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Controversy over Icarus Mobile development crunch

Developer Wemadeio for long working hours and treatment of staff
Controversy over Icarus Mobile development crunch
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Icarus Mobile developer Wemadeio is at the centre of controversy this week due to their development team crunching on the project.

Wemadeio internally announced a crunch period for the Icarus Mobile team would be changed from July to November to between April and November.

This meant the team needed to work until 9pm every week day as well as work for nine hours each Sunday. They were also required to work on Saturday and a holiday, except for a few special holidays.

As a compensation, Wemadeio promised that it would pay overtime allowance as well as 50% of the total overtime allowance if the game is released on time. However, if the team fails to release the game this year, it needs to return 50% of overtime allowance.

In addition, the team will receive 10% of the first month revenue of the gam if revenue for the first month reaches up to $22 million. If the revenue reaches up to special target like $27 million and $44 million, their annual salary could be doubled.

Controversial working conditions

As the crunch policy of the Icarus Mobile Team was revealed, it became a controversy among the games community because of the eight-month long period, and the allowance that could be returned if they fail to meet certain targets.

Crunch can be common at studios, sometimes lasting for two to three months, but Wemadeio’s crunch schedule is nearly three times longer.

According to a person in Wemadeio, the reward for crunch mode was proposed by the development team first. The development team asked the board to confirm the reward for crunch to encourage themselves

Wemadeio said: "As the eight-month crunch itself puts a huge burden on developers, and the return policy of the allowance could be a legal issue, we listened to the opinions of the developers through individual interviews before the announcement and we adjusted our crunch policy. We will listen to developers about these policies once again and we will try to resolve this."

However, a developer from the team said the crunch policy was proposed after the individual interview under intense pressure. On April 20th, Thisisgame received an e-mail from a member of the Icarus Mobile team.

The email included the presentation image of the team and the notice at the internal company forum, which criticises the crunch mode policy.

The informant said: “The company forced the team to work on Saturday and holidays. The reward per the certain revenue target is also unrealistic because the revenue target is too high.”

He also mentioned that “most developers did not agree on the incentive return policy". But the company forced them to accept it and kept pressing them psychologically.

Update: Wemadeio has withdrawn crunch mode for Icarus Mobile.

This insight comes to us from the team at This Is Game, the leading Korean games portal and media partner of You'll see some of our articles on their site occasionally and discover exclusive Korean market insights here from This Is Game writers.