Game development students prepare for inevitable industry crunch

by | Mar 11, 2020 | A&E, Campus News

Jacob Phillips, Arts Reporter

It’s common knowledge among gamers and those working in the video game industry that “crunch” is unavoidable in AAA companies.

Crunch is the intense period of time leading up to the release of a game, which could include 100-hour work weeks, very few breaks, no extra pay, sacrificing personal time, risks of job cutting and damage to their health. Game programmers are put through hell to get a finished product out the door.

It’s something that second-year Michael Wilson and his classmates in Humber’s Game Programming program are expecting to experience once they graduate.

Despite Humber training, Wilson knows school can’t train him on how to handle crunch.

However, it’s something Wilson and his classmates have been expecting ever since they started the program.

“Well, obviously it’s going to be intense but it’s on the companies to handle themselves during crunch time and what I’m expecting when I enter the industry is I’ll still feel welcomed even when I’m at my breaking point,” Wilson said.

While crunch is something that plagues AAA companies, there is a small chance that it might be at least reduced shortly.

Since January, hugely hyped and anticipated games have been delayed from their original release date by up to six months.

These games include the Final Fantasy Seven remake which has been delayed by one month, while Cyberpunk 2077 and Marvel’s Avengers video game have been both delayed by four to five months.

There is some outrage from gamers about the delays, but the general reaction is they don’t mind as this gives them time to not waste their entire savings on games they want being released so close to each other.

With leaks from big companies like Rockstar, Blizzard and EA on the working conditions during crunch periods being posted from video game reporters, consumers have rallied for those working on video games.

“I would say give developers all the time they need and developers need to understand that a tighter deadline means a rushed game with problems, developers just need more time to develop the game without the use of crunch,” said Kevin Witaszek, a third-year Computer Engineering student.