Remember when everyone was shocked to hear about the supposedly terrible working conditions at L.A. Noire developer Team Bondi?
Well, unfortunately, that's not exactly new in the world of interactive entertainment. And now a new voice has risen to complain about his work environment: It's Capcom Street Fighter producer Yoshinori Ono.
Ono fell ill this past April and apparently, it was no laughing matter. Capcom wouldn't issue a statement on the executive's health, which prompted rumors that he had passed away. But he's very much alive and mostly recovered, and he has a lot to say; he said it to Eurogamer with great emphasis:
"Capcom doesn't allow a trade union or any sort of worker movement you see. So if I complain I will probably get sacked. You have to say it for me, OK? I want you to write: 'Capcom overworks Ono.' That's your headline."
Ono's health scare forced him to temporarily abandon his position, but even a visit to the hospital didn't provide him with a whole lot of relaxation. In fact, things only get more ominous as Ono explains how the company showed little sympathy and expected him to just keep grinding away:
"Nobody told me to take a rest. When I returned to work, Capcom didn't even acknowledge that I had been in hospital. There was no change in my schedule. I was at home for an entire week before the doctors allowed me to return to work. When I returned to my desk there was a ticket to Rome [for a publicity junket] waiting for me. There's no mercy. Everyone in the company says: 'Ono-san we've been so worried about you.' Then they hand me a timetable and it's completely filled with things to do."
Capcom has yet to officially respond to Ono's accusations but you can bet journalists will keep after the publisher for an answer. We know Japanese game makers often feel pressured to deliver top-quality products in an increasingly competitive environment, so maybe some really are pushing too hard… It might even be likely.