In a new feature interview, Donald Mustard, co-founder of Infinity Blade developer Chair Entertainment, tells Gamasutra that crunching to finish Infinity Blade II in six months was "not worth the cost" to the team.
"Shipping a game in six months is definitely not my favorite thing. We've definitely done it, and we've now done it twice in a row, and there is something to it," says Mustard.
That's because he believes that the new model -- of shipping a game and then using player feedback and metrics to drive updates and refinements to the title -- is "something really key" to the future of games. That said, he doesn't think that the crunch required to ship Infinity Blade II in that time frame was wise.
"We don't look at that like that's a good thing at all. We only did it because we definitely, passionately wanted to get the game done, and we wanted a little more in there... It happens when it's that short of a development cycle. Stuff happens so fast," he says.
"I think in retrospect, having done it twice, that our development cycles are a little too short. Not that the games are less polished because of it, but we're way more burnt out because, in order to make II feel the experience it needed to be, required way more crunching than is effective. It required for us, for the last two or three months, to just death march kill ourselves. I mean, guys are just working so many hours, doing so much, and that's not really good, I think, for the longevity of our studio."
"And so we definitely won't do that again. It's not worth the cost. I would rather take an extra two or three months than burn the guys out, or burn even me out. It doesn't allow enough time to sit there and let the game breathe."
The full interview, in which Mustard talks more about how the development style informed the game's content, what Japan still has over the West, and whether he's still interested in developing Shadow Complex II, is live now at Gamasutra.