Klei founder calls development crunch time “poor process”, warns of negative impact on staff

By Dave Cook
2 April 2013 11:15 GMT

Klei Entertainment founder Jamie Cheng has discussed the long-time industry burden of development crunch time at GDC and has cautioned studios to reconsider their approach to crunching projects. The impact on a company’s staff can make the crunch quite damaging, he has said.

IndieGames reports that Cheng said, “I find it disingenuous when game developers claim that the reason they work a whole load of overtime is because they are trying to do something new. To hide behind ‘art’ as a shield for poor process is wrong. You will screw with future developments by taking this approach.

Klei’s digital release Shank saw the team undergo an immense crunch at the time, but Cheng has made clear that he will never put his staff through that process again, “I realised that not only do we need to build great games but we also need to find a way to do this without ruining our lives in the process.”

Being more considered in your approach to developing games to reduce chopped content, the need for re-edits and sunk cost can educe overtime and crunch, advised Cheng, who revealed that Mark of the Ninja was created in 16 months with barely any overtime from Klei staff.

Such good processes can be advantageous, said Cheng, “Creating processes that allow us to create art is the key to successful game development. When you have good processes you are more free to think about new things because you are not just flailing around not knowing where you are headed.”

What’s your take on the dreaded crunch-time that many developers seem to inflict upon their payroll?

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