Hideo Kojima has said that Death Stranding‘s developers are in “crunch time” in order to complete the game, and that Kojima Productions is trying its best “to deliver the product” ahead of its November 8 release date. With multiple recent reports of poor working conditions in the games industry, Kojima’s choice of wording here is questionable, with some criticizing him as a result.
Kojima discussed the “crunch time of dev” in a recent tweet, which inevitably drew comparisons with reports surrounding game development crunch. As noted in reports stemming from the likes of EA, Rockstar, and Epic Games, crunch can see developers being overworked for lengthy periods of time in order to ensure that a game meets its targets.
The reports emanating from the games industry regarding crunch saw many call for unionization, with unpaid overtime being a widespread issue. Despite this, Kojima concluded a tweet discussing Death Stranding‘s “world atmosphere” by stating that Kojima Productions was now crunching in order to complete its development of the game.
DEATH STRANDING has the element of something never existed before, the gameplay, the world atmosphere, the visuals which we aimed to create. The studio I established was tiny indies but trying our best to deliver the product launching on Nov 8th. Still in crunch time of dev🌈 pic.twitter.com/sNvTAc7wwB
— HIDEO_KOJIMA (@HIDEO_KOJIMA_EN) August 1, 2019
Kojima reportedly faced extensive crunch during his time with Konami. In 2015, Kotaku reported that the publisher was “treating its staff like prisoners,” and that “employees leaving the company offices during their lunch break are having their absences monitored with time cards. Those who stay out too long are having their names announced throughout the company.”
The stories surrounding crunch in the games industry have largely centered around US publishers and developers. Kojima Productions’ headquarters are located in Tokyo, Japan, so the Death Stranding director may not be aware of the reports surrounding EA, Epic Games, and the like.
Some have either criticized Kojima’s use of the term crunch, or have encouraged him to not overwork himself or the dev team.
“Crunch time is not a good time,” one response reads. “Even if you are japanese. Stop glorifying it, we won’t love you more for saying or doing that to your team. We much prefer a team of happy people even if we have to wait some more.”
Death Stranding isn’t set to be released until November, so if Kojima Productions is in “crunch time,” that’s a lengthy period of time for them to be working to such a standard. Hopefully, Kojima Productions is still taking care of its developers, even with the release of Death Stranding around the corner.
What is Death Stranding?
“From legendary game creator Hideo Kojima comes an all-new, genre-defying open world action adventure for PS4, starring Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Léa Seydoux and Lindsay Wagner,” Death Stranding‘s description reads.
“In the near future, mysterious explosions have rocked the globe, setting off a series of supernatural events known as the Death Stranding. With otherworldly creatures plaguing the landscape, and mass extinction imminent, it’s up to Sam Porter Bridges to travel across the ravaged wasteland and save humanity from impending annihilation.”
Death Stranding will be released on PS4 on November 8, 2019.