According to an expose published by Polygon, the work expectations at Epic Games are causing employees massive amounts of stress as they work long hours.
The game industry has a crunch problem. “Crunch” is the term given to a group of employees who need to work long hours in order to finish a task.
In video game development, crunch is usually common in the month leading up the release of a game.
But in the Epic Games’ studios in Cary, North Carolina, Crunch has become a common occurrence.
Polygon is a leading site in games journalism and they talked with various former and current Epic employees about the work culture at the studio.
Here are some of the choice quotes from the article:
“I work an average 70 hours a week,” said one employee. “There’s probably at least 50 or even 100 other people at Epic working those hours. I know people who pull 100-hour weeks. The company gives us unlimited time off, but it’s almost impossible to take the time. If I take time off, the workload falls on other people, and no one wants to be that guy.
“The executives keep reacting and changing things,” said the source. “Everything has to be done immediately. We’re not allowed to spend time on anything. If something breaks — a weapon, say — then we can’t just turn it off and fix it with the next patch. It has to be fixed immediately, and all the while, we’re still working on next week’s patch. It’s brutal.”
And the punishment for not working the supposedly optional hours was swift:
“I know some people who just refused to work weekends, and then we missed a deadline because their part of the package wasn’t completed, and they were fired,” said another source. “People are losing their jobs because they don’t want to work these hours.”
With all the money Epic was making, some of that went back to the producers which helped them endure, but there’s only so many back-t-to-back weeks people can work:
“It is a hard, grindy, crunchy life,” said one source. “Everyone understands. You are being paid more money than most people will ever make in their careers anywhere else. Your time is bought and accounted for; shut up, keep your head down, and do the work.
Those weekly patches that keep Fortnite fresh put an absurd amount of pressure on developers. How do you think the community would react if they came out every two weeks instead?
“As Fortnite Battle Royale became popular, it changed to having to get a feature done, with hardly any notice, and then having people stay until that feature was ready. So we went from having a month to prepare, to sometimes having as little as a day. A lot of it was mandatory staying at work with no notice until the job was done. Marketing had made a promise, and so we were told that it had to be done.”
There are tons more interesting points made in the article so check it out if this is interesting to you. They also cover responses from Epic spokespeople to bring the other side of the story.
Epic Games compensate Fortnite & Rocket League players who bought loot boxes
Epic Games are giving Fortnite Save the World players who purchased random Loot Llamas V-Bucks following a class action lawsuit.
Are you wondering ‘why did Fortnite give me 1,000 VBucks?’ Well, Epic Games are offering Fortnite and Rocket League players who bought random loot boxes 1,000 VBucks and Rocket League Credits.
Whether or not you like the feeling of opening random loot boxes in video games, it seems to be on its way out. We’re at the point where governments are even getting involved, calling these systems “gambling” that’s aimed at children.
On the whole, loot boxes are bad for the consumer. Instead of buying the cosmetics you want, loot boxes force you to gamble that you’ll get something cool and useful. You could, but you could also get something you’ll never use.
Loot boxes have been an extremely successful source of profit for a lot of game developers. Some are more predatory than others, as they offer in-game advantages that reward players for gambling real-world money.
Fortnite V-Buck compensation
In its early days, Fortnite was no different from a lot of these games. When Fortnite was Save the World-only, they offered random loot boxes in the form of Loot Llamas. You could gain powerful schematics and rare characters from these loot boxes, giving the game a pay-to-win feel.
Once Battle Royale took off, Epic changed the system in favor of a more transparent model. With their BR offering, Epic also changed the gaming monetization landscape for the better with the introduction of the Battle Pass. Now, you’d be hard-pressed to find a game that doesn’t offer such a system.
Years after discontinuing loot boxes, Epic are compensating players who purchased items through their old system. “With preliminary approval for a class action settlement,” they wrote in a blog post, “We’re awarding 1,000 V-Bucks to anyone that purchased a random Loot Llama. While this settlement was for U.S. players only, we have decided to make this benefit available to players globally.”
