How 'Slime Rancher' Made a Ton of Money And Stuck to 40-Hour Workweeks

Noted Joe Rogan fan and exceptionally bad Twitter user Elon Musk recently said “there are way easier places to work, but nobody ever changed the world on 40 hours a week,” a response to ongoing criticism of the exploitative labor conditions at Musk’s companies, especially the vehicle-focused Tesla. Musk’s comment garnered all manner of response, including one from Nick Popovich, the game director behind 2017’s Slime Rancher, a wildly successful game about collecting, raising, and breeding enormously cute slimes creatures.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Nice one! I’m a huge fan of Slime Rancher and I’m happy to hear they maintain a healthy work environment. I’m looking forward to the future articles highlighting change in the industry.


Really great write-up Patrick. As much as I like Waypoint calling out studios that drive their employees into the ground, it’s refreshing to see an article showing a success story in the field of work-life balance. I look forward to reading more stuff like this!


Just wanted to shout this out for folks who don’t check Twitter (you’re so valid):

Not sure what the overlap between “uses the forum”, “doesn’t use Twitter”, and “fits the bill in that tweet”, but… expect more!


In a different article, this could be a much more sinister line.

Joking aside, I played a good bit of Slime Rancher after Chris Slight talked about it on The Dialog Box podcast, and it was a lot of fun. I eventually got a little overwhelmed by the finickiness of the cages and the unpredictably of the predator/prey slime dynamics, but I could definitely see how its Minecraft-meets-Viva Piñata style would be a great hook for the right person.

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As someone who went Twitter-free about a year ago, this is much appreciated.


Reading through the article, there’s points of this that I want to say that I really appreciate (I am teasing folks who are just reading the forum topic to go read Klepek’s work – you’ll thank me later). For example:

We’ve even had these problems at Waypoint. In Waypoint’s first year, we also had a startup mentality, and people were putting in long, unchecked hours day after day, week after week. […] Waypoint hadn’t made it a priority to call out people overworking themselves. At a team meeting a little more than a year this whole experiment, we had long conversations about Waypoint’s own hypocrisy. How can we call out bad labor practices if we aren’t able to abide them ourselves?

I think it would be easy for an outlet like Waypoint to make excuses or to justify why it’s fine for them to crunch while pushing back against it in the industry. But there is a value in implementing it internally and allowing that to inform your thinking. What does a commitment to avoiding crunch in a culture that promotes hard work and dedication look like?


“I really don’t want to give everyone the impression that the only reason Monomi Park provides a healthy environment for its staff is because we got lucky with a big hit,” he said. “I feel strongly that we have a big hit because we have a healthy work/life balance. To be honest, if the article ends up reading as it was just a matter of luck and we’re an exception, I’d rather not publish it at all because it’s sending the wrong message to the industry and not pushing this industry towards healthier practices.”

Some welcome pushback from Popovich too!


is there a better feeling than knowing one of your favorite games is helmed by people who are pretty damn decent at labor stuff?


I’m super curious how their healthy working habits has impacted the budget for Waypoint. It is just speculation, but I can imagine that Austin has received some level of pushback from Vice if their output dropped because of their goal to diminish extra hours.

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Respect to no twitter. I am becoming less able to handle Social Media as time goes on. I went Facebook free late last year and it was a great decision.

Slime Rancher looks extremely my jam. Thanks for this write up.