Development “crunch”—a term given to the excessively long hours that devs work to make milestone deadlines—has been a hot topic in the games industry as of late. With reports of especially toxic crunching hours coming from the likes of Red Dead Redemption 2 developer Rockstar, Epic Games’ Fortnite and Mortal Kombat 11’s NetherRealm Studios, it’s no wonder that the community has started paying closer attention to the issue.
In a Reddit AMA over the weekend, MachineGames (of Wolfenstein fame) producer John Jennings commented on the topic of “crunch” and how it is being handled within the studio.
“As you’re a developer I’m sure you know that crunch is a difficult topic. ‘Finding what’s fun’ in games is so hard to schedule and plan for,” Jennings writes. “The labour laws in Sweden are very prescriptive about what’s legal but crunch is also something that we’re actively working at eliminating from our studio, and I say that genuinely, rather than as some trite PR answer. We’ve built a policy over the last 12 month and we’re putting in a lot of effort to stick to it, even if that makes life for us in management more difficult from a business perspective sometimes.”
Although Jennings doesn’t list any specifics for how the developer will implement their plan for “crunch” reduction, it’s good news to see another big name in the industry joining the conversation—Apex Legends studio Respawn Entertainment and Path of Exile developer Chris Wilson have also taken hard stances on the elimination of “crunch” from their respective companies.
Time will tell if Jennings and the rest of MachineGames hold to their statement about their approach to work culture, as the impending release of Wolfenstein: Youngblood is sure to present tight milestone deadlines soon, if it hasn’t already.
Wolfenstein: Youngblood, the highly anticipated spinoff to 2017’s critically acclaimed Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus, releases July 26 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC.