Many industries suffer through crunch – periods of intense workloads which could sometimes see developers working far longer than is healthy in order to meet a deadline (or in a video game’s case, a release date). Companies have however started to try and be more proactive in preventing crunch, with the latest company to buck the trend being Guerilla Games.
In a recent report by Dutch news site NU.nl, the game director for Horizon Forbidden West – Mathijs De Jonge – discussed many aspects to the game, including the diversity of the studio, the contrast between the Horizon and Killzone franchises and more. In discussing the topic of development crunch, Mathijs said (as translated by DeepL):
“That happens very little with us. We are very aware of the disadvantages of crunching, so we take that into account a lot in our planning. To give an example, at Christmas we said that there would be no work and that everyone could just have a two-week vacation. The company was closed, you couldn't even go there to work.”
Some people would still work overtime however, with Mathijs claiming that “Some people like to keep working, they don't necessarily want Christmas vacations. That's allowed, we're not going to stop that. But from the company's point of view, we send a very strong message.”
Finally, Mathijs revealed why the game was delayed from its initially intended release year of 2021, saying “Forbidden West might have come out at the end of last year, but then we might have had to work overtime. People also need to be able to relax and take vacations, for example to be with family and friends. That also played into the decision to only release the game now.”
With Horizon Forbidden West now available to all (our own impressions of which can be FOUND HERE), its polish, love and care can be felt throughout the game – and knowing that devs didn’t have to hurt themselves for the sake of it is even better.
KitGuru says: What do you think of crunch? Should it be eliminated throughout the industry? Should developers unionise? Let us know down below.