NeoCore Games is drawing heavy criticism for its offering the promise of 90+-hour work weeks as an apology for the delay of its forthcoming title Warhammer 40K: Inquisitor – Martyr.
In a blog post on the company’s website, producer Zoltán Pozsonyi announced that the game would not be ready to launch by its scheduled release date of May 11 due to “technical issues” that “were solved a bit late on one of the console platforms,” pushing the release back by less than one month to June 5.
Pozsonyi apologized to fans and offered a period of massive crunch as a penance to make it up to those who’d have to wait a bit longer for the title. “In return, we promise we’ll push this extra three weeks in 90+ hours per week so it’ll be very-very useful for Martyr,” he said.
The announcement of what would amount to 13-hour work days was later removed from the post, with NeoCore’s head of publishing, Linda Bozoradi, explaining away the crunch pledge as “an unfortunate joke” on Twitter.
The dismissal of the comment as a joke is difficult to accept when viewed against the history of game development and NeoCore’s own past updates on the game’s development. In a December update, Pozsonyi promised a new content update on Jan. 10, stating that “we’ll release the this patch even if the whole company has to spend Christmas and New Year’s Eve in the office.” Another update in March saw Pozsonyi claim, “many of us are already pulling 80+ hour weeks, as it usually goes during crunch time.”
Crunch has long been an issue within the games industry, with the practice being criticized as a violation of workers’ rights, and detrimental to employees’ health and overall well-being. It has been a major focus of the discussion around unionization within the development community in recent months.
NeoCore can say they’re kidding, but any belief in their joke will take much more convincing, given their history.