Fortnite Developers May Work Up to 100-Hour Work Weeks, According to Report
According to a report, Fortnite developers at Epic Games undergo through crunch, with work weeks going up 70 to 100 hours.
It should come as no surprise that the most popular game today has a significant workforce behind it. But with growing concerns about less than ideal work environments, particularly due to “crunch,” or intense overtime, it seems that the company behind Fortnite is now under scrutiny for its workplace practices. According to a report from Polygon, current and former employees of Epic Games have said that they could work up to 70 hours a week, and even as many as 100 hours in one week.
The report tells a tale familiar to anyone following other studios like Rockstar Games with Red Dead Redemption 2, in that Epic Games is also reported to encourage a culture of pressure and fear on its workers. While overtime is technically voluntary, it is encouraged within the company. These long hours are said to have led to health issues for employees.
While workers are given “unlimited time off,” those working on the game usually elect not to in order to avoid their workload dropping on a colleague. “…no one wants to be that guy,” one anonymous Epic Games employee told Polygon. With Fortnite being as much a service as it is a game, the battle royale mode, which is on essentially all modern platforms, is constantly updated.
As “executives are focused on keeping Fortnite popular for as long as possible,” especially with competitors such as Apex Legends emerging, the pressure is on the employees to constantly evolve the game. Cases came up where Epic employees refused to work on weekends, which led to missed deadlines and eventual termination from their employment.
This report goes on, with similar anecdotes from different perspectives within and outside of Epic. As with internal employees, contractors who declined to work long hours were quickly replaced. “All [management] wanted was people who are disposable,” another source told Polygon. And as Fortnite grew in popularity, so did the need for customer service, with support tickets growing from around 20 to 40 tickets a day to around 3,000. While management “threw more bodies” at the problem, a lack of training for new customer service people proved to be a problem.
While a spokesperson for Epic Games provided a couple of statements, touting their hiring practices and their growing workforce, many of the concerns, which included overbearing workloads and emotional breakdowns from employees, were not directly addressed by the Fortnite studio.