The lights are on
Inspired by recent allegations of overworking at L.A. Noire developer Team Bondi, former head studio programmer Glenn Watson has blown the whistle regarding possible unfair work practices at the Auckland, New Zealand branch of mobile games developer Gameloft.
Gameloft, which was founded by Ubisoft's owners the Guillemot brothers, produces games mainly for mobile phones, and has studios all around the world. Watson told games.on.net of the studio's "dangerous working conditions," including some weeks where he was working 100 to 120 hours. Watson said he decided to resign after a month of working 14-hour days, including weekends.
Watson says that Gameloft's main office pushed artificial deadlines onto the studio and seemed more concerned about getting product out than rectifying a perpetual crunch time development culture that, in Watson's view, created poor work from its developers. Watson believes that Gameloft's work practices constitute a violation of New Zealand's 2002 Health and Safety in Employment Act, but so far he hasn't gotten any engagement with Gameloft on the issue. Site games.on.net says that Gameloft has declined its interview requests and not issued a statement on the matter.
Although games.on.net says that other developers have confirmed Watson's statements anonymously, Watson himself says that he felt he had to come out front and center with what he's seen. "Gameloft asked me to ‘apologise’ for leaving the studio and shouldering others with the burden of my work. I feel the best apology I can give is to ensure that they never get put through the same rubbish conditions again."
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