The issue of crunch in game development studios has once again come to light with the recent revelations from the director of Baldur’s Gate 3 and CEO of Larian studios, Swen Vincke. In a Q&A session at the Digital Dragons developer conference, Vincke admitted that the studio did experience crunch in order to get the sprawling Dungeons & Dragons CRPG finished.

Vincke mentioned that the amount of crunch experienced during the development of Baldur’s Gate 3 was less than what the studio had experienced on past games like Divinity. He emphasized that staff were paid for the overtime they put in and that the crunch did not extend to working late nights or weekends for the most part. This is in contrast to many other studios where unpaid overtime and excessive working hours have become common issues and points of criticism.

Efforts to Minimize Crunch

Despite the acknowledgment that some level of crunch was necessary to finish a project of such complexity, Vincke stated that Larian didn’t overly crunch and that any overtime hours were not as long as what would traditionally be considered crunch. He mentioned that the studio was able to minimize overtime by utilizing their other studios around the world, allowing developers to work across different time zones and reducing the need for staff to work late into the night.

Vincke’s remarks suggest that Larian made efforts to compensate staff for their overtime work and to keep any additional hours to a minimum. While he acknowledged that some level of crunch was inevitable when trying to bring together a project with so much complexity, he emphasized the studio’s commitment to improving the working conditions for their employees.

With the marked improvement on Baldur’s Gate 3 compared to their past projects, it is hopeful that Larian’s upcoming projects will see even more efforts to eliminate crunch entirely. Vincke confirmed that there are no plans for Baldur’s Gate 4 or DLC, indicating that the studio will have the opportunity to apply their learnings from the development of Baldur’s Gate 3 towards future projects.

While the issue of crunch in game development studios continues to persist, it is encouraging to see studios like Larian making efforts to address and minimize the impact of excessive working hours on their employees. By prioritizing the well-being of their staff and finding innovative ways to manage project timelines, studios can work towards creating a more sustainable and healthy work environment in the gaming industry.


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