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Inside the development crunch pandemic – part two

Tuesday, 14 January 2014 07:45 GMT By Dave Cook

Talent burnout, hospitalisation and a culture of fear – is this what you sign up for when you enter games development? VG247′s Dave Cook continues his investigation into crunch.

You can find the first part of this feature here. In it, we discussed how Crytek’s tweet about Ryse: Son of Rome’s crunch period saw it hit by a public backlash, and I hear from developers working within the industry today about why they feel crunch happens. There are some pretty harrowing stories in there, some of which we elaborate on below.

Working cultures vary on a company-to-company basis, so it’s clear that the definition of development crunch time is both malleable and occasionally misrepresented. Several developers told me that yes, crunch is a disruptive aspect of development typically born from issues above their pay-grade, but in some cases it is entered into willingly to ensure projects ship at a certain level of quality. Games take years to create after all, and no one really wants to ship a poor product after all that work. Pride, it seems, is a double-edged sword in the games industry.

“I know people who have been hospitalised because of overworking. Alcoholism and substance abuse isn’t unheard of. Crunch isn’t a healthy lifestyle but, to a teenager, spending all night making video games and eating pizza sounds like a dream.”

In one instance, a UK-based developer told me that crunch founded in enthusiasm and that sense of pride should be distinguished from examples where overtime is forced. They explained, “I’d like to distinguish independent developers doing overtime out of a genuine love and enthusiasm, and larger developers mandating overtime in order to ship a product on time. I would never want to stop the former, but it can often muddy the waters when discussing the topic.

“There is also a element of bravado and trading war stories such as, ‘the time I rushed back from a gig in London to fix a build, and got out of the office at 5am,’ and, ‘spending weeks doing a full UK working day, then staying in the office for the Californian working day in case the publisher had any problems.’ While this feeling of camaraderie can at times be fun, it should not be seen as a genuine positive of crunch; this is resilience in the face of a bad situation.

“Mandated overtime means burning out talent, driving people out of the industry, and short-sighted thinking. Particularly for programming, it is ultimately self-defeating – once you reach a certain level of sleep deprivation, then you are creating more bugs than you are fixing. I know that for myself and many programmers, the best ideas come not while staring at a screen, but in the shower, or even the very moment I step out of the office and into the fresh air. Time spent in the chair is only loosely correlated with amount and quality of work done.”

I was repeatedly told that the definition of crunch can vary from a few hours overtime and a free pizza on your desk, to a full week of 12-hour shifts without compensation. The only constant is that either small or significant, any amount of overtime results in the disruption of a person’s work-life balance. Getting home late is one thing, but turning your social and home life on its head can bear serious mental and physical ramifications.

Unfortunately, this happens more than you’d want to believe and can result in fractured relationships, divorce and in one interviewee’s experience, thoughts of suicide. Some of the developers I spoke with revealed that their bosses regularly played the guilt card when trying to off-load their role in crunch, and countered that they should feel privileged to work in such a booming, fun industry. It’s easy to overlook the ‘cool,’ ‘laid-back’ image of the hip game designer chasing their dream when you’re working yourself into an early grave.

How damaging is crunch time?

Legislation governing what constitutes fair working hours varies from country to country. Here in Europe, the Working Time Directive states that EU workers have a legal right to a set holiday allowance, an 11 hour break for every 24-hours worked, and a cap of 48 working hours in any given week. Based on stories from my interviewees, such rules are regularly, legally broken within the games industry, and it was suggested that both internal HR departments and management are either unwilling to comply or change the working culture to fair standards.

“Taking a mental health day, just to get away from work for no real ‘reason,’ is maligned, ridiculed, or outright denied in a lot of cases. A lot of employers frown on taking vacation, even when that vacation is paid and a part of the employee’s compensation.”

If crunch is considered bad here, then reports coming out of China’s Foxconn manufacturing plant suggest that the nation’s working culture is worse. One employee at a Chinese firm told me, “Two of my colleagues got so depressed from the work and hours that we were doing that some of us were afraid they’d do something stupid. Maybe not suicide, although it did cross one of the two’s mind – he told me as much a short while ago – but certainly just running away without any preparation.”

It’s hard to fathom something as radical as simply up and leaving your place and work with no plan B, but it’s telling that these employees considered it. Other interviewees stressed that crunch understandably increased when they decided to start a family, while another stated that their colleagues became irritable once work mounted. Eventually, the sound of friends screaming abuse at one another across the office became a regular occurrence. The common image of workers lying awake at night, unable to sleep due to stress was also cited, and one respondent revealed that a friend’s wife asked him for a divorce due to the time he was spending at work.

Another employee – who currently rates his social life as “non-existent” – stated, “I’ve seen and experienced both physical and mental damage during crunch periods. I and others gain weight during crunch because the food provided is usually unhealthy (snacks and take-out meals for dinner). It’s also much more difficult to exercise regularly. I’ve personally had emotional breakdowns and experienced lots of stress because I’ve felt like I haven’t been effective enough at my job. I’ve seen colleagues leave the industry because they couldn’t do it any more.”

The point at which work impedes dangerously on a person’s well-being is subjective, as we each have our own tolerance for stress and capacity when working above and beyond our job descriptors. It’s reasonable to assume that a company – any company – would begin to take stock of its working practices, should an employee take ill as a result of being over-worked. For one of the developers who stood forward to speak with me, that simply didn’t happen.

“I know people who have been hospitalised because of overworking,” they said. “Alcoholism and substance abuse isn’t unheard of. Crunch isn’t a healthy lifestyle but, to a teenager, spending all night making video games and eating pizza sounds like a dream. I’ve worked with young people that see this as a right of passage and aspire to be working in a team doing exactly that. Have you ever tried telling a teenager not do something that’ll harm them longer term? Yeah, good luck with that.”

They added, “Every studio wants the best for their employees, without question. I know of various studios that have tried to pay overtime or have rules like ‘no crunch’ and all of them have failed and no longer exist. I’m not saying that crunch means success, far from it. The issue is that getting the freedom and means to do the best for your employees means you need stability and money. The games industry isn’t stable. The games industry is a constant gamble and the illusion of stability that a publisher brings with his big chequebook means unreasonable deadlines and crunch are sure to follow.”

“I saw a colleague actually sleep under his desk prior to E3 a few years ago. He’d just had a kid and was spending his evenings glued to server builds and not seeing those moments. That was when I made decision to get out AAA.”

We’re back in familiar territory now. It should now be clear that crunch is a regular problem in the games industry, and one that goes hand-in-hand with money. If clients – typically a publisher or hiring studio – are to keep funding a team, they will expect projects to be completed on time, within budget and with little complication. That means no changes to their master plan, no costly amendments and for the title to be shippable by launch. The targets simply must be met, even – it seems – if it costs employees their health and home-life.

One producer told me that his background is littered with crunch woes, and that he now works at a small indie studio. Part of his job is to actively avoid over-working his staff throughout development. He stressed, “Work-life balance is important for staying sane, staying healthy, staying motivated, and staying engaged, and even the most ardent, dedicated employee will get burned out eventually if all they do is work.

“It shows in their attitude and in the quality of their work, and if it goes unaddressed, it can have a ripple effect on the people around them. I think it’s important to have someone at work, whether it’s HR, a producer, a lead, or the CEO, who’s job (or part of it) is to ensure that the studio, and all the employees in it, maintains that balance as much as possible, even outside of crunch. If an employee is an asset to the studio, as every employee should be, someone at work should be empowered to say, ‘You’re hitting it too hard. Go home and get some rest.’”

“I think there’s a stigma against self-care,” he added, “not only in the games industry but in a lot of jobs in the United States. Taking a mental health day, just to get away from work for no real ‘reason,’ is maligned, ridiculed, or outright denied in a lot of cases. A lot of employers frown on taking vacation, even when that vacation is paid and a part of the employee’s compensation. It’s a culture that encourages or even demands that people put work before all else, and crunch is the worst-case example of that.”

It would be interesting to see just how many game studios out there actively employ someone to monitor workplace stress and to take steps when a worker is clearly suffering as a result. Human resources teams are a staple in many companies, but when I asked my interviewees if their own departments saw any real HR assistance during crunch, or other forms of compensation, the idea was routinely scoffed at.


Can anything be done?

You’d like to think that there’s always someone to talk to when work starts to negatively impact your life. On more than one occasion, the developers I spoke with revealed that they had been laughed at when highlighting problems to their resident HR professionals, with one person saying that HR simply, “aren’t on your side.’ This paints a worrying image of how crunch time is regarded in the games industry. I asked the group if their superiors really felt that the problem is immune to change, and if they were ever offered any rewards for their extra effort.

In one instance, an interviewee told me that their workplace only recently established an HR department, while another explained that in their experience, being paid extra for an unreasonable amount of overtime simply didn’t happen. “I’ve never heard of anyone being paid overtime during crunch. The overwhelming majority of people I know in the industry are salaried, and it’s very easy to overlook things like overtime when you’re a salaried employee.

“I think the games industry is one of many industries guilty of exploiting the salaried/hourly (or exempt vs. non-exempt, in reference to overtime guidelines) delineation of employees, greatly to the benefit of the employer. If studios had to pay out overtime for all their employees, I think the work-life balance and the attitude towards crunch would be a lot different.”

“You were deducted year bonus ‘points’ for leaving at six, even if you only did it once a week. Six or seven day weeks were also not at all uncommon. When we saw the tweet from Crytek my colleagues and I joked to each other that at least they got their meals fully compensated.”

Recalling a notably flagrant breach of HR policy, one UK developer claimed, “I saw a colleague actually sleep under his desk prior to E3 a few years ago. He’d just had a kid and was spending his evenings glued to server builds and not seeing those moments. That was when I made decision to get out of AAA.” He added that the possibility of overtime is often written into work contracts, and that most experienced employees instantly recognise it as an inevitability, rather than something that may occur. He agreed that if you’re lucky, you may even be provided with guidelines on how to deal with the extra workload and minimise any attached health issues.

Speaking of HR guidelines and contracts, another British employee stated that while all the studios he knows work to comply with employment legislation, they also work opt-outs from the Working Time Directive into employee contracts knowingly, meaning they can be overworked without repercussion. On potential compensation he added, “Here is where it gets really dodgy: bonuses. Or at least the hope or promise of a bonus. The temptation for crunch is that the game does better, sells millions upon millions and everyone gets to be the next Scrooge McDuck, swimming in gold. Never happens. Unless you’re the publisher.”

In Japan, one developer stated that his previous firm doled out bonuses as reward for hitting an “imaginary milestone,” and and suggested that it was “hush money,” more than anything else – a way to keep employees both compliant and to stop them from talking about their treatment externally. When I asked if he had ever approached the company’s HR department to raise a complaint he simply replied, “Hehe. Good one.” My interviewee in China then added that when he raised crunch to his superiors he was simply told, “We don’t do crunch”, and nothing more was said on the matter.

I quizzed another developer in China on the issue of HR and attempts to hear out employee concerns. They told me, “There was an overtime clause in the contract which I signed before I moved there, but when I arrived they told me it was a lie and the head of HR laughed at me. These were western people working in China. Work weeks of 70+ [hours] were absolutely the norm for quite a long time.

“You were deducted year bonus ‘points’ for leaving at six, even if you only did it once a week. Six or seven day weeks were also not at all uncommon. When we saw the tweet from Crytek my colleagues and I joked to each other that at least they got their meals fully compensated. Quite a few people around me actually just browsed the internet half the time, because they knew they were required to stay late anyway or else they’d incur the wrath of HR.”

It seems almost foreign to hear about working environments where the benefits of human resources simply do not apply, but it sounds both morally and professionally unjust to force a 70 hour working week on an individual without the right to reply. In some cases these people have been threatened with deducted bonuses and plainly ridiculed for daring to speak up. It’s understandable then, that they all asked me to keep them anonymous in this piece. When employees are afraid of speaking openly to their superiors about workplace issues without feeling like they will be punished, that’s the hallmark of a fear culture, pure and simple.

But surprisingly, while most of the developers had negative experiences to share, a few of them had since moved on to companies that have always tried – or were at least recently trying – to combat the negative aspects of crunch. If there’s a silver lining to take away from some of the horror stories in this and other articles on the matter, it’s that some – not all – studios are now appraising the working culture and looking for ways to take the strain away from employees. However, it will take time to gauge if these efforts are bearing fruit.

Silver linings?

One developer in particular seemed to get lucky with several employers. “At my first firm we were promised bonuses, whatever the amount of time we spent working,” they explained. “Sometimes we got it, sometimes we didn’t. In my current firm we don’t get paid overtime, but we can get a few days off after the crunch, or some comfort like longer lunch breaks, leaving home early in the evening and that sort of thing.

“Once, after a short crunch time, the firm rented a whole video game arcade for an evening with the machines unlocked and we were allowed to order any food we wanted, all on the house. There were prizes to win such as PS3′s and 360′s, Kinects, Razer computer accessories. So no money, but a big big thank you.”

“The firm I’m working for now tries to do as much as possible to avoid crunch,” they added. “Even if we have to work hard for an extended period of time, we can always go to a special room with light music, comfortable sofas and comics. Producers try and get extra people on a team if they see things are going to be tough and, sometimes, features are removed in order to reduce the amount of work to do.”

Another worker explained, “Currently the studio I’m at does a regular work to time review, so if a milestone is in danger we can revise time or man power to it. Crunch does happen but it’s usually a few hours for a few days tops every few months. Far better.” Someone else said, “[My company] removed mandatory crunch after feedback and usually planned things properly. They would also catch features that could easily snowball, make sure they were scoped properly, and constantly check on their status.”

You’ll notice that any attempts to rectify crunch woes are being out-weighed by the negative anecdotes. My interviewees had many varied stories to tell regarding crunch time horrors, and the perception of significant periods of unpaid overtime. Some of them admitted to working between 70-80 hours a week at some point, and were pessimistic when I asked them if things could change for the better.

This pessimism was one of a few things almost all of them had in common, despite coming from studios of various sizes and from different ends of the Earth. It’s a grim consensus, but each of them contacted me in the hope of sharing their stories both publicly and without reprisal.

They also hoped that the decision-makers at offending companies would read their stories here, take a second to think about how they treat their employees and possibly consider reappraising their culture.

I’m not sure if that will happen, but this is an issue that needs to be discussed openly if it is to be addressed.

