Despite its share of controversies, Borderlands 3 has one good thing going for it: it is not the result of game development crunch. Crunch occurs when game development studios overwork and underpay their employees, with many developers suffering from burnout, as well as emotional and physical problems from too much work. Crunch is common in the industry, thanks to increasing pressure on developers to rush their game development production cycles.
Recently, the concept of crunch has become more public, with many developers coming forward to speak about their work culture. The development of Red Dead Redemption 2 reportedly included some workers doing 100-hour weeks on the title. Rockstar responded by stating that overtime was not mandatory, but that workers chose to pull in those long hours due to their passion for the project. However, other companies have similar stories. It was recently revealed that NetherRealm Studios allegedly had contractors working under extreme crunch conditions for Mortal Kombat 11. But these are not the only two studios reportedly overworking employees: these stories are becoming more common in today's video game development environment.
There are some companies, though, that have addressed video game crunch by encouraging employees to have good work/life balances, including Gearbox. In an interview with VG 24/7, Gearbox multiplayer producer Chris Brock stated that Borderlands 3 was not the result of crunch. He stated that the company encourages its developers to leave after they have completed their regular work hours. However, he admitted that there are times when employees choose to work longer because of their dedication to the project. He said:
"We are not a crunch studio. We don’t do the thing where we say, ‘Hey, everyone’s going to be working ten hours, or twelve hours a day,’ or whatever. We don’t do that."
This is refreshing in an industry that sees a lot of developer burnout due to extreme overtime hours. However, Gearbox is still struggling with other controversies. Some players have spoken up against Chris Hardwick's involvