Crunching devs share the human cost of development at Naughty Dog

“They do try to take care of you, providing food, encouragement to go take breaks. But for the most part, the implication is: ‘Get the job done at all costs.’”

– A former Naughty Dog developer shares their experience crunching at the studio.

A recent Kotaku story speaks with a number of current and former developers from The Last of Us developer Naughty Dog about the work-life conditions during the development of past titles and in the lead up to The Last of Us II’s release.

The full story speaks with 13 current and former developers at Naughty Dog to bring attention to the expectation placed on teams working on triple-A games, and the cost they play on the lives and careers.

 “You feel obligated to be there later, because everyone else is there later,” one anonymous developer tells Kotaku. “If an animation needed to be put in and you weren’t there to help the animator, you’re now blocking the animator, and they may give you grief. It may not even be spoken—it may just be a look. ‘Man, you totally screwed me last night by not being here at 11 p.m.’”

Conversations between Kotaku and Naughty Dog developers reveal moments where teams continued working on assets being informed the content had been cut days or weeks prior, issues exacerbated by the fact that Naughty Dog as a studio doesn’t have a production department, out of a belief that each dev should be their own producer.

“It’s an amazing creative environment, but you can’t go home,” says a current The Last of Us II developer.

The full story on Kotaku shares more experiences from Naughty Dog developers, and talks about how these continuous problems have shifted with each passing release.