There was an interview with former Retro studio employee Mike Wikan, who gave some informations.
Apparently the work for the original Metroid Prime involved some really bad crunch at the time. As Nintendo became aware of this, they took control and switched leadership. And that new leadership stopped the crunch culture.
It is nice to hear a story for a change, that a bigger company stepping in changed things for the better. I hope more managers in the industry realize that crunch is bad for the company, bad for the people working there and bad for the games. The crunch culture needs to stop. Thankfully Nintendo did that at Retro Studios. At least if we believe that employee.
Also this makes waiting for a delayed game much better. Because I know, it is for the well-being of the great persons creating the game I love. They deserve a good work-life balance.
Let me preface what I'm about to say by declaring that I am in no way, nor have I ever been, in favor of crunch. But I think it's also incorrect when you say that crunch is bad for games. Some of, if not all, the greatest games over the last twenty years were all produced using crunch. It was damn near an industry standard at one point and considered the de facto way of getting things done on time.
Having said that though, I'm glad it's starting to go away. I can not condone the practice, even if it does produce faster forms of entertainment.
I disagree. Well, with your first paragraph, not the second one. I may not be a game developer, but I am a programmer. And I can tell you, the most important resources you use to create software are concentration and inspiration. Inspiration to solve the problems you face, concentration to do it right. If you work for 10 hours, you may be exhausted and concentration is starting to wane. If you work that ten hours for a week, including the weekend, you are on the way to unravel. If you keep that up for a month or even months - then all you produce clearly suffers. Lack of concentration leadsd to bugs in software. In Games you have other areas, bugs here are plotholes in storylines, unclear solutions, strange gameplay decisions, wrong details in models. Lack of inspiration makes the work more dull. You may bet on the inital drafts the team made at the project start, but a good game find improvements big and small all over it's development cycle. So yes, there are great games that were produced with crunch. But they were great *despite* the crunch (speaking a lot for the quality and enthusiasm of the devs), not *because* of the crunch.
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