Report: Fortnite developers recount horrible working conditions at Epic Games

Fortnite dive
Fortnite dive (Image credit: Epic)

Fortnite is an incredibly popular third-person shooter, and a lot of its success can be attributed to constant updates. However, a new report by Polygon suggests that it's an incredibly difficult place to work due to the constant crunch. This is a problem that plagues the majority of the gaming industry, and it's no different at Epic Games.

Over the past few months, many outlets have interviewed developers across the gaming industry to reveal this practice. The latest company which forces its employees to work hectic shifts is none other than Epic Games. Polygon started off its investigation by stating the following.

In a dozen interviews conducted by Polygon over a period of several months, current and former employees say they regularly worked in excess of 70-hour weeks, with some reporting 100-hour weeks. Contract staff in Epic's quality assurance and customer service departments spoke of a stressful and hostile working environment in which working overtime — while officially voluntary — was an expected service to the company.

The most telling quote from the report was of an employee who described working 70 hours, but knew many others who pulled even more demanding shifts. The unnamed employee said the following.

I work an average 70 hours a week. There's probably at least 50 or even 100 other people at Epic working those hours. I know people who pull 100-hour weeks. The company gives us unlimited time off, but it's almost impossible to take the time. If I take time off, the workload falls on other people, and no one wants to be that guy. The biggest problem is that we're patching all the time. The executives are focused on keeping Fortnite popular for as long as possible, especially with all the new competition that's coming in.

While many studios deny such reports, Polygon said that an Epic Games representative confirmed that 100-hour work weeks do take place. However, the spokesperson also said that the company was trying to minimize this in the future. You can read that statement below.

People are working very hard on Fortnite and other Epic efforts. Extreme situations such as 100-hour work weeks are incredibly rare, and in those instances, we seek to immediately remedy them to avoid recurrence.

It's a shame that this severe crunch is part of the gaming industry. Hopefully, the recent increase in coverage of the problems will lead to real change. However, only time will tell. We've known about this for years, but it still hasn't changed.

How do you feel about this report? What steps should the gaming industry take? Let us know.

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Asher Madan

Asher Madan handles gaming news for Windows Central. Before joining Windows Central in 2017, Asher worked for a number of different gaming outlets. He has a background in medical science and is passionate about all forms of entertainment, cooking, and antiquing.