NetherRealm studios is currently on a high right now, what with the release of Mortal Kombat 11 and the game getting stellar reviews. What’s not so hot though, is that several former employees have come out to reveal that the studio has terrible working conditions, and that it was common for workers to endure 80-100 hour work weeks without proper compensation.
This comes after news of Epic Games ‘intense crunch’ when it came to Fortnite. Jiminy Snackmouth had started a thread on Twitter talking about his horrible experience working on Mortal Kombat 9. This was the first post:
PC Gamer has also had contact with Isaac Torres, a former QA tester from NetherRealm who worked on Injustice. Torres had wrote:
"I was tired all the time. It took me about 30-45 mins to get home since I had to take a bus. But I know someone who stayed on the couch in the office to not risk falling asleep while driving. I literally had no life for several months. There just wasn’t time. I would get to work at 9 or 10 am. I would leave at 2-3 am. And then that process would mostly repeat itself. Honestly, I have no clue how I did it. I’m pretty sure I aged 20 years in the span of three months."
There were also some who talked about the poor compensation for employees, some getting paid $12 on hourly wage. During these “crunch times”, it was actually common for some developers to walk around the office in pajamas, not to mention there was said to be a lot of harassment plus poor conduct from supervisors.
Now that I think about it, though some studios get flak for delaying the release of their games, it was probably for the best, seeing as developers who release games on time seem to be overworking their employees. I’m not saying that every studio does this, but hopefully this coming out will spark some big change when it comes to the crunch culture of game development.
I’m not really someone to throw any ideas of what should change in the industry, but hopefully some fans will come to appreciate (and even support) the devs who make their games possible, and realize just how much work was put into the games they play.