Double Fine founder Tim Schafer believes that studios need to do more to remove the entrenched notion that crunching is an inevitable part of game development.
Talking to The Washington Post about making Double Fine’s long-awaited sequel, Psychonauts 2, the veteran designer admitted that the Microsoft-owned studio has been guilty of smashing in the past, but said that is precisely why it is important to push back when the known (and certainly unhealthy) habits begin to materialize.
“We tried to find different ways not to have crunch, and we’ve gotten better, but a couple of projects have been in trouble and needed a lot of extra work,” Schafer admits. “This last year has been interesting for everyone. Everyone is at home [and] You try to monitor to make sure no one is overworked, but everyone̵
For Schafer, cultivating a healthy work-life balance (at least in part) depends on recognizing these early warning signs and acting decisively. Slipping back into a dangerous cycle is far too easy, especially when it has been the norm for so long.
The important thing is to try to change the mentality that it’s just part of the system. Some people are like, ‘Well, it’s just part of making games,’ but it’s just part of making games if you choose not to make it a priority, “Schafer continues. “You actually have to see the quality of life of the team as something you can not lower just to make a deadline.”
You can hear more from Schafer by checking out the full interview on The Washington Post.