Last week, a thread appeared on the Call of Duty Zombies Subreddit from a disgruntled ex-Treyarch employee detailing the poor working conditions of the QA department. The thread has since been deleted, as well as the user's comments.
We contacted the user and asked for some clarification on the matter. Although they did not definitively prove their identity to us, the post was accepted as legitimate by the community when they gave the remaining details for a series of easter eggs on Black Ops 4's XI and Classified maps that the community had been unable to figure out. The information they did give us seemed to support what claims they were making but note that we are unable to definitively verify it.
The user claimed to have worked in the Easter Egg QA department for Black Ops 4 Zombies. For those who aren't familiar with Call of Duty Zombies, Easter Eggs have developed into a major thing over the years. Fans will pour over the mode's maps searching for Easter Eggs and the developers usually deliver.
They explained that they were fired after taking their lunch break at the wrong time, despite the times being constantly changed around. They cite poor communication and time management on the side of the team's leadership.
They claimed to have been a valued member of the team, having worked there for two years and racking up "the most issues reported" and being "the only employee who plays the game outside of work".
The user also says that security was called on them when they refused to leave without their personal belongings.
"There have been issues before... The QA leads treat us like absolute garbage." They continued. "One even started yelling at me when they saw me playing [Multiplayer] instead of [Zombies]. [The QA lead] didn't realize that I was cross verifying an issue, which is a very common request, directly from prod."
In another incident, the ex-employee explained that they tried to download a game that a few others were playing. They were threatened to be fired if they downloaded it.
It's safe to say that the QA team for Black Ops 4 Zombies, which launched with four maps, work pretty hard. This makes this story even more shocking, as the ex-employee talks about how poorly people in the QA department were treated.
Players in the thread took to asking the ex-employee for advice on specific elements of the Zombies maps that the community was stumped by. It seems players are getting the answers they sought, although probably not in the form they expected.
This isn't the first QA team to be under scrutiny for poor working conditions. The discussions leading up to the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 have revealed Rockstar Lincoln to be an unpleasant place to work for QA testers, where overtime was mandatory and not optional.
Quick TakeThe QA department of triple-A studios don't often get a lot of attention but they work tirelessly to make sure games work properly. The number of Easter Eggs in Call of Duty Zombies is staggering so I can only imagine how much work QA testing it would be. This could just be a one-off, but if this is really how QA teams are treated then people need to speak out against it.
What do you think? Should there be more attention paid to how the QA departments of triple-A studios are treated? Let us know in the comments!