People are becoming more and more aware of the abusive mill game developers are being ground against in order to release the titles we all play, and while this multi-faceted problem will likely need a number of solutions and changes, one such step forward is being made with the announcement of a new initiative that includes Bungie and ZeniMax (which we assume also includes ZeniMax Online Studios and Bethesda as part of the ZeniMax Media umbrella).
Take This, a not-for-profit organization that seeks to improve mental health support for game enthusiasts and game industry workers, has asked that human resources representatives from five game companies — Big Huge Games, Certain Affinity, Wooga, Bungie, and ZeniMax — join forces with the organization to examine their development practices. These five companies will share their data with Take This and meet with the organization on a monthly basis to discuss crunch and other mental health factors unique to the industry like job security, diversity and online harassment. The hope is that this effort will be expanded to even more game companies, especially publishers.
“Responses to this challenge vary wildly. Some companies are committed to this, are very concerned, and are spending resources on solutions. There are other companies that don’t understand why it would be an issue. […] Some of the companies are good at one thing and bad at another. These are hard things to solve, but these are companies that are willing to look at their practices.”
In addition to this new initiative, Take This has published a whitepaper about mental health in the games industry in 2019. According to a Take This representative, a follow-up will be published next year that will offer up data and examples of solutions that companies have tried to implement.