“Dear Members and friends, I keep a little sign in my office that says “MAKING GAMES IS FUN”. I use it as an emotional barometer. If the sign ever seems ironic or sarcastic, I know that something is wrong with the way I am making games, and I try to fix it immediately. Unfortunately, recent events (lawsuits, the spouse letter, etc) make clear that there are far too many people making games in an atmosphere that is anything but fun. Crunch time is a fact of life for game developers. Of course we are going to work late sometimes; we love what we do. Our work is challenging, rewarding, and just plain fun.
That said, it is one thing to work extra hours on a project for the sheer joy of it, or to beat an occasional deadline, and quite another to have them mandated on an ongoing basis. Exploitative mandates take unfair advantage of our passion to do great work, and slowly choke that passion to death, leaving behind a burnt-out husk of disgust and regret. The game industry now has such a reputation for abusing its workers that as an educator, I frequently speak with talented students who have changed their career plans away from the game industry, because the idea of mandatory 60-80+ hour work weeks is repugnant to them. And of course, these are generally the wisest, most insightful students the ones that this industry really needs. We must find a way to reverse this self-destructive trend. As a start, I urge you all to read the IGDA Quality of Life Whitepaper http://www.igda.org/qol/, and to share your thoughts about how we can work together to stop this plague of joyless overwork. You might start by hanging up a little sign.”
- Jesse Schell Chairperson, IGDA Professor of Entertainment Technology, Carnegie Mellon University CEO, Schell Games