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Kotaku reports that former former ZeniMax developers claim that Fallout 76 was severely mismanaged:
More information.The Human Toll Of Fallout 76's Disastrous Launch
Former ZeniMax developers claim that Fallout 76 was severely mismanaged
"No one wanted to be on that project because it ate people. It destroyed people," one former developer on Fallout 76 told Kotaku. "The amount of people who would go to that project, and then they would quit [Bethesda] was quite high."
Kotaku spoke to 10 former employees of Bethesda and its parent company ZeniMax Media who were familiar with Fallout 76's development, all of whom shared their accounts only under the condition of anonymity. Some sources said that they signed non-disparagement agreements upon leaving the company, and feared that ZeniMax's influence in the industry would prevent them from being hired elsewhere.
Testers who worked during the months leading up to the original launch said that they crunched 10-hour days for six days a week as the game trudged toward the beta's optimistic launch date of November 14, 2018.
Some testers would only find reprieve when they finally left the Fallout 76 team. Two former testers recounted that one of their colleagues said in a QA group chat after leaving the project: "I didn't cry last night when I was taking a shower." Another said in the same chat: "I pulled into work today, and I sat in my car for a second, and my chest didn't feel heavy like it normally does."
Within the games industry, QA is seen by many consumers and even some non-tester developers as an easy job that involves "playing games for a living." They are often treated poorly by their managers, work long hours, and are underpaid, to the point that QA testers at Raven Software recently formed the first AAA-studio video game union as a measure to help better their working conditions. Accounts of game production at major studios over the last seven years have painted a picture of an industry where testers are granted lower professional status compared to colleagues with skills that are perceived as more technical or creative. As a result of this dynamic, testers told Kotaku that they felt more vulnerable to production issues on the Fallout 76 project, resulting in more brutal crunch.