The creator of 'Fortnite' reportedly has a brutal work culture where some employees have 100-hour work weeks: 'I hardly sleep. I’m grumpy at home. I have no energy to go out.'

Business Insider US
Epic Games
  • "Fortnite" maker Epic Games reportedly has a brutal work culture where employees work long hours, according to an investigation by Polygon.
  • Employees describe working 100-hour weeks and neverending "crunch" - a game development term used to describe periods of intense workload.
  • "I hardly sleep. I'm grumpy at home. I have no energy to go out. Getting a weekend away from work is a major achievement," one employee told Polygon.
  • Epic Games says that it tries to remedy these "extreme situations" wherever it encounters them, and that it offers employees competitive pay and benefits.
  • Visit the Business Insider SA homepage for more stories.

"Fortnite" maker Epic Games is reportedly struggling to keep up with the extreme success of its free-to-play Battle Royale game.

The company has more than doubled its full-time staff since "Fortnite" launched - and subsequently exploded in popularity - back in 2017. But a dozen different Epic Games employees speaking with Polygon describe a culture of extreme working conditions that seemingly never end.

"I hardly sleep. I'm grumpy at home. I have no energy to go out. Getting a weekend away from work is a major achievement," one employee speaking anonymously said.

"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," another employee said anonymously. "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."

An upcoming "Fortnite" tie-in with "The Avengers: Endgame" is currently being teased for later this week.
Marvel/Epic Games

Epic Games acknowledged the problems in various statements provided to Polygon.

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

An Epic representative told Business Insider that salaries and benefits at the company "are highly competitive, and all employees participate in a generous profit sharing program."

But employees speaking to Polygon said that wasn't enough incentive to keep up the grueling pace of work.

"I've had friends come to me and say, 'I can't take this anymore.' I've had friends break down in tears. The crunch is constant," one employee said.


The working conditions described in the piece, sadly, are nothing new for the world of video game development.

Most recently, the EA game "Anthem" - which crashed and burned soon after launch - was the subject of a Kotaku investigation detailing its messy development.

Employees working on "Anthem" reportedly endured enough stress that they began taking "stress leave" to cope. The situation at Epic Games sounds less dire, albeit similar in its impact on employees.

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