A Netflix documentary covers the making of For Honor and how it can really affect the people making those games.
It’s not exactly a secret that working in the games industry can be hard. Most recently we’ve heard reports of people at BioWare suffering from “anxiety and depression” as a result of the continuing crunch to get Anthem to where it’s even remotely able to be considered a good game. And BioWare is hardly the only developer to have deplorable work conditions.
A documentary on Netflix actually gives people a first-hand look at game development and the effect it can have on the people who work on those games. It’s called Playing Hard, and it follows the journey of three people at Ubisoft Montreal as they make the hack-and-slash multiplayer action game, For Honor.
For Honor released in February of 2017 as a genre-busting online multiplayer game. You play as either a knight, a Viking, or a samurai (or most recently, a Wu Lin Chinese warrior) as you brutally slaughter other players and NPCs. Think of it sort of like Dark Souls, only against other people and not horrifying monsters.
The game received rave reviews at launch but failed to be the financial success that Ubisoft was hoping for. That hasn’t stopped Ubisoft from supporting the game, however, as it has received numerous DLC, a major expansion in October of last year, and seasonal rewards to keep things fresh.
But back to Playing Hard. The story mostly follows three people, the first of which being Jason VandenBerghe, the game’s creative director. He had the original vision of what For Honor should be and seems to suffer the most as he loses creative control during the game’s development.
Stéphane Cardin, a producer for the game, has a sudden mental breakdown and goes on a therapeutic retreat just two months before the game was set to launch. Luc Duchaine, a publicist at Ubisoft, lets his health and diet deteriorate and really packs on the pounds by the time For Honor released (he’s since lost the weight and is back to eating healthy).
You can check out Playing Hard on Netflix now, but be warned: there aren’t any happy endings.