Minor Qubbles (Gaming)

by INSANEdrive, ಥ_ಥ | f(ಠ‿↼)z | ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ| ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, Sunday, May 24, 2020, 16:59 (1374 days ago) @ CruelLEGACEY

This leads into the most difficult problem with this whole situation; it isn’t exactly clear that anyone knows how to make great video games [in a timely manner] without crunch. That’s not to say that it isn’t possible, but it’s far from solved equation. There are exceptions we can point to. Halo Reach was supposedly done with far less crunch than previous Halo games. But that was also a veteran team making their 5th consecutive game in a single franchise, allowing them to draw directly from a huge pool of transferable knowledge and experience. Most of the team leads had been making Halo games for 10-15 years at that point. They had it down. And even then, I haven’t heard anyone claim that Reach was “crunch-free”. Just that the whole process ran more smoothly, that the game was in a fully playable state a year ahead of launch which allowed way more time for test and polish, etc. ... ...

(One reason) crunch exists is because you need to get to get the game out before the money does. Tech too as I think of it. It's all about the almighty deadline (as it is with many industries). Some games come out of development hell that look like what "AAA" might have looked like when they started, which of course can effect the sale. Can't recall any examples though, just the concept.

For better or worse, not every studio can be Valve.

... ...I was at an Xbox One launch event in Toronto back in 2013, chatting with a bunch of game developers who were there. A bunch of people from Ubi Toronto, as well as smaller local teams. A journalist who was there asked everyone “what’s your favourite game that has come out lately” and every single developer in the group said “GTA V”, and then they all said something to the effect of “... but i’m glad I didn’t have to work on it”. I was standing beside a Ubisoft creative director and I said I was surprised by their answer, because while I thought GTA V was impressive as hell, I didn’t think it was actually that fun. He told me that he wasn’t even thinking about it that way. Some people find fun it it, others don’t. But from his perspective, he simply couldn’t get over the sheer number of moving parts in the game, the scope, the detail, the mechanical breadth AND depth, and the fact that it all works. He said that as a developer who knows what goes into making games, something like GTA V shouldn’t be possible. And THEN, he said “you know, it’s like the pyramids. We look at them and can’t believe that they exist. They’re this amazing example of what human beings can do. But they were built by slaves.” If THAT doesn’t hammer the point home...

That is one 'ell of a quote. Oof.

It’s funny that i had this conversation with a Ubisoft employee, because the more recent games that come closest to the sheer scale and scope of GTA V have been the last couple Assassins Creed games. They’re just mind-bendingly vast in a way that transcends gaming. They’re getting close enough to genuine time travel that I’ve been using AC Origins and AC Odyssey to teach my daughter about ancient Egypt and Greece. Origins’ recreation of Egypt is so detailed that you can’t help but learn about the Egyptian religion and culture, the tensions between the Egyptian and Greek peoples as more and more Europeans travelled south, the connection that those people had to both the land and their ancestors and how intertwined it all was for them, all just by walking around in the game. And while I’m sure there was no shortage of crunch involved with the development of these AC games, we don’t hear the horror stories that we hear about studios like Rockstar or Naughty Dog. So I think there is hope. Some people are figuring out pieces of the puzzle. But I don’t know if we’ll ever reach a point where true masterpieces are made without significant sacrifice. I don’t think the latest God of War would exist without the all-consuming effort that the team put into it for nearly 5 years.

Remember all the bugs and what not that were in the launch variant of Assassins Creed Unity? That was because of crunch. Folks were apparently so ragged that the best course of action was to stop the "Assassins Creed" treadmill they were using to pump out SO MANY GAMES of that brand at one point. Crunch isn't bad, per se, if handled intelligently (which sadly it often isn't). ...

All this to say, if we start boycotting games because of crunch, I’m not sure any of us will get to experience the greatest games that get made. And i’m not sure that’s a problem that can ever be truly solved.

... It's about health and performance. Best Case; If everyone under a crunch time table is happy, healthy, and doing their best work, it's functionally solved. We are not built to do 17 hour months or even years of crunch, which through scuttlebutt is roughly is what I've heard CD Projekt Red was all about at one point, don't recall which game. Probably one of the Witcher games. Plus, and this is surprisingly rarely mentioned, it's all about the folks you work with too. It's amazing how just one asshole, and it doesn't have to be a manager position, can suck the life out of a project. That's when you can really feel the crunch, though I suppose that drifts into other topics as well.

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