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Capcom's Ono Blasts Company For Overworking Employees

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.

Tags: street fighter x tekken, capcom, yoshinori ono, tekken

6/12/2012 8:50:53 PM John Shepard

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Legacy Comment System (11 posts)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 9:46:22 PM

Oh no for Ono

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 10:13:06 PM

I do feel sympathy for the guy, and yes perhaps this does need to be looked at and changed, but hasn't this kind of always been the case in the video game industry? When a developer gets a contract to do a game, it isn't exactly a 9-5 job...It's long hours, late night pizza in the office and sleeping at your desk until the thing launches, and then you take a couple of days to breath, (unless you're doing publicity) and then it's on to the next one.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 10:33:43 PM

Is Capcom based in Wisconsin or something? Poor guy.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012 @ 10:53:05 PM

He's worked for Crapcom for ages. He understood how they run. He should have made sure he was completely recovered before returning to work. He chose to work in a high stress industry. I'm sorry he fell ill, and I'm glad he's feeling better but this honestly sounds like whining. A workers movement? C'mon! If Crapcom was unionized, they would have been out of business a long time ago.

Sorry you got sick Ono, now man up and find another job if you hate working for Crapcom.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 4:43:27 AM

That honestly seems a little insensitive, Jawknee. It's not too much to ask for more humane working conditions, isn't it? Sure, he could leave Capcom and go somewhere else, but what if there are reasons that make it hard for him to leave? Maybe all he's asking is for Capcom to realize that he's human too and NEEDS rest, especially if he just recovered from sickness.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012 @ 12:00:36 PM

"this honestly sounds like whining"

I think him "whining" at this stage in his career at Capcom was a matter of time. It is also a rarity.

"now man up and find another job if you hate working for Crapcom"

That is probably easier said than done, I'm afraid. Plus, I don't think he is confident enough that he will get another job.

"what if there are reasons that make it hard for him to leave?"

I believe it is a matter of job security. There was an asian economic crisis in the 1990's and Japan's economy experienced its worst recession since World War II in early 2009, propelling the nation's jobless rate in July 2009. So it makes sense that he stayed at the company for so long.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 6:37:37 AM

shame to see the world the way it is, but sadly this is what its like!
no one gives a sh*t about their employees any more!
its not only the games industry either, everywhere its like that.
a family friend of mine he use to love his job he was treated like a king!
hes tech support, anything he wants he gets!
he has a work car, work phone, work laptop, work pays his phone bills, they pay for all the software on his laptop, they pay for his petrol.
anything he wants at work, a new desk, a new chair, new software, anything they will buy it for him!
last few years though because of the recession companies going broke they have changed their tune and now they wont do sh*t for him!
they use to have him as manager and 4 people under him.
now its just him they fired everyone else, and expect him to do all the work!
there still running XP because their too tight a$$ed to upgrade!
he wants a new printer because hes is broken and it will cost too much to fix but they wont buy him one, they just say oh what do you need one for?
unfortunately this is how companies are these days they dont give a f*ck about their employees!

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 9:59:36 AM

Well, let's not kid ourselves that corporate America is any better. I've had a stomach problem for the last few years that last year flared up badly, I used my sick tim (what little there is) and all my vacation time and several days of unpaid leave - yes UNPAID. Do you think I got sympathy? Hell no, I did get a stern talking to about my attendance record, at which point I simply stated; "Hey, I was sick, do you think I would use vacation and unpaid days if I wasn't sick?". But the stigma of being out of the office a lot sticks. Management and HR don't give a flying F*&^ what happened, all they care about is the number of sick days and whether it's above or below corporate average. You could be the best worker, the most effective employee, and still they will cut you no slack when illness strikes.

Personally I think that corporate America stinks to high heaven for a number of reasons. But their treatment of employees as chattel is definitely one reason. The fact that to get good health care you're effectively beholden to your employer does tend to make you feel a little like an indentured servant as well.

Last edited by TheHighlander on 6/13/2012 9:59:50 AM

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012 @ 1:37:44 PM

Thank God for you man. There is a culture of anti-personnel in this country that is worrisome to say the least.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012 @ 2:23:32 AM

Agreed , i worked at one place for 1 year and the only day i took a sick day , the big boss personally came to ask me why and i said ...

"I had an interview for another job" .... he said nothing and walked away .Saying the truth feel so good sometime .

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Thursday, June 14, 2012 @ 12:28:12 PM

One would think that the guy who was responsible for bringing Street Fighter franchise back to being a money maker would receive better treatment or, at the most, a CEO sized bonus.

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