Over to you, executives.

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10 Comments

  1. Pytox

    70 80 hours insane i would instantly quit there

    #1 1 year ago
  2. Lloytron

    Crunch time is a nightmare. As for the comment about HR, the clue is in the name there – Human Resources. You are just a resource for the company to utilise.

    #2 1 year ago
  3. GamezIdiot

    Link to part one is broken.

    Bit sad this isn’t generating more discussiion. Maybe it’s a reflectiion that the gaming community just doesn’t care as long as they get their games.

    #3 1 year ago
  4. tenthousandgothsonacid

    “that HR simply, “aren’t on your side.’”

    I’ve yet to work in any industry where HR are on your side. They’re just there to smooth over the fact that you’re being fucked over.

    #4 1 year ago
  5. bradk825

    This needed to be written. Good work Dave.

    For an industry supposedly so cutting-edge, there are practices described here that have been outdated for decades. The mentality of “if you don’t like it don’t work here” or “you should feel privileged to be fucked by us” is for cave men. For any employer/employee relationship to be a good one, there needs to be a partnership of sorts. I have personally never had a manager with this “you work for me and not the other way around” attitude, and I hope I never will.

    The fact that it’s happening even in developed nations is particularly surprising. You’d expect it in places where workers have no rights, but in the UK, US, etc?

    I am curious how much changed at EA post-law suit. I am thinking a slew of these law suits need to be brought forward. If there is a shift from crunch being something the money-man has a right to expect, to something that causes legal exposure, we could see a pretty sudden shift. This is just one theory from someone who doesn’t have a clue, but whatever, it’s an internet forum, I’ll say what I want, lol.

    #5 1 year ago
  6. GrimRita

    This just isn’t exclusive to the games industry. In most cases, when the ‘crunch’ hits, it will always be hands on deck, especially for small developers.

    Then, people have some time to recover. At least that’s how I remember it during my days in QA. Over time was there, lots of money to be made and the company did treat us lots (nights out, parties, finishing early most Fridays).

    In the ‘real world’ outside of gaming, companies expect staff to put in the hours, with little or no reward.

    #6 1 year ago
  7. Doppleganger

    @5
    I work in a environment such as what you described but you do realize they are paying you money?
    Its not like your doing them favours.
    Its rare to have that brotherly relationship environment in the workplace and if you have it, stick to it as theres really shitty ass jobs out there.

    #7 1 year ago
  8. bradk825

    @7 Not really sure what you mean. I’ve had several different jobs and none of them involved treatment even close to what I am reading about here. Yes, I understand they are paying me, but that paycheck does not translate to ownership, or mean that my fundamental rights and freedoms are for sale. I work hard for the money I am paid, because of mutual respect.

    Any time I have had a legit concern I’ve been able to share it, and have never been told if I don’t like it I should find another job.

    Let’s take another unacceptable behaviour as an example to translate this. Imagine a guy greets his secretary every morning with “any chance you’ll suck my dick today?” Finally she goes to HR about it, and they say “He’s the boss, what I really don’t understand is why you haven’t sucked his dick yet.” Clearly the employer is in the wrong and there needs to be a change right? The name on the cheque doesn’t change that.

    #8 1 year ago
  9. sh4dow

    On the first part of this, I only bothered to write a critical comment about a quote because the mentality which I suspected behind it is what enabled/enables companies to get away with this much in the first place.

    But obviously, these articles are great overall, very important and I hereby express my gratitude for them as well.

    #9 1 year ago
  10. sh4dow

    @7 Basically “What bradk825 said”.
    I have also worked outside of the bigger sphere called “the creative industry” and there was always striving for treating people decently. No unpaid work, little overtime (if at all) and they always made sure that people had all basic necessities (unlike some companies I’ve worked at recently, where they regularly ran out of toilet paper, tried to save money by canceling a water delivery service, didn’t have frequent enough cleaning service, etc.). And I’ve worked in very varied fields, almost none of them even requiring higher education – as I didn’t have one back then yet.

    #10 1 year ago

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  • Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Double XP and Elite Bonus weekend has kicked off

    Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare players can earn Double XP along with Elite Bonus on all platforms. There is even Double XP and Double Weapon XP on offer for Black Ops 2. The dry run is over. Prep for the Sunday reveal of #BlackOps3 begins now. 2XP/2XweapXP is live. pic.twitter.com/rn6SVtVJbY — Treyarch Studios (@Treyarch) April […]

  • Atlus makes “minor edits” to Dungeon Travelers 2 in order to avoid AO rating

    Atlus has announced it has made “minor edits” to four in-game images contained in Dungeon Travelers 2 to avoid an AO rating by the ESRB. According to a press release from the company, localization sometimes require changes to content in order for it to be “understood en masse,” which is why it worked closely with […]