This reward extends to one of Epic’s new properties, Rocket League. Epic purchased Psynoix, Rocket League’s developer, in 2019. Since then, they completely redesigned their monetization system – moving it away from a CS:GO-style crate & key system and toward the Fortnite Battle Pass system.
Rocket League players who purchased keys will also receive 1,000 Rocket League coins – enough to unlock the current Rocket Pass.
Whether you’re a fan of Fortnite or not, there’s no denying that Epic have helped change gaming monetization for the better. Loot boxes are on their way out of gaming, and Epic played a huge role in that shift.
Fortnite devs finally respond to longstanding controller inventory bug
After over a year, Epic Games have finally confirmed that they’re investigating the notorious controller inventory bug.
Fortnite controller players have been complaining about a frustrating inventory bug for well over a year. Finally, after months of silence, Epic have acknowledged the issue.
Fortnite is one of the first and only games to bring cross-platform to competitive play. Controller players on all platforms compete in the same bracket as PC players on mouse and keyboard.
You can mention the advantages and disadvantages of each input, but there are a few things that fall outside of the typical “balance” conversation. One of these things is a bug that has been affecting controller players for well over a year.
Epic respond to longstanding Fortnite controller bug
This controller inventory bug has been in the game since NICKMERCS was still streaming Fortnite every day.
For the entirety of Fortnite’s lifespan, controller players would open their inventory to find their cursor on their first slot. From there, there was consistency regarding where you wanted to move your weapons and items or drop materials for a teammate.
A bug surfaced over a year ago, causing controller players to have their equipped item be the first thing selected when opening their inventory. What’s worse is that sometimes, multiple items would be selected and it would freeze the screen, forcing you to back out and re-enter the inventory.
Naturally, this led to a lot of frustration within the community. Several Reddit threads popped up showcasing and complaining about the bug, but Epic never seemed to take notice.
This was the case until Redditor gh0stly2 tagged the Epic development team in the comments of one of these posts.”We know you guys see this stuff,” he wrote, “and it’s really unacceptable that this has been in the game for a whole year. Get rid of it.”
To his surprise, the team responded, saying, “Thanks for the tag and bringing to our attention. Eyes on it now,” and confirming that they’re tracking the issue.
At the time of writing, the issue still isn’t posted on the Fortnite Community Issues Trello board, but the Reddit post is only a day old. We expect to see the problem addressed in a future patch, as Epic still need to do some investigating.
This change might be coming a bit late, but it’s good to know that Epic are finally looking into the problem and will be working on a fix. For now, that’s all we can ask.
When does Fortnite Season 5 end and Season 6 begin?
Fortnite Season 5 will eventually come to an end, giving way to Season 6. Here’s what we know about the Fortnite Season 6 release date.
The Fortnite Season 6 release date is still decently far away. Here’s everything we know about the new Fortnite season so far.
Fortnite Season 5 was a return to form for the game, mirroring the popularity of the same season in Chapter 1. The game feels fresh and new again – something that hasn’t been the case for a long time.
Still, fans are looking forward to when the next Fortnite season will begin. Not everything about the new season is perfect, and some players are ready to move on from the quests, NPCs, and IO Guards.
Fortnite Season 6 release date
Fortnite Season 5 will be longer than a traditional Fortnite season, but that’s to be expected. We’re not talking Chapter 2 Season 1 and 2 long, but it will be above average in length.
This is, of course, because the season takes place over the holidays. Fortnite developers are going on break and extending the season.
Fortnite Season 6 is scheduled to release on March 15, 2021. Players still have about a month to finish the Battle Pass at the time of writing.
What will Epic do with the last month of Fortnite Season 5 content? Your guess is as good as ours.
We’ll likely see a few more Bounty Hunters added to the game, along with characters from familiar video game series.
There’s even speculation that Kevin the Cube will make an appearance before the end of the season. We still have a lot of content to discover, so don’t wish away Season 5 so quickly.
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