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VU Games sued by programmer

Application man Neil Aitken claims he was forced to work 12-hour days and falsify timesheets to keep it above board.

Application programmer Neil Aitken has filed a lawsuit against his employer Vivendi-Universal Games, alleging that he and colleagues were regularly forced to work excessive hours and falsify timesheets, and denied overtime pay.

Asking developers to work extremely long hours toward the end of a product's development is an oft ignored but arguably universal practice in the games industry, where the final "crunch" weeks of production are often the toughest as developers strive to quash bugs and submit games to platform holders.

Taking a look around, Internet forums and mailing lists are rife with disgruntled employees who feel they have no choice but to accede to management demands, however unreasonable, for fear of losing their jobs. Major publishers are often the focus of such complaints.

Indeed, the Reuters article reporting on Aitken's suit points out that it's the latest of many similar suits filed in California in recent months as developers seek eligibility for overtime pay and compensation for 40-plus-hour weeks.

Aitken, for his part, was paid for a 40-hour-week, but claims he and colleagues were regularly forced to work more than 12 hours a day. The VU man is seeking back payment of overtime wages and various other damages.

VU Games has yet to comment on the situation.

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Tom Bramwell


Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.