Mobile studio Gameloft has been accused of overworking staff to “dangerous” levels, with a former staff member leveling some incredibly huge allegations at the creator of such titles as Asphalt and N.O.V.A.
“Some weeks I was working 100 to 120 hours a week,” said former New Zealand studio head Glenn Watson. “Starting at 9:30 AM, going home at 2:30 AM, and then coming back into the office at 8:30 AM to start work again was not unusual. There were other times when I would be called back into the office at 11:30 PM by the studio producer, only to head home again at 2:30 AM. It was after I worked four consecutive weeks of fourteen-hour days — including weekends — that I realised I needed to resign.”
Watson and anonymous corroborators have stated that the French headquarters would often manufacture false deadlines to deliberately create panic and frenzied “crunch” periods. One junior programmer allegedly worked a 24-hour stint to meet these demands. It is said that Gameloft told anybody who refused to work their “contractual hours” that they were free to go, despite the working conditions violating New Zealand’s healthy and safety laws.
In the wake of the Team Bondi controversy, these accusations are not only timely, but potentially far more serious. Gameloft is yet to respond, but as someone who counted himself a fan of the studio, I hope we hear more about the situation soon, because those kinds of conditions are, quite frankly, pathetic.