Developers at Insomniac have said that Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart development was done without any "crunch" while highlighting the mostly positive review scores that the game has received so far.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is the newest game for the Ratchet & Clank franchise. We've known about it for a good few months now and we're rapidly approaching its release date of June 11, 2021.
There are still a few days to go before launch, but some review scores are already coming out and it's looking pretty good — Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart has an 88 on Metacritic and an 89 on OpenCritic. That's certainly cause for celebration, and some developers have taken this moment to highlight that Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart development was done without any crunch whatsoever.
Devs Speak Out on Crunch-Free Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Development
Several Insomniac employees praised the lack of crunch during Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart development following the review of its good review scores, pointing out that a good game can be made without spending excessive hours at work.
"I'd appreciate [people] sharing this positive," read a tweet from Insomniac Game Designer Grant Parker. "Because it's important. [Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart] 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 [without] suffering."
"I didn't crunch once, entire production," Animator Lindsay Thompson added in a quoted tweet. "A couple late nights here and there finishing something up, but COMPLETELY CRUNCH FREE. It is possible. Team wellness lets the creativity flow free."
These are just some of the developers who have spoken out; more and more employees are taking to Twitter to enthuse about the situation including Insomniac's Advanced Senior Animator Alex Zemke, who mentioned it was a studio goal. Several developers at Insomniac also have retweeted the original tweet in an apparent show of support.
"Crunch" is an industry term for an unusually intense period of work, either in terms of higher workload, longer work hours, or both. The gaming industry is one such business where crunch happens more often than not, but it has historically been pretty bad in some cases. One example was the "EA Spouse" saga, the story of a disgruntled wife who was upset that her husband was working 85 hours a week at Electronic Arts during the most intense periods of development. (EA settled several overtime lawsuits in the following years.)
The situation has generally improved since then, but crunch is still a reality for some game developers. CD Projekt Red's co-CEO Adam Badowski apologized for crunching employees working on Cyberpunk 2077 late last year following a report from Jason Schreier at Bloomberg that featured complaints from a handful of employees about overtime.
Even so, some developers have taken an active attitude at maintaining a better work-life balance. Considering the pre-launch success of Insomniac's latest game, it looks like the crunch-free Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart development has certainly paid off with both good review scores and employee satisfaction.
"I worked hard but never was compelled to crunch," said Insomniac's Jeff Weidner. "If I put in [extra] hours, it was my choice because I had something I was really [excited] about & wanted it to look STELLAR. But I was actively encouraged by my leads and [management] to keep my life in balance. And I did!"
What do you think of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart having a crunch-free development? Do you think any level of crunch is acceptable in the gaming industry? Let us know in the comments below!