In my country (Australia), asking someone to work more than 38 hours as routine is illegal, under threat of a $30,000 fine, per person, per instance.
If you have to work over 38 hours for a short period of time, then legally those extra hours have to be given back as time off, so that over a "reasonable period" (generally a fortnight or a month) your hours per week average back out to 38 or less.
In "crunch periods" -- usually the time where a game is almost ready to ship, the deadline is looming, but you've got a huge list of bugs to squash still -- I have been asked to work 50 hour weeks... but for me, that was very unusual. I've actually seen quite a few people resign because of this request (staff taking it as a sign of poor management, and getting out before things get worse).
 I forgot, at the local EA office down the road here, they do not hire "employees", but instead force everyone to be a "contractor", which makes them somewhat exempt from these employee protection laws (well not really, but there's no union to tell the workers that they actually do have rights despite the smokescreen), and also lets them do other nefarious things, like state that the worst performing 10% of the office will not have their contracts renewed at the end of the year, which silently encourages everyone to do voluntary overtime...
Take this with a large grain of salt. I don't have first hand experience there, and only hear these things through the local game development grape-vine (the alumni of the local developers is very incestuous - everyone is about 2 degrees of separation apart). They've also basically fired that whole team and instead bought up and merged together a bunch of other local companies since I heard these stories, so the internal culture might have gotten better... [/edit]
In other countries, things might be different.
Edited by Hodgman, 31 March 2013 - 08:39 AM.