame, take responsibility, and work to correct the situation.

FRANCISCO javier
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Arbeit Macht Frei .



Indeed ,free enough to look for another job.


none
 
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