Treyarch Heads Respond to Report of Crunch and Other Poor Working Conditions at the Studio

In an internal email obtained by Kotaku, Treyarch has responded to the claims of intense crunch and other poor working conditions.

By Tanner Pierce

June 26, 2019

Earlier this morning, Kotaku released an extensive report about a number of different working conditions at Treyarch, the studio behind the Call of Duty: Black Ops series. The report goes into great detail about what has transpired at the studio over the past few years and how crunch has been almost ever-present on a variety of projects that have released over the past few years.

Now, in an internal email, the two heads of the company, Dan Bunting and Mark Gordon, have responded to the report. In the email, which was also obtained by Kotaku, the two studio heads wrote about how they first and foremost care about the well-being of all their employees. They went on to say that they are making plans to improve “work/life balance” at Treyarch by changing a number of different elements associated with how their games are made.

The full text of the email can be found as follows:


Today, Kotaku published a story that explores a number of reported behind-the-scenes issues in Black Ops 4 development. The first and most important statement that we want to make to the team is that, as managers of this studio, we take the well-being of every single individual working here very seriously.

We have a vision for the future of this studio that includes significant improvements to work/life balance, and we plan to achieve that through better project planning, streamlined production processes, and rigorous decision-making timelines. It is also our intention to maintain our commitment to increased transparency.

Getting there will require time, hard work, and commitment — most of all, it will require open communication. If you ever feel like your needs aren’t being met, please do not hesitate to communicate actively with your manager. No one should ever feel like they don’t have options, can’t talk openly, or that the only choice is to take their concerns to the public. These conversations should always start with an honest dialogue with your department manager, and if that’s not working, feel free to reach out to one of us.

Game development is a wildly complex art and it requires a diverse set of people and skill sets to do it successfully. It’s important for all of us to foster a studio culture that treats all team members with respect.

We appreciate the contributions made by all parts of the team in the name of the games we make.


Dan & Mark

The original report released this morning, which included accounts from multiple developers at Treyarch, revealed that the employees at the studio have been under an immense amount of crunch ever since before Black Ops 4 was released and that QA testers, in particular, have been treated worse than other departments. The full article is incredibly extensive and well worth the read, so I highly encourage you to go and do that.

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While Treyarch’s leads are saying internally that they are striving to achieve newfound work/life balance, this news of crunch at the studio coincides with previous reports that Treyarch is now readying Call of Duty: Black Ops 5 for release in 2020. Treyarch is said to have support from Sledgehammer and Raven in this endeavor, but the advent of Treyarch now leading development for this project is somewhat sudden and will shrink the typical development time of a Call of Duty game from three years to two. Because of this, it is thought that many developers at the company will have to work even more than normal to get the game out the door in time.

As for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, the game is set to get a new update on July 9, 2019, which will include the start of the next season of content for the game. If the previous updates are any indication, this will include new maps, weapons, and more.

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Tanner Pierce

Tanner Pierce is a Staff Writer at When he isn't writing, he is pursuing a major in Journalism at the University of Central Florida.

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