  • Battlefield Hardline is 40% off through Origin this weekend

    The standard edition of Battlefield Hardline on PC is 40% off this weekend through EA’s Origin service. The Digital Deluxe Edition is also 40% off and includes various Battlepacks unavailable in the standard version. You can also pick up the Battlefield Hardline Ultimate edition for 23% off, which comes with all four planned expansions through […]

  • Submerged is an exploration-adventure game coming to multiple platforms

    Submerged is the latest title in development from Uppercut Games, and the exploration-adventure game is coming to PlayStation 4 and other platforms this year. The game takes place in a flooded city which Miku and her wounded brother Taku have reached by boat. Miku needs to find a safe place for her brother to rest […]

  • These screenshots for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt show superb attention to detail

    Some gorgeous new screenshots for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt have surfaced, and a couple are wallpaper worthy. Especially the one with the horse, but as you’re well aware, I’m horse crazed. The images below in the gallery have been scaled to fit properly, but if you head over to NeoGAF you can bask in […]

  • Namco kicks off Humble Store partnership with Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin

    Namco Bandai has started offering its PC titles on Humble Store, and this includes the recently released Dark Souls 2: Scholar of the First Sin. Other titles include Dragon Ball Xenoverse, and Project Cars. “In Japan, the Bandai Namco Group companies are known for supporting different charity programs and we are very happy to be […]

  • World of Tanks: 2,000 Bonus codes to give away

    Already have a World of Tanks account? We’ve got 2,000 codes for players to top up their Gold and Premium days. This weekend sees the World of Tanks Grand Finals take place in Poland, and we’ve got a bunch of game codes to give away to celebrate. Each Bonus PC code offers 150 Gold and […]

  • Mad Max contains Top Dog camps with boss fights

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  • Just Cause 3 gameplay trailer reveal coming next week

    Mark your calendars for Tuesday, April 28, because you won’t want to miss the gameplay reveal of Just Cause 3. Avalanche tweeted the date along with a teaser, as seen below. The box art has also made an appearance. Keep an eye on the game’s YouTube page, and we’ll be sure to post the video […]

  • First paid Skyrim Steam Workshop mod has been pulled

    Valve’s new incentive which allows modders to charge for their creations hasn’t been live for 24 hours yet, and already, one mod has been pulled. The mod in question was Chesko’s Fishing Mod for Skyrim, which the creator pulled after a community member questioned whether Chesko had permission from the creator of the character-idle animations […]

  • Resident Evil HD Remaster has sold over one million copies worldwide

    The HD remaster of Resident Evil has sold over one million copies worldwide since its January 20 release, Capcom has announced. The company attributed the sales milestone to producing a “great product” along with excellent word of mouth and praise from fans. In February, Capcom said Resident Evil HD Remaster was its fastest-selling digital title […]

  • The Crew: the Raid Car Pack and Raid Live Update now available for download

    The Crew players can now download the Raid Car Pack which is the last of four themes car packs. The Raid Live Update is also available, and it contains six new tuning specs. The car pack contains three new cars: the 2012 Cadillac Escalade, the off-road 2011 Volkswagen Touareg NF and the McLaren F1 supercar. […]

  • Geralt is very professional in the latest Witcher 3: Wild Hunt TV spot

    The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has a new TV spot that’s short and to the point. The latest Witcher 3 trailer comes in the form of TV spot. It’s all CGI, and it looks good. If you’re more into gameplay trailers, the latest one will serve you well. The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is out […]

  • Steam roguelike sale is live, offers deep discounts on a stellar collection of titles

    If you’re into challenging, procedurally-generated, and infinitely-replayable games, Steam’s current sale will hook you up. Steam is hosting a sale on roguelike games. Plenty of titles in the genre are on sale for upwards of 75% off. Highlights include Risk of Rain at 75% off, Don’t Starve at 66% off, Spelunky at 75% off, FTL: […]

  • Resident Evil: Revelations 2 finally gets online co-op in Raid Mode on Xbox One

    Resident Evil: Revelations 2 has been patched to support online play in Raid Mode on Xbox One. The Xbox One version of Resident Evil: Revelations 2 lacked online support in Raid Mode for a long time. Until today. A new patch has been released to bring that version in line with the rest of them. […]

  • A section in Killing Floor 2′s EULA about cyberbullying is riling up some fans

    Killing Floor 2 has recently got into a bit of trouble with some fans due to a clause in its EULA that gives the developer the right to revoke a user’s license without prior notice. The Killing Floor 2 EULA – just like many others found in modern games, has a section dedicated to cheating […]

  • World of Tanks: 2,000 free tanks and in-game cash to giveaway

    To celebrate the World of Tanks grand finals this weekend we’ve got some great freebies to give away to new players. We have 2,000 PC invite codes to giveaway, with each one offering new accounts a T2 Light Tank, 100 Gold and 1 Days Premium worth around €8.00. All you need to do is enter […]

