Sadly enough, crunch seems to go hand-in-hand with game development, and from the biggest AAA studios in the industry to even many of the relatively smaller one, crunch has become a pervasive issues. Happily enough though, there are some developers that manage to avoid crunch- one of those is Relic Entertainment, who are currently at work on the upcoming Age of Empires 4 with World’s Edge.
Speaking in an interview with German site Golem, the developers of the upcoming real time strategy spoke about how the studio has maintained a crunch-free environment not only during Age of Empires 4’s development, but even during the production of previous projects.
Quinn Duffy, game director on AoE4, said that there is no crunch at Relic whatsoever, and hasn’t been for a long time. “Fortunately, that’s not an issue at Relic,” he said. “I don’t even remember when we last had crunch. If I remember correctly, Company of Heroes 2 had a couple of weeks of overtime.
“Many of the colleagues are now a bit older and have children – some of them are almost as old as Relic itself. In creative professions, it is extremely important to have a clear head. But you don’t have that with burnout.
“Sure, we are very busy at the moment and are trying to get to zero bugs. But that has nothing to do with the crunch I experienced myself in my early years at work.”
Philippe Boulle, narrative director on Age of Empires 4, also chimed in, saying that Relic Entertainment is “a good example of a studio that has learned from its mistakes.”
“As with many studios that started in the late 90s, there were sections with crunch,” he said. “At some point the members of the management team said: That must not be the case if we want to build a functioning studio over the long term. You can then throw a product on the market in good time, but a large part of the workforce resigns immediately afterwards. As someone who has really benefited from this, I am very happy about it.”
Age of Empires 4 is due out this Fall for PC. Before that, Age of Empires 2: Definitive Edition and Age of Empires 3: Definitive Edition are also getting meaty content updates. Read more on that through here.