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Jan022011

« EX-Programmer Talks KOFXIII Console Port Situation & Working Conditions at SNKP, SNK at CES This Week »

For those of you who are big fans of SNK-Playmore and the King of Fighters series, you might want to skip this entry completely as it's fairly depressing. The Professor at MMCAFE translated a number of tweets from an EX-programmer at SNK-Playmore who talks about the working conditions at the company and the current situation surrounding porting the KOF games to console. 

Now, keep in mind this is just one side of the story -- one man's opinion and experiences -- though it should shed some light on why the netcode in KOFXII was so bad. Check out the entry below for all the details. 

Also, somewhat related, SNK will be at CES this week, most likely showing off King of Fighters XIII and perhaps some other games as well? Maybe we'll hear more about the console port of the game and future plans for the company. Click here to check out the CES flier. 

 

Professor at MMCAFE Translation of EX-Programmer Tweets:

 

 

For anyone wondering where some of the recent rumors regarding SNKP's situation with the KOF franchise's current development statuses are coming from, it stems from a programmer, who supposedly worked for the company and quit in late September after six years under their payroll.

 

I was taking it with a grain of salt and didn't think it was worth a mention due to the lack of legitimacy until recently, when I realized that he was talking together with Dokimajo producer Yoshiyasu Matsushita about the company's internal situation.

 

His tweets has some very.. 'raw' tidbits, such as this entry

 

"Around the end of the development period, I was sleeping under my desk with a towel rolled around me, laying on newspaper. It's just memories now, like the way how I almost caught a cold with the air conditioner on while asleep, or like how I hit my head on my desk when I woke up. XII's console [development] period was seriously really bad."

 

He avoids directly naming his ex-company, but there's quite a number of entries about the workplace and its treatment. Like the way how his supervisor ordered his staff to work on a sleepover for a full week without letting them go home (note: the company doesn't have a shower room). Or like in another instance, how he wasn't allowed to even get a replacement for a very unconfortable chair and had to wait for another staff to quit so he could swap it. The company simply seems to be tight on money.

 

I symphasize with the programmer. He very obviously loves coding, enough that he'd buy expensive reference books on his own money since his company isn't willing to pick up the expense.

 

For anyone nutty enough to scroll all the way to the end of September to read some entries of what seems to be about XIII's home port situation, feel free.

 

Some snippets, but not all, are provided below. The figures sound small, and I assume that he's just talking in terms of the number of programmers... or is he. Either way, it can somewhat explain the bad net code in XII.

 

"It seems like the rest has to be done by two staffs and one part-timer at my company too.. I guess there's a lot of projects like that." *1

 

"I had quit without worrying because they were saying that the home port is going to be outsourced" *

 

"I heard later that they were going to do it in-house, and I'm left feeling like, wait what...?" *3

 

"Just to add, the previous home version for the PS3 and Xbox360 was developed with 5 people, so as a company, they might have been thinking that "it's no problem if just one or two people left." Acheiving results is important, but I don't like the idea that we had set a weird previous example..." *4

 

References (2)

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Reader Comments (21)

This is depressing. Doesn't Japan have labor laws for the workplace? :-(

January 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRoland Li

@Roland Li

I'd guess that illegal mistreatment of employees happens in almost every country, but you just don't hear about it. You can sort of see why it doesn't get much attention: it's always really, really sad.

January 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterUncleBibby

Sounds like crunch time, which is a common practice to get games out the door with tight budgets and tight deadlines. But it sounds more like SNK management has no idea how to proceed with such low resources; they seem to make decisions on what is cheaper (in-house development/outsource) at the last minute, which drives their employees nuts, I'm sure.

The sad part isn't that boxerprogrammer has to sleep under his desk at work, but that if SNK doesn't have a hit (read: competent netcode, fewer bugs) on its hands with KOF13, what other projects are going to keep it afloat? A new Metal Slug? If KOF13 fails, will it be the last KOF?

January 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMiga-Oh

No wonder KOF12 was such an abomination, they do not treat their employees (or at least this one) properly. Having such limited man power for ANY next gen game I would imagine is not just a bad idea, but an absolutely ignorant/impossible goal.

I can't imagine NOT being able to go home, and I really can't imagine NOT slapping the person telling me I can't LoL. You can't expect people who are overworked, sleep deprived, and homesick to produce good work, and KOF12 reflects those circumstances all to well. This REALLY makes me worried for the future of KOF13, as it has already had it's share of bugs, and if SNK has not done anything to change the work conditions there are probably some pi**ed of game designers who agree with me.

January 2, 2011 | Registered CommenterRebel123

Not that this has anything to do with the topic at hand, but for some reason I'm reminded of this hidden message from an old NES game.

Back on topic, I'd like to hear SNK's side of this, but I doubt it'll make me change my feelings on the matter. SNK as a company seems (to me) to have fallen pretty far within the past couple years, and some of their decisions (and the resulting fallout) reflected that (botched outsourced Garou/98UM XBL ports, that terrible 3D SS, XII/2002UM netcode debacles, XIII bugginess, no real PSN support until recently). I really want SNK to get their shit together and make KoF XIII console the best game it can be, because it seems like we have another "Final Fantasy" situation on our hands.

January 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSofaKing

Just let capcom buy out the company and everything will be better and we can get cvs3!

January 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSek

If this is true, sounds like it's going to be 2000 all over again for SNK. Hmm... if they need funds to support production, they could always make another DS game about touching girls butts, there's always a market for that.

January 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDTJB

Capcom buying out SNK? I would not mind that at all if it leads to CvS3 either. Reminds me of the WWF and WCW situation where WCW was being run by dumbasses and WWF bought them out to save the company...and eventually killed it.

January 2, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergo2sleep327

I miss SNK from before the bankruptcy and SNK Playmore mishap. They used to deliver so many good games, and not just KoF with a bit of Metal Slug and Samurai Shodown.

January 3, 2011 | Registered CommenterNite

Far from the first angry rant from an SNK developer, sadly.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterXkeeper

Capcom better not buy snk, if so i would loose interest in both company really fast, fuck that there are better stuff out there.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDark energy

Now I know why my beloved Samurai Shodown has gone 3D and crappy. The people at SNK Playmore are so badly treated that they probably cannot even make a good next-gen game.

Seems like the glory days of SNK will never be revived and it will be soon ArcSys domination with Capcom.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRim

Capcom buying out SNK so all future KoF games look and play like SF4? No thanks. I enjoy KoF way too much to see it degenerate into a turtle fest.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAirMaster

SBOTOROFL@Airmaster

so true lol

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDomine

I read these stories about mistreated game programmers and I always take them with a grain of salt. I work in the game industry and let me outline the scenario for you I see on every project.

Producer: "How long will this take?"
Me: "6 months"
Other programmer: "You don't know what you are talking about! It will take 2 weeks!
Me: "Here is a mountain of evidence why it will not get done in 2 weeks and probably not even in 6 months."
Other programmer: "Well, I can get it done."

3 months later it's still not done. Programmer who wanted to look good has us all working late because we are "months behind."

Programmer hubris + producers not calling them on their bs = crunch.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

I know a couple programmers for Midway (or WB or whatever they're calling themselves now) and they tell a similar (though much more sanitary) story. Once you hit that crunch time, 40 hour weeks become 80 hour weeks and shower/sleep becomes a low priority. That said, Midway had no money at all and even they could afford a couple couches.

Still, this is terrible. It's a shame to know that KOF XII could've been better with a little more love from the top brass, and it paints a pretty dim picture for the next one(s?). Oh, and human rights and all that.

tl;dr version: Basically what Miga-Oh said.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBalloon

"I read these stories about mistreated game programmers and I always take them with a grain of salt. I work in the game industry and let me outline the scenario for you I see on every project.

Producer: "How long will this take?"
Me: "6 months"
Other programmer: "You don't know what you are talking about! It will take 2 weeks!
Me: "Here is a mountain of evidence why it will not get done in 2 weeks and probably not even in 6 months."
Other programmer: "Well, I can get it done."

3 months later it's still not done. Programmer who wanted to look good has us all working late because we are "months behind."

Programmer hubris + producers not calling them on their bs = crunch."


THIS!!!...

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKoffer

@airmaster the sf games have always been better than kof. sfiv shits on lame ass kofxii and you damn well know it. the graphics have killed the kof games i cant stand those outdated graphics . i was looking foward to xii till i played it. im hoping xiii can fix that situation

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersel

@SEL i dont know if SF has always been better than KOF but i will agree with one thing no fighting game this gen was more disappointing than KOFXII. Id rather capcom take over and give SNK the financial support they need to make games and not demos which was what KOFXII was a 60 dollar demo. @airmaster the good old SNK days are gone did you even play KOFXII the game was terrible and at this point any other developer might be better than SNK.

January 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTheTHCGamer

as far as I saw this post didn't say anything along the lines of 'the game isn't going to come to consoles.' I'm not fazed.

they need to get the netcode right this time. they really, REALLY need to. so this is a bit of a bad sign as far as that's concerned =|

January 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterHalfEmpty

that's sad. I would like to work in projects like this, but if that's how people are routinely treated I may reconsider.

January 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKojin
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