  • Marvel announces partnership with Telltale, first game due in 2017

    Marvel and Telltale have entered into a partnership that will allow the developer to work on a new game series, due in 2017. Telltale has announced that it has partnered with Marvel Games, Marvel Entertainment’s video games division, for the development of a new game series. No indication was given as to what the new […]

  • Destiny: Bungie is not saying no to a player trading system

    Bungie has not completely ruled out the idea of bringing a trading system to Destiny. Destiny does not offer any way for players to trade items amongst themselves. But ever since the game’s release, players have never stopped asking Bungie to add one in. While the developer does not have a satisfying answer, it’s still […]

  • Destiny: Xur location and inventory for April 24, 25 – MIDA Multi-Tool edition

    The weekend Exotics market run by Xur: Agent of the Nine is now open for business. Destiny’s bizarre vendor, Xur, has arrived at the Tower. Xur is your man if you’re looking for Exotic armour or weapons. Not only that, but he will also let you exchange your old Exotic gear for new, upgraded versions. […]

  • Warcraft movie delayed yet again

    The Warcraft movie will no longer hit theatres in March 2016. The release date of the Warcraft movie has been pushed back by three months. The movie was expected in March 2016, but Legendary Pictures announced yesterday that it is now due on June 10, 2016. No reason was given for the delay. This is […]

  • Destiny: Iron Banner returns on April 28

    Destiny’s Iron Banner PvP event will return this Tuesday. Bungie has announced that the Iron Banner, it’s once-every-few-weeks PvP event, will make a return with next week’s weekly reset. It was initially due this week, but because of the recent Crucible changes that were implemented with patch 1.1.2, Bungie wanted to wait and see. That […]

  • Deus Ex devs take the piss out of Black Ops 3

    Deus Ex developers have been having a bit of a laugh at the expense of Call of Duty’s official Twitter account. You would be forgiven to think that yesterday’s Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 ‘Ember’ teaser was part of an ad campaign for a Deus Ex game, with all the biohacking, wearable tech, augmentation, […]

  • Bungie weekly update: Commendations begone

    Destiny’s weekly update is here to determine the fate of all those Commendations you’ve been earning in the past few months. Bungie started off this week’s update with a recap of the details revealed during the recent livestream. There wasn’t really anything on this front that they haven’t talked about already. With the exception of […]

  • This GTA 5 trainer lets you play as almost anything and it’s the best thing ever

    Want to play GTA 5 as a monkey, a cat, a fish, a deer or some other non-human thing that we eat or keep as a pet? ScriptHook has you covered. Not only can you play as critters, it change other game values, according to an explanation from PC Gamer. These values include making changes […]

  • EA Sports moves Rory McIlroy PGA TOUR release date to July

    EA Sports has announced Rory McIlroy PGA TOUR will be released in July. Originally announced for June, the golf game will now release the same week as the Open Championship at St. Andrews, on July 14. EA also provided some more color on gameplay features such as the ability to customize the game by borrowing […]

  • Jason Voorhees joins Mortal Kombat X in May, Kombat Pack owners get first dibs

    Jason Voorhees will arrive for Mortal Kombat X players in May, NetherRealm Studios announced today during the latest Kombat Kast. Jason will be shown for the first time on Monday, May 4 during a special Kombat Kast. According to EventHub which watched the livestream, the developer will also show off the character’s move and Variations. […]

  • The Witcher 3: Nvidia heads to Poland for a behind-the-scenes look – video

    A video for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt has been released, taking you behind-the-scenes with CD Projekt RED. Nvidia’s GeForce crew went to the firm’s studio in Poland to talk with the game’s executive producer John Mamais, who provides a look at the PC version of the upcoming RPG. CD Projekt, according to the video […]

  • Microsoft notes decline in Xbox unit sales for Q3 FY15 to 1.6 million

    Microsoft reported its Q3 FY15 earnings today, citing growth in Xbox Live usage as one of the contributing factors to the firm’s reported revenue. However, the firm noted a decline in units sales for its Xbox consoles during the quarter. Microsoft Q3 2014 (yoy comparison) Microsoft Q1 fiscal 2015 Microsoft Q2 fiscal 2015 The firm […]

  • Powerplay is a new feature included in the Elite: Dangerous May update

    The next update for Elite: Dangerous is coming next month and it includes a new feature called Powerplay. According to Frontier Developments, Powerplay allows players to participate in an ongoing battle that “enhances every aspect” of the game. Players can become allies with a number of galactic Powers and guide their strategy, pursue objectives in […]

  • Facebook says it’s “too early” to discuss large-scale shipments of Oculus Rift

    Facebook has said it is “too early” to discuss large-scale shipments of Oculus Rift as the VR headset is still in the development stages. Speaking during a call to investors, Facebook CFO David Wehner said the company had nothing to announce regarding the amount of stock it expected to ship. “We have not announced any […]

