If you think the conditions developers are working in now are bad, imagine what they were like 16 years ago. Don’t imagine this, you could just read this review about what it was like to make the classic Battle for Middle Earth instead.
EAs RTS is one of the best licensed games in the last 20 years, but This report on the development of the game on the Washington Post
EA Los Angeles didn’t necessarily have days off, and the hours were fluid. “In general, it was made clear to us that the bar for non-employment is high – you can’t just be sick or go on vacation,” wrote one team member who held the title of project manager. Usually there was a morning meeting around 10 a.m. and a gameplay test around 10 p.m. Both were required so that everyone stayed.
“We lived there. People had sleeping bags by their desks, ”McCarthy explained.
“I remember one weekend when we all suddenly had to call home to come to the office. There are big changes ahead of us. Then they sat for hours waiting for something to be done while the executives hid in a conference room trying to figure out what they were doing. One young woman, really talented, who was on the art team gave up and said to me, “You know, this is not the life I want. I want a normal life. ‘”
The team expected to work like this for six weeks. You ended up doing it six months. Sure, the game came together in the end, went well, and resulted in a sequel that was even better. But was it worth it? This type of treatment for a team of talented people who just wanted to make video games for a living?