In 1998, 'Jagged Alliance' Developers Threatened a Walkout—And It Worked

Yesterday's organized walkout by Riot Games employees is an almost unheard-of labor action by games industry workers, but it's not without precedent. Developers have been dealing with unethical or irresponsible labor conditions for about as long as people have been making games—believe me, I know this firsthand both as a career developer and someone who served on the board of the IGDA—and many of the dynamics driving labor action at Riot have cropped up at other studios, at very different times in the history of this industry. In interviews for my book about the development of the brilliant 1999 PC tactical RPG Jagged Alliance 2, I learned about a similar labor action.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

this article was fascinating. ive seen folks about how a lot of conversations about video games tend to have a recency bias. usually that refers to matters of preservation or, like non-video game games being overlooked. which are all worthwhile things to care about! but this makes me realize another part of that, which is that i know SO little about how games have been made in the past. like, there’s the fun fact about Satoru Iwata and Pokemon Gold, or the Deus Ex portem years on. but pieces like this (and that huge history of Halo from 2017!) feel really valuable, particularly when its as timely as this piece.

it also makes me want to check out that Jagged Alliance 2 book, despite never playing the game, which is somethin.

If people haven’t read the book, they really should. Jagged Alliance 2 is the best squad tactical game ever made and the development is a really interesting story.