"Those guys worked between 14 and 17 hours a day, seven days a week, for four months, until they broke. It was all voluntary, nobody made them do it... But that doesn't make it okay."
Speaking with Polygon
, Might and Delight CEO Anders Westin (Pid
) says that while ambition and passion might drive young developers toward overtime, it doesn't fundamentally help the game -- quite the opposite, in fact.
Now developing the studio's second title, Shelter
, Westin says the team has learned from the overtime practices of their previous titles and are trying to leave crunch behind entirely.
"Had we been smarter -- or just more willing to think financially -- we would have made [Pid
] in a completely different way," Westin tells Polygon
, relating that while he was away from the office during development on Pid
, many of his employees started voluntarily heaping on hours, out of pride or professional interest.
"Ambition is dangerous," he says. "We shouldn't have let them do that."
What began as a project with an expected play time of three and a half hours spiraled out into a 10 hour game, and the team didn't want to cut anything. With scoping a bust and employees burning themselves out trying to polish the game, Westin and his team decided their next project had to be different.
"The first thing we did was turn a three and a half hour game into a one and a half hour game," said Westin, in reference to the studio's current game, Shelter
, in which players play a mother badger protecting her young. "I believe in putting up realistic goals instead of gigantic ones. This time we have been very good at planning the workload, but it is very difficult."
The entire article is a balanced and worthy look at the role of crunch (both mandated and voluntary) within game development. You can check it out here