Sledgehammer Games game director Glen Schofield’s take on how much work goes into making Call of Duty has caused heated debate online. A lot of developers supported his point of view, saying that work travels and the research process might be really “exhausting.”
Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare
Schofield opened up about it in the latest issue of Edge. He noted that people don’t realize “how much work goes into making a Call of Duty game.”
“You’re working with experts — I studied World War Two for three years. I worked with historians. I spent eight days in a van in Europe going to all the places that were going to be in the game. I shot different old weapons. All of these things that you have to do when you’re working on a Call of Duty game,” Schofield explained.
However, that didn’t sit right with Kotaku author Ian Walker. In his article, he wrote that Schofield’s description of his job “sounds suspiciously like a vacation.” “You’re traveling Europe with Activision’s credit card in your wallet, not back in the studio documenting bugs for 12 hours a day at barely more than minimum wage,” Walker claimed.
The article drew mixed-to-negative reactions online, with a lot of other developers siding with Schofield.
Massive Entertainment producer Palle Hoffstein noted that research and work travels are always hard. “Yeah it’s fun sometimes but it’s also exhausting and takes a toll. At no point on work travel have I ever felt like I was on holiday. If anything it feels like you’re always on the job,” Hoffstein wrote.
This article, quite frankly, sucks. Research is hard work. Work travel is hard. Yeah its fun sometimes but it’s also exhausting and takes a toll. At no point on work travel have I ever felt like I was on holiday. If anything it feels like you’re always on the job. https://t.co/omOVCn7vDg
— PALLE! (@Palle_Hoffstein) July 16, 2021
According to Frictional Games art lead David Satzinger, research trips feel nothing like vacations. “Last one I took required me to go on a break directly after,” they wrote.
Other people also found Kotaku’s article and the whole comparison between research travels and vacations unnecessary.
“This is basically the equivalent of: ‘Game journalists get paid to just play games all day lol’. Which is itself ridiculous and not at all encompassing of the hard work that goes into either profession,” insider Shinobi602 stated.
This is basically the equivalent of: “Game journalists get paid to just play games all day lol”.
Which is itself ridiculous and not at all encompassing of the hard work that goes into either profession. A needlessly hostile piece. I expected better. https://t.co/2CqRnG4AA9
— Shinobi602 (@shinobi602) July 15, 2021
“This is weirdly targeted and paints him as “taking nice European vacations” when he’s been managing and running huge teams or directing AAA games for decades?” analyst Benji-Sales
WTF at the hostility in this article? By all accounts Glen Schofield is a veteran of the industry who works his ass off? This is weirdly targeted and paints him as “taking nice European vacations” when he’s been managing and running huge teams or directing AAA games for decades?
— Benji-Sales (@BenjiSales) July 15, 2021
Some developers also recalled their experience of working with Schofield, saying that he shouldn’t have been disrespected like this.
“Glen was my entry into the Industry,” 2K environment artist Maya Öberg wrote. “He saw my work at my schools spring show, took me aside and gave me an invitation to his art exhibition. So I could show my work to the team. Glen introduced me to the leads, talked me up. He didnt have to do that. Great guy.”
“Having worked with the dude, he’s no slouch no matter what level he’s working on including research,” Insomniac Games senior community manager Aaron Jason Espinoza noted.
Imagine trying to nitpick Glen Schofield about hard work. Having worked with the dude, he’s no slouch no matter what level he’s working on including research. When you’re developing for an audience as critical as the Call of Duty community, you better get those details right. https://t.co/gDHixG6JSa
— Aaron Jason Espinoza (@TheAgentOfDoom) July 15, 2021
Sledgehammer Games narrative designer Belinda Garcia thinks that articles like this basically promote the narrative that “making games is one big forever vacation.” “This article is passive aggressive, rude, and discredits the research and development necessary for literally ANYTHING to get made,” she wrote.
Um… this article is passive aggressive, rude, and discredits the research and development necessary for literally ANYTHING to get made. It is further driving the ignorant narrative that making art is one big forever vacation and makes us vulnerable to harassment. https://t.co/xfRCnpbzsx
— Belinda Garcia (@bbcgarcia) July 15, 2021
The Escapist editor-in-chief Nick Calandra said that Kotaku shouldn’t be surprised with all the negative reaction. You can write whatever you want but you should be ready for some pushback. According to Calandra, this article “literally puts the original interview in a negative light when Schofield was specifically talking about people thinking Call of Duty games are ‘easy’ to develop.”
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