The Callisto Protocol director Glen Schofield has issued an apology for a now-deleted tweet that appeared to enthuse about crunch culture at his studio, Striking Distance. The team is currently working hard to complete the upcoming sci-fi horror adventure, with a launch date set for December 2022 – although it now appears the game may be a product of intense crunch.
‘I only talk about the game during an event,’ Schofield said on Twitter. ‘We r working 6-7 days a week, nobody’s forcing us. Exhaustion, tired, Covid but we’re working. Bugs, glitches, perf fixes. 1 last pass thru audio. 12-15 hr days. This is gaming. Hard work. Lunch, dinner working. U Do it cause ya luv it.’
As many have pointed out, Schofield’s comments seemed to imply the team at Striking Distance were working for at least 12-15 hours a day, up to 7 days a week to complete The Callisto Protocol. While Schofield seemed enthusiastic about these practices, many have pointed out this is the very definition of crunch culture.
With Schofield positioned as the head of Striking Distance, he sets the example for the entire team – with those underneath him forced to conform to ‘ideal’ crunch circumstances, likely leading to burnout and other health issues.
‘This, from a studio head, is crunch culture defined,’ Bloomberg journalist Jason Schreier wrote. Schreier has frequently reported on crunch culture at studios around the world.
‘Of course nobody is “forced” to work insane hours. But imagine the reduced bonuses and lack of promotion opportunities if you don’t? “You do it because you love it.” Weaponised passion. This is why people burn out of gaming.’
Read: Fallout 76 developers say studio crunch and mismanagement ‘destroyed people’
Following major backlash online, Schofield deleted his initial tweet, and apologised for his enthusiasm.
‘Anyone who knows me knows how passionate I am about the people I work with,’ Schofield said. ‘Earlier I tweeted how proud I was of the effort the hours the team was putting in. That was wrong. We value passion and creativity, not long hours. I’m sorry to the team for coming across like this.’
Notably, Schofield did not address the implication that the team was still working those ridiculously long hours, which have been proven to have a detrimental impact on mental and physical health.
The Callisto Protocol is one of few big-budget games that has yet to be delayed in 2022, with many major companies deciding to push back their game releases in an effort to improve game quality, as well as the mental well-being of staff in a new post-Covid status quo.
At this stage, it appears Striking Distance will continue ‘full speed ahead’ until December 2022, likely working longer hours and crunching to complete the game – according to Schofield’s own report. The Callisto Protocol is currently set to launch on 2 December 2022.