Recycling, a.k.a. “crunching”, has been one of the biggest and most persistent problems in the gaming industry in terms of development, and many developers over the years have come under fire for their workplace practices in this regard. While there are almost no absolutely perfect studios here, some of them are more controversial than others, and Bethesda Game Studios, the developer of games like The Elder Scrolls, Fallout and the upcoming Starfield, was one of them.
Bethesda, of course, was bought out by Microsoft and turned into the first Xbox company last year, and according to its new bosses, it no longer has problems associated with recycling. In a recent Q&A, Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty discussed Bethesda’s well-documented crunch issues in the past (including as recently as Fallout 76) and said it’s no longer an issue for the developer across its many studios.
Crunch culture… if you go back 10 years, it’s a little unfair to tie it to one studio. It was just part of the industry. I’m not saying this as an excuse, I’m just saying it was part of the culture of the industry. Early in my career, I literally slept under my desk. And we looked at it as a sign of honor. I know from talking to Bethesda management that we don’t have a situation where people are overworking and there is this atmosphere of intimidation… I’m sure of it.
Of course, you can never know for sure what’s going on behind the scenes, but given how much light has been shed on this particular issue in the industry in recent years, there’s certainly more pressure on studio management to get better at it. how he plans and distributes work.
However, game delays often go hand in hand with long rework times, and we certainly hope that doesn’t happen with Starfield, which was recently pushed back to the second half of 2023. The game will be released on Xbox Series X/S and PC.