Crunch is a practice that’s unfortunately not uncommon in the games industry, in which developers work mandatory overtime to deliver a game or an update by a deadline.
MachineGames is the Swedish developer behind “Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus” and “Wolfenstein: The New Order,” and it has a policy put in effect over the last year that the studio is putting “a lot of effort” into abiding by.
Jennings wrote that crunch is a difficult topic, in response to a question from Reddit user Porrick.
“‘Finding what’s fun’ in games is so hard to schedule and plan for,” Jennings wrote. “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 [months] 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.”
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While it’s encouraging to hear that MachineGames is trying to avoid crunch, it’s not completely clear how successful the studio has been at avoiding crunch over the past year, in practice, from Jennings’ response. The studio is currently working on “Wolfenstein: Youngblood,” set for release this summer.
Other studios have crunch problems, an issue that’s been dominating game industry concerns as of late. Most recently, NetherRealm, the studio behind the “Mortal Kombat” series was under fire for its overtime practices, in which some workers said they were putting in 80 to 100 hour workweeks.