Games News

Treyarch respond to sweatshop allegations with internal email

Activision
The cast of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Zombies
Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 Zombies

Following a scathing report of working conditions in Treyarch's QA department, they sent an internal email that announces 'significant improvements' in the studio's work-life balance, be it streamlined processes or just better scheduling.

It's no accident that Kotaku's report mentioned the sweatshop analogy, as the Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 QA department's night shift had been so important to them that getting Treyarch to leave the air conditioning on at night took two months worth of emails and requests.

Peaking temperatures led many to sweat profusely through their clothing, hence the sweatshop analogy, but that's just the tip of the iceberg for a department of contractors that's been carefully segregated from Treyarch's real employees.

Treyarch's head honchos Dan Bunting and Mark Gordon now sent a mail that promises significant improvements and transparency in their quest for "better project planning, streamlined production processes, and rigorous decision-making timelines."

According to Gamespot's findings, the mail reads, "Game development is a wildly complex art and it requires a diverse set of people and skill sets to do it successfully. It's important for all of us to foster a studio culture that treats all team members with respect."

This is where things get a bit complicated because we're uncertain whether this mail is meant for Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's QA department too, seeing as how they're technically employed by Volt, a contractor company hired by Activision Blizzard.

Treyarch's regular employees have had their fair share of crunch, but it pales in comparison to the QA department's woes. Separate parking, rules on not talking to the real employees, the occasional privilege of eating in the company cafeteria but only an hour after the real employees are done with theirs - and the list goes on - are not only wrong, they're borderline inhumane.

ActivisionThe cast of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 ZombiesCall of Duty: Black Ops 4, Capture the Flag

Add to that the fact that cutting off an entire QA department from Call of Duty: Black Ops 4's development team doesn't help the game one bit, and one starts wondering who even benefits from this? Oh yeah, silly me.

More here.