  • Battlefield Hardline’s first patch and rental server program hits next week

    Battlefield Hardline’s first patch has a release date for both consoles and PC. PC & Console patch and RSP for Consoles coming April 28th. Fixes include TDM spawns and more: http://t.co/BZYJeomPlr pic.twitter.com/27TCiY8hmf — Battlefield (@Battlefield) April 23, 2015 The update will include fixes to Punkbuster, Nvidia DirectX drivers, TDM spawns, contains weapon balance tweaks and […]

  • Modders can now earn money through Steam Workshop starting today with Skyrim

    Valve has introduced a new functionality within Steam Workshop which will allow mod makers to earn money for their creations, starting with Skyrim. The update will allow content such as mods, items, or maps to be sold through Steam Workshop for titles which have the feature enabled. A new “streamlined process for listing” has been […]

  • Play Skyrim for free this weekend on Steam and take 75% off while you’re at it

    Skyrim is free this weekend on Steam providing wanna-be Dragonborns who have procrastinated on wetting their blades with Stormcloak blood the perfect opportunity to give the RPG a try. Head over to Steam and download the game and play for free until April 26 at 1am PDT. The game is also 75% off if you […]

  • Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 “Ember” teaser video released ahead of full reveal

    Activision has released a Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 teaser video titled “Ember” and you can watch it right here. Here’s the video blurb: “In the next 50 years, technological advancements will lead us into a world where only those who risk going too far, will find out how far we can actually go.” […]

  • Dragon Age Keep update includes more customizability and control

    Bioware has updated Dragon Age Keep after listening to community feedback. The update includes more customization and control over heroes, world states, career and more. Players can now customize hero portraits or delete Dragon Age: Inquisition heroes from the Hero section. They can also remove playthrough states from the World State Manager and keep up […]

  • Here’s a look at some Conker community creations in Project Spark

    Conker’s Bug Reunion releases today, and below is a video showing some of the community creations you will be able to download using the creation pack. Project Spark is a free download on Xbox One and Windows 8.1, and you can download the Conker Creation Pack today. It contains 350 assets in order for users […]

  • Rainbow Six: Siege video shines spotlight on the British Counter Terrorist Unit

    Ubisoft has released a Rainbow Six: Siege video which gives you a look at the British Counter Terrorist Unit which features “the best of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.” The firm said that over the next few weeks it will introduce the public to each of the units in the game. Rainbow Six Siege […]

  • Mario Kart 8 DLC and Mewtwo for Super Smash Bros. headline eShop update in North America

    Nintendo has updated the North American end of the eShop with an update and new DLC for Mario Kart 8 and the Mewtwo DLC for Super Smash Bros. Other highlights include Mario Kart DS on Wii U Virtual Console, the continuation of International StreetPass Week and more. Full update is below. Nintendo eShop Mario Kart […]

  • Square Enix host E3 2015 conference this year on June 16

    With Final Fantasy 15, Rise of the Tomb Raider and Deus Ex: Mankind Divided on the horizon, it should come as no surprise to learn that Square Enix will be hosting a dedicated E3 2015 conference this year. The presentation will take place Tuesday, June 16 at 9am PDT/12pm EDT/5pm UK. It will be broadcast […]

  • Final Fantasy 4: The After Years 3D remake releasing on Steam next month

    Final Fantasy 4: The After Years has been given a makeover and will be released on Steam of PC next month. You can now pre-order it on Steam and take 10% off for the time being. The game will be released on the digital service May 12 and will include trading cards and achievements. Thanks, […]

  • This Project Cars video shows off the racer’s multiplayer

    Project Cars developer Slightly Mad has released a new video giving you a look at the game’s multiplayer. The game is out next month, and if you would like to refresh yourself on the tracks included,  give this a look. While you are clicking links, here’s the minimum and recommended PC specifications which dropped last […]

  • Looks like Logitech is getting out of OEM mouse production business [Clarification]

    Logitech will no longer produce “low-end” mice, citing a decline in PC accessories. This story has been updated to include a clarification. According to a Reuters report, per MCV, the firm will instead focus on video accessories and streaming music, as its wireless Bluetooth speakers are now its best-selling product rage. This will help offset […]

  • Win! We have 1,000 Heroes of the Storm beta keys to give away

    Must have more MOBA? Win one of our 1,000 Heroes of the Storm beta keys and see if you’re more Blizzard than LoL. Can’t wait for June 2? Of course you can’t. We have 1,000 closed beta keys for Heroes of the Storm to give away this week, allowing you access before Blizzard’s MOBA goes […]

  • Xenoblade Chronicles X Nintendo Direct airs tomorrow, April 24

    A Nintendo Direct devoted entirely to Xenoblade Chronicles X will air this Friday, April 24. The video showcase will start at 11am PDT/2pm EDT/7pm UK. After the showcase, a new Nintendo Treehouse: Live presentation featuring the game will air. This is the second Xenoblace Chronicles X Nintendo Direct, but the first in English. The first […]

  • Blizzard will have 500 game stations set up at gamescom 2015

    Blizzard is heading to gamescom 2015 in August and it will have 500 game stations set up for attendees to get their hands on five of its titles. The developer will be set up in Hall 7 and those who stop by will be able to get hands-on with the latest content for Heroes of […]

  • PS4 price cut to £299 in UK

    Sony has dropped the price of the PS4 in the UK. For a limited time only, you can grab the console for £299.99 from Argos, Game, Tesco and Very. Go to Amazon.co.uk and you’ll get it for £289. You’ve only got until April 28, then it goes back up to £349. Go, go, go. For […]

  • Mad Max: first ever gameplay footage revealed

    Today, we get to finally take our first look at gameplay from Mad Max. Avalanche and Warner Bros. have shown off the first gameplay trailer for Mad Max today. The trailer below offers a look at melee combat, car combat, customisation and much more. Give it a watch below: There are a few new screenshots […]

  • Overlord: Fellowship of Evil has four-player co-op like we figured

    Codemasters has pulled the veil back on the next Overlord game, and its a four-player co-op game called Overlord: Fellowship of Evil. Rhianna Pratchett is back to write the story. The game may be co-op at its core, but it can still be played single-player. Each of the four playable character have strengths and weaknesses, […]

  • Update now available for Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon X and Y

    Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire along with Pokemon X and Y are being updated by Nintendo to fix a few bugs and in-game text. There’s also the possibility of a few hacks and exploits being fixed. Per Nintendo Life (via Serebii), both patches are 250-270 blocks in size, and it’s a mandatory update which […]

  • Side-scrolling cover shooter Not a Hero gets a demo

    Not a Hero, the upcoming game from OlliOlli developer Roll7, has received a demo. The demo for Not a Hero was made available today on Steam. In the game, you play as Steve, the campaign manager for BunnyLord. A time-travelling rabbit who’s running for mayor of London. Think this is an absurd premise? This trailer […]

  • You have until April 30 to export your Green Day: Rock Band tracks to Rock Band 3

    Harmonix has announced that those looking to export their song collection from Green Day: Rock Band into Rock Band 3 can only do so until the end of the month. April 30 will be the cutoff date for anyone who wants to export tracks from Green Day: Rock Band into their Rock Band 3 library, […]

  • Batman: Arkham Knight minimum, recommended, and ultra PC specs revealed

    Batman: Arkham Knight is looking like it’s going to be quite a taxing game. Nvidia has released a list of the minimum, recommended, and ultra PC requirements for Batman: Arkham Knight. Here’s the full thing: Minimum OS: Win 7 SP1, Win 8.1 (64-bit Operating System Required) Processor: Intel Core i5-750, 2.67 GHz | AMD Phenom […]

  • Bloodborne patch 1.03 is live, reduces loading times, fixes suspend/resume bugs, more

    Patch 1.03 is now live for Bloodborne. The patch reduces loading times, adds item descriptions to loading screens, and fixes other various bugs. From Software has pushed update 1.03 live to all Bloodborne owners. As promised, it reduces loading times by approximately 5 to 15 seconds. Another new addition is showing item descriptions instead of […]

  • Battlefield 4: first look at Community Map in action

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  • Microsoft apologises for uploading misleading Witcher 3: Wild Hunt footage

    Xbox’s YouTube channel uploaded a video of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt yesterday that was captured from the PC build. The most recent gameplay video for the The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt appeared on the Xbox YouTube channel and showed a quest from the game’s opening section. A few minutes after it had gone live, […]

  • Assassin’s Creed creator’s new game is Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey

    Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey is the game Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets has been working on. Patrice Desilets has just announced that the next game his indie studio Panache Digital Games is making is called Ancestors: The Humankind Odyssey. The announcement comes from Desilets’s keynote at the Reboot Develop event in Croatia. The trailer started […]

  • Bloodborne: Cathedral Ward closed door mystery solved

    The mystery of the locked door at the bottom of the Cathedral Ward in Bloodborne has been solved. Bloodborne, like earlier From Software games, is filled with doors that don’t open the first time you try them. Some will give you “locked” messages, others “does not open from this side”. Some of these will open […]

  • Assassin’s Creed creator Patrice Desilets is revealing his next game now [UPDATE: ended]

    Patrice Desilets, one of the original creators of Assassin’s Creed is hosting a presentation where he’s expected to talk about his next project. Patrice Desilets has emerged once again. This time he’s attending development conference in Croatia. Desilets is giving a live keynote and there’s a good chance we’re going to hear about his next […]

  • Destiny House of Wolves: everything you need to know about gear upgrades & The Reef

    Bungie revealed plenty of important details in last night’s Destiny stream. Let’s go over everything. Alex wants to make sure you don’t miss any of the information revealed yesterday. Most of it affects all Destiny players too, even those who don’t intend on buying House of Wolves. During the first stream, Bungie explained the armour […]