Game development is still kind of secretive. It makes finding things out about studios and how they operate hard unless the staff in them actually come out and speak up about issues or things that go well.
2020 has been a chaotic year for the industry, with myriad allegations against studios, people within them, and plenty of other issues being brought to light.
One of the biggest issues in the industry is one of crunch.
If you don't know what that is or why it's bad, then let us help you out, because 2021 needs to be the year when crunch dies.
What is crunch and why is it bad?
Crunch is a term used to describe the process of overtime required to get many games out the door in a reasonable fashion.
It's a term that is inherently far cuter than what it represents, because if we all called it "overtime which often leads to 80 hours weeks and burns talented people out before replacing them with someone younger who doesn't stick up for themselves," then we'd probably have to talk about it less because it would be obvious it's abhorrent.
Overtime in jobs isn't uncommon, but it does represent a failure of management more often than not. The ideal situation would be not crunching and instead simply delaying the game.
However, Cyberpunk 2077, despite multiple delays, had the developers crunching for an incredibly long time. Often delays just mean a longer period of crunch for the devs, and if it doesn't change then the games industry is probably going to fail.
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Will crunch always be a part of the games industry?
Crunch inevitably leads to talented people burning out due to overwork and leaving the industry.
While there will probably always be more people to come in due to the allure of the job, it will eventually lead to a point where the knowledge in the industry is far lower than it should be.
Every time somebody leaves they take their expertise with them, and if this happens enough time you end up with husks that used to be good studios unable to create good games because nobody there has enough experience.
If it's not addressed then the entire industry will end up burning out, and we really don't want that, do we?
READ MORE: How to get a refund for Cyberpunk 2077