The issue of crunch in the games industry has been a controversial one for years. It has plagued almost every studio, especially those that develop high-budget AAA titles. Most recently, this applied to games like CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077 and more. That is the reason why it’s always great to hear that a studio could make a good game without resorting to crunch.
According to the tweets from several game developers and employees of Insomniac Games, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was developed almost entirely crunch-free, with the exception of the occasional late nights.
Insomniac Games designer Grant Parker said:
I’d appreciate ppl sharing this positive. Because it’s important.
#RatchetPS5 is at 89 avg score & I can’t speak for anyone on the team but myself, but I didn’t crunch once. 40h weeks the whole time.
It is possible to work on a great game w/o suffering.
Something others have pointed out which is worth mentioning. I can only speak for myself. I'm a white cis straight male designer. So I'm also working with some privilege for sure.
But overall I was very encouraged by how my managers actively pushed for me to avoid burn out.
— Grant Parker (@GrantPDesign) June 8, 2021
Insomniac Games animator Lindsay Thompson said:
I didn’t crunch once, entire production. A couple late nights here and there finishing something up, but COMPLETELY CRUNCH FREE. It is possible. Team wellness lets the creativity flow free.
Yes, I will also add, that I speak for myself. I do believe the team as a whole did not suffer crunch and our management certainly encouraged that.
— Lindsay Thompson (@Binzimation) June 8, 2021
Insomniac Games employee Jeff Wiedner said:
This is very true. I worked hard but never was compelled to crunch. If I put in xtra hours, it was my choice because I had something I was really xcited about & wanted it to look STELLAR. But I was actively encouraged by my leads and mgmt to keep my life in balance. And I did!
I know a bunch of us speaking out may feel artificial, but 1 – its not. No one asked me to say anything about my work habits or time spent making the game, and;
2 – it's important for people to know – we don't need to crunch like crazy to make great games!
— Jeff Weidner (@BucketAnimator) June 8, 2021
Sure, in retrospect, three of out the hundreds of individuals who worked on the game probably aren’t indicative of what the majority experienced during development. Still, these people came forward and decided to tweet these apparently without being compelled by anyone else to do so. If it’s true that Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was made without crunch, it’s definitely something to be celebrated.
In the meantime, check out my 4000-word spoiler-free review of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart here.