Since the dawn of time, crunch time plagues the games industry. From 14 hourswork days, six days a week to months without seeing their families, there’s no end to the brutal stories that developers have gone through in order to give us the best of the best. However, hope is not lost. Many AAA companies are slowly trying to fix this by implementing a variety of approaches to give employees a healthier work-life balance.
In an interview held during E3 2018, Waypoint spoke with Nintendo of America’s very own Reggie Fils-Aimé about the company’s practices and how they deal with the dreaded — and sometimes needed — crunch times.
When asked about how Nintendo is committed to providing work-life balance and combating crunch, Reggie explains, “Our approach is this: We flex through the use of contract employees. We flex in the way we work with our agency partners.” He goes on about the company’s mentality as well. “Our mentality is we’re going to flex by adding headcount as appropriate to help us get over a crunch. That’s the way we approach it.”
“We’re not asking people to do things that are unhealthy. That is not our approach.”
Furthermore, Reggie ensures that that’s always been the way Nintendo operates and they’re not gonna sacrifice that: “That’s is our course of business. That’s the way we operate. And so we’re not asking people to go for a couple days without sleep. We’re not asking people to ignore their family and friends and their social life. We’re not asking people to do things that are unhealthy. That is not our approach.”
In regards to Nintendo’s position as a platform holder and its ability to impact the industry with their approaches, Reggie says “Well, again, I believe the best way to lead the is through example. And so what we do is reinforce with the way we encourage our business partners to act with the way that we encourage, if you will, the community that we touch.”
It’s always good to see big companies valuing their game developers more and more. The industry as a whole still has a long way ahead to get rid of this issue, but if statements like Reggie’s are true, then there’s definitely hope.