Crunch, as it’s called, has become status quo for the video game industry, as normal to game developers’ lives as daily commutes or lunch breaks. From multimillion-dollar blockbusters like Call of Duty to niche RPGs like Trails, just about every video game in history is the net result of countless overtime hours, extra weekends, and free time sacrificed for the almighty deadline. This crunch comes in many different forms—sometimes it’s long and drawn-out; sometimes it’s just a few weeks at the end of a project—but for people who work in video games, it’s always there. And because most game developers work on salaries, it’s almost always unpaid.
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Written by Jason Schreier for Kotaku