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Uncharted Writer Criticizes AAA Gaming Industry, Says It’s Not Worth It

Uncharted Writer Criticizes AAA Gaming Industry, Says It’s Not Worth It

Amy Hennig, the writer behind the critically acclaimed Uncharted series, has publicly denounced the AAA gaming industry, saying that the conditions under which the people making the games work are unacceptable.

In an audio interview for the Idle Thumbs Designer Notes podcast, here’s what Hennig had to say when asked about how the industry’s standards affect her personally, “Really hard. The whole time I was at Naughty Dog – ten and a half years – I probably, on average, I don’t know if I ever worked less than 80 hours a week. There were exceptions where it was like ‘Okay, let’s take a couple of days off’, but I pretty much worked seven days a week, at least 12 hours a day.

A lot of the team was there. I mean, Naughty Dog is pretty notorious for the amount of crunch, but obviously in a leadership role you try and do even more. You may not be hands-on with the game as much, but you’re writing, you’re reviewing stuff. Maybe you’re working with the composer, reviewing the music, giving them notes. It’s like being a film director.”

When asked whether making the AAA games was worth this kind of a lifestyle, she immediately refused, saying, “I don’t think so. There’s people who never go home and see their families. They have children who are growing up without seeing them. I didn’t have my own kids. I sort of chose my career in lots of ways, and I could be single-minded like that. When I was making sacrifices, did it affect my family? Yes, but it was primarily affecting me and I could make that choice. But when I look at other people… I mean, my health really declined, and I had to take care of myself, because it was, like, bad. And there were people who, you know, collapsed, or had to go and check themselves in somewhere when one of these games were done. Or they got divorced. That’s not okay, any of that. None of this is worth that.”

Some of the points Hennig mentioned are thought provoking, especially when she expands on the problems that currently exist in the AAA games industry, “We have to get our act figured out as an industry, and the problem is that the ante keeps getting upped. It’s an arms race that is unwinnable and is destroying people. I have seen so many people that have been in the AAA space for a long time packing it in and going to do VR, going indie, going casual…People are just sick of that. So one of my challenges, one of the things I’m thinking about is how can we still make games like this in a way that is sane and responsible and ethical? Because we’re not doing it right now.”

It’s not a hard thing to notice that over the recent years, AAA titles have become more about getting the most money out of the community, and the biggest players in the industry are more concerned about pushing a certain number of games every year rather than focusing on quality, turning beloved series like Assassin’s Creed and Call of Duty into annual crapfests that disappoint their fans.

We shouldn’t be lauding games that are soaked in the blood of the people that made them.”, Amy Hennig says about these AAA titles. And it couldn’t have been put better.

You can check out the entire podcast on Idle Thumbs.

For more news and reviews, keep checking back at Gaming Central.

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