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Riot Games tackles burnout and crunch by giving employees a week off

Riot Games, the developer of League of Legends and Valorant, gives employees week 10 August to “unplug, charge and restart,” the studio announced in a blog post published Tuesday.

Riot has recently grown beyond its worldwide hit League of Legends, including the release of auto battler Teamfight tactics, Hearthstone-like card game Legends of Runeterra (both of which are set in the League of Legends universe), and Valorant, a brand new tactical shooter from which clues are taken Counter Strike: Global Offensive and Overwatch. But in an industry known for its overtime and forced overtime, called “ crunch, ” to ship and maintain games, Riot gives employees a break to help with their health.

“As game developers, we are all extremely aware of the effects of crunch and project deadlines,” Riot said in his blog. “We owe it to ourselves and you to prioritize our health as a team (well, many teams) so we can bring you new experiences well into the future.” Riot also said it would “shift some patches and release the timelines a bit” to accommodate the break and that “a few teams will also distribute their free time to make sure everything goes smoothly.”

Other developers have tackled crunch in a variety of ways, and many studios have become more transparent in recent years about anti-burnout measures, thanks in large part to media coverage of game developers’ working conditions and industry pressures on unionization.

Epic games gave employees a two week holiday between June and July 2019 following a Polygon report describing months of intense crunch to support the hugely popular Fortnite. Epic has also given staff a two-week break around Christmas in the past, according to WRAL TechWire. And Jay Hosfelt, an Epic Games employee, said the company “closes the studio two weeks in the summer and two weeks in the winter,” in a tweet from June 2019.

EA’s own studio Respawn said it wouldn’t rush updates for its own hit battle royale shooter, Apex Legends, to help prevent crunch in April 2019, a day after Polygon Epic Games report was published.

Riot has taken a number of steps to improve the corporate culture that has been scrutinized in the past alleged sexist behavior of some employees and toxic management who could not remedy repeated abuses. The studio settled with current and former female employees for $ 10 million in December 2019 in a lawsuit accusing Riot of discrimination based on sex and sexual harassment.