If you enjoy the video game industry and keep tabs on what’s going on with various studios or your favorite IPs, you may have come across the term crunch. This is a phrase that developers don’t like to talk about unless it’s to clear the air about how the particular studio avoids using crunch at all costs. One of those studios that apparently avoids entering crunch is Obsidian Entertainment as a senior designer stated the studio’s views on making video games and its employees.
So for those of you who don’t know what crunch is, this is a stage of development. It’s not one that every studio goes through and it ideally avoided at all costs. However, some studios seem to rely on crunch to get through their video game titles. Essentially, this is a means to work overtime with little to hardly any time off to ensure that a video game title reaches its release date. This comes in various forms, while some developers don’t require crunch, they have reportedly painted a very thin line of what is considered crunch and just normal development goals.
Take for example the slew of reports that came from former Naughty Dog contractors. Naughty Dog is a well-known worldwide video game development studio that releases exclusive PlayStation title. With the works of Uncharted and The Last of Us under their label, Naughty Dog is a pinnacle studio that provides gamers incredible works of art with a high level of detail. That is reportedly done with contractors working insane hours in a not so welcoming atmosphere.
Crunch is still something that developers enforce such as Hideo Kojima’s upcoming Death Stranding video game employees undergoing the development phase right now. However, as mentioned, Obsidian Entertainment avoids this phase and that’s according to senior designer Brian Hines. Brian spoke with PCGamesN who stated that the studio never went into this phase for as long as he’s been with the company. There is a clear focus on getting the employees to have a life outside of the industry and if that means cutting something out of development then so be it.
Currently, Obsidian Entertainment is working on a new video game title known as The Outer Worlds which is releasing on October 25, 2019, for the PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One platforms. Likewise, the game is confirmed to be releasing on the Nintendo Switch but there has yet to be a release date attached to the platform.