Epic Boss Responds To Explotaitive Working Condition Claims

Epic Games president Michael Capps speaks extensively with Joystiq regarding accusations of employee exploitation that have recently been causing a bit of a stir.

The uproar began when industry critic Greg Costikyan called out Capps for comments made during an Independent Game Developers Association panel last year. During the talk he indicated that working 60 plus hours was expected at Epic, and that people only willing to work the minimum 40 hours weren't the sort of people that would fit with the company. Costikyan was appalled that a member of the IDGA board, as Capps was at the time, would champion overworking developers while representing an organisation meant to support them.

In Joystiq's extensive interview, Capps outlines and defends Epic's policies, punctuating the importance of hiring enthusiastic employees who are passionate about what they do. He also gives his thoughts as to why a comment he made last year was suddenly causing such uproar on the internet and IGDA forums.

I think probably has a little bit to do with me being so confident that we are doing the right thing. I think they want everyone who crunches always to be contrite about it and say, "We're so sorry we fucked up, we didn't mean to let anybody work more than 40 hours a week. This is a huge disaster. We'll never do it again." We don't feel that way. We're very confident we did it the right way. We've done it 18 times and we're going to do it a 19th time and everybody here knows we're going to do it a 19th time. We're not lying and saying "Oh, we blew it!" I think that really bothers folks who have seen people do it, overwork someone, and then when we say "Yes, we crunch and we burst sometimes," confidently, like we know what we're doing and we're sharing that message. Because I really think Epic knows what it's doing and we've proven that again and again. We've been very successful. I think that really upsets people.

There's so much to the interview that it's relatively difficult to condense down into one or two lines. Hit the link to check out the entire thing. It's a fascinating look into the inner workings of a big-name development studio.

Joystiq interview: Epic's Michael Capps responds to accusations of 'exploitative' working conditions [Joystiq]


    I'm disgusted by the comments to this article. Jesus guys, how do you expect people to improve themselves if ALL THEY ARE DOING IS WORKING?
    Perhaps this is why they can't make anything that doesn't involve a giant gun and shiny, unvaried materials - because their designers are so zonked from their ridiculous workload that they just can't think of anything else.

    I don't care if they do get overtime. I'd turn down a job at Epic with those hours expected. Some of us have lives outside of work, and I'd like to think it's just as important as shipping a game. Besides, can't Epic just HIRE MORE STAFF if they want more content? What are they, poor?

    I feel sorry for Capps, he’s taking a lot of rage for something that is really taken out of context.

    Anyone who has done uni will have experienced this, the cycle from steady to light workload at the beginning of semester to the late night sessions and total social blackout for a month at the end of semester. And any deadline-oriented job is like that. Be it games development, contract work, construction, consultancy, (even journalism as he points out in the interview).

    You’re working to a deadline and that’s the reality of your career. Capps isn’t expecting 60 hours work every day from his employees all year round, but when that 1-2 month crunch time hits anyone not willing to put in the overtime, that sits there and refuses to work over the minimum required hours is dead weight on his team.

    I can't believe this idiot! What an appalling attitude! What's worse is that his peers point out his disgusting point of view, he still thinks he's right.

    What's the matter Capps? Not good enough at your job to develop better processes to minimise overtime?

    Well, at least you're honest in letting your employees know you don't care about them.

    You're actually a f**k Capps. Seriously are you retarded or something?

    Just because you've "done it before 18 times" doesn't make it the right thing to do. If the only reason you're hitting schedules is because the team is putting in 60+ hour weeks, then you need to GET A NEW SCHEDULE.

    You've just demonstrated how stupid you are as a human being.

    As for the comment above about being a uni student. I'm a university student myself, and just because many late night study sessions towards the end of semester are common, that doesn't make them healthy. If anything after experiencing such a cram, it should encourage you to study a bit harder earlier on in the semester, to distribute the workload. Also it's a very different thing when you have a family.

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