Uncharted Director Reveals The Pitfalls Of Working In Triple-A Games Development


It’s no secret to anyone that triple-A games development demands a great deal of money, talent and manpower to be successful, but how much do those not directly involved in the industry really know about the intricacies of curating a multi-million dollar video game?

Having been the director of Naughty Dog’s Uncharted series for over ten years, Amy Hennig knows all too well the pressure that comes with the job title. Unforgiving hours, strict deadlines and the ever-expanding ambitions of triple-A developers is something that Hennig says can’t possibly be sustained.

Discussing the current state of the industry with Idle Thumbs (via Destructoid/GamesIndustry.biz) in their Designer Notes podcast, Hennig describes how, during her tenure at Naughty Dog, she worked an average of 80 hours a week split across all seven days.

The whole time I was at Naughty Dog — ten-and-a-half years — I probably, on average, I don’t know if I ever worked less than 80 hours a week. I pretty much worked seven days a week, at least 12 hours a day.

Sadly, Hennig is unlikely to be the only one involved in the strenuous triple-A development cycle, and, in her opinion, “something’s gotta give” soon, because she doesn’t think the current scenario is sustainable. As technology, budgets and ambitions rise, the “ante keeps getting upped,” without retail prices reflecting the extra effort put in.

We’re definitely at the point where something’s gotta give… And my hope was that different means of distribution, the fact that everything wasn’t bricks-and-mortar and in a box, it would be that. And I think in some quarters that’s true, but I think for AAA development we’re still stuck in that rut, and the ante keeps getting upped.

I mean, Uncharted 1; a ten-hour game, no other modes… you can’t make a game like that any more.

Hennig has much more to say on the topic, so if you’re interested in the inner workings of triple-A games development, you can listen to the entire podcast (which comes in two parts) by heading over here.