The Last Of Us Part 2: Naughty Dog Employees Accuse Company of Poor Working Conditions

The Last of Us Part II is the latest game centered in ongoing discussion of crunch culture as multiple Naughty Dog employees sounded off about the studio's reportedly crunch-heavy development cycles. One might think that the delay of The Last of Us Part II which pushed the game several months back would alleviate some of the pressure to finish the game as quickly as possible and get it shipped, but according to Naughty Dog employees interviewed in a Kotaku report on the company's culture, it just meant several more months of crunch. Others have weighed in since the report released to either praise the Naughty Dog staff or corroborate stories.

Kotaku's report said crunch culture at Naughty Dog isn't a secret, but the employees there are wondering how long this sort of thing can last. When the delay was announced, many people who were looking forward to the game offered the same comments they usually do when games are delayed: Take all the time that they need to do the game right. An unnamed Naughty Dog developer said that the pace didn't slow down after the delay was announced, however, and that the crunch would continue.

"People thinking the extension is somehow to relieve stress or the workload on the team are wrong," the developer said. "The first thing that they wanted to reiterate is that we aren't slowing down the pace."

Some said the upcoming game comes "at a huge cost to the people" working on it while others suggested that they partially hope the game could fail to show crunch culture isn't the way to make games.

Neil Druckmann, the vice president of Naughty Dog, recently praised the animators in the wake of the insightful look into the development practices of the developer. Whether it was intended to be a rebuttal to the article or simple praise for the team, it was met with responses and questions about crunch culture instead. Jonathan Cooper, a former animator at Naughty Dog who worked on The Last of Us Part II, offered his own take on animation and crunch and said the time spent on the demo released last year required "weeks of recovery afterwards."

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The Last of Us Part II is scheduled to release for the PlayStation 4 on May 29th.