Video game “crunch”–or the process of overworking developers towards the end of a game’s production or in the lead up to milestone reviews–has been a hot button issue for many years, but particularly in 2019.
Gearbox Software, the developer of Borderlands 3, recently spoke with VG247 about the studio’s policy on crunch, and why they don’t do it.
“We are not a crunch studio,” multiplayer producer Chris Burke said. “We don’t do the thing where we say, ‘Hey, everyone’s going to be working 10 hours, or 12 hours a day,’ or whatever. We don’t do that.”
“It is hard to completely avoid it, because you’ve got people–Okay, I’m going to name drop a guy, he’s probably going to be pissed. We have a guy, Brad Sierzega. He is one of our level artists for the game, so if you like the way Promethea looks, you can thank Brad Sierzega. He is a guy who knows that every second he puts in the game improves the game. I can’t actually even stop him.”
“On the one side, you’ve heard the horror stories of devs who’ve driven their people into the ground. And then, there are other stories, where it’s like, ‘Man, you guys have to calm down, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. And you can’t just burn yourself up right now,'” Burke continued.
More and more developers and studios have spoken out about crunch this year. Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser claimed that some employees were working 100-hour weeks on Red Dead Redemption 2, the closure of Telltale Games unearthed some painful truths, MachineGames admitted it’s trying to eliminate crunch, Massive Entertainment talked to us about it, and top Bethesda devs spoke out on why crunch is bad. Crunch has always existed in video game development, but with more developers speaking out and the public becoming more aware, it seems to be a slightly less frequent issue at least.
Borderlands 3 launches on September 13 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.