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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Game developers are speaking out about their fickle careers, which are rife with long hours, stagnation and the threat of layoffs.

Why it matters: Longtime designer Laralyn McWilliams calls this "one of the unspoken taxes of being in game dev," pointing in a Twitter thread to 10 moves in 27 years that span cities from Raleigh, North Carolina, and Ann Arbor, Michigan, to Seattle, Los Angeles, and Chicago.

  • "It almost certainly destroys your spouse/partner's career because they have no consistency, no long track record, less opportunity for advancement. And it becomes harder and harder to make friends in new cities as you age, especially for an introvert like me."
  • McWilliams also shared a story about talking career advancement with a colleague: "I said, 'I burned my entire life and my husband's on the altar of game development.' I have no regrets because game dev and design is at my core ... but it's a hard road for sure.”

What they're saying: An executive producer at Bungie commiserated with McWilliams over 11 moves in 22 years. "Also 'what spouse' can be the other side effect of all this," she added.

  • Others have found a way to enjoy long careers in one place. "It can be done," said one developer, citing 27 years in Massachusetts. Another developer at Arkane Studios called themselves "extraordinarily lucky" to have spent 30 years working in Austin.

The bottom line: The problems McWilliams points to are more complicated for immigrant developers.

  • Developers who come work on visas are more susceptible to having their lives uprooted when a sudden layoff occurs; many visas require them to find employment in weeks, or face deportation.
  • "One of the reasons myself and so many other immigrants have stayed in Montreal is the number of studios," said one programming project lead. "You can change jobs without giving up your friends, property and quality of life."

Go deeper

Finally, a video game about the Ever Given

Screenshot: Napas Torteeka

A newly revealed PC game called “Whatever” will give players a rough approximation of what it’s like to steer a container ship through a tight canal, a half year after its inspiration, the Ever Given, got unstuck from the Suez.

Why it matters: For all the thousands of video games that are made each year, it’s rare that one is based, however loosely, on the news.

Take our survey: Do Minnesotans have friendship issues?

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Are the stereotypes true? Is it actually harder to make friends in the Twin Cities?

Zoom out: New research shows Americans have fewer friends than in the past. Only 13% of U.S. adults reported having 10 or more close friends in 2021, versus 33% in 1990, Axios' Mike Allen writes.

  • 22% percent of Americans say it's been at least five years since they last made a new friend, according to May polling by the Survey Center on American Life.

We want to hear from you. We're asking:

  • Are native Minnesotans more difficult to befriend?
  • If you're from Minnesota, are most of your friends also from here?
  • How do you meet new people?
  • What advice would you give to transplants looking to form new friendships?

Our survey is short, simple and should take just a couple of minutes to complete. It runs through Thursday night, and the results will be shared next week.

Take and share the survey.

"Atmospheric river" swings Northern California from drought to flood

Satellite view of the bomb cyclone swirling off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and the atmospheric river affecting California on Oct. 24. Photo: CIRA/RAMMB

A series of powerful "atmospheric river" storms are delivering historic amounts of rainfall across parts of drought-stricken California and the Pacific Northwest — triggering widespread power outages and flooding.

Why it matters: The strong atmospheric river, packing large amounts of moisture, is causing Northern California to whiplash from drought to flood.

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