Eidos' Quebec game studios shift to a four-day work week

The schedule is a rare effort to fight crunch mode at game developers.

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Jon Fingas
October 7, 2021 2:45 PM
People wait in line to play the video game Shadow of the Tomb Raider,  by Eidos Montreal and Square Enix, on June 12, 2018 at the 24th Electronic Expo, or E3 2018, in Los Angeles, California where hardware manufacturers, software developers and the video game industry present their new games. (Photo by Frederic J. BROWN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)
FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Eidos is joining the ranks of game developers pushing back against crunch time. The Square Enix-owned studio has announced that its Quebec locations (Montreal and Sherbrooke) are shifting to a four-day, Monday-to-Thursday work week sometime in the "next few weeks." Salaries and working conditions will remain the same, the Deus Ex and Tomb Raider developer said.

The hope, as you might expect, is to improve the quality of working hours. Eidos is accordingly encouraging teams to redefine work conditions and improve efficiency, such as by cutting meeting times. The company had already implemented some quality-of-life changes during the pandemic, such as rest periods and compensation for mental and physical health costs — this is ostensibly a logical extension of that strategy.

Eidos isn't the first studio to adopt a four-day week. Bugsnax developer Young Horses made that switch in September. It's very rare for a large studio to make this move, though, and it might prompt similar moves by other developers if the strategy proves successful.

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Not now

"If" is the operative term, however. Eidos was eager to tout past tests with shortened work weeks, like with Iceland's civil service, but it's not yet clear if that translates to the game industry. Developers are notorious for rushing games to make the holiday season, even if that leads to extremely buggy results. Eidos will have to make a hard choice: does it stick to the four-day schedule and risk delaying games, or demand extra hours to be sure a title is ready? This shortened week could pay off with happier developers, but it could also cause problems if teams take months more to finish projects.

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Eidos' Quebec game studios shift to a four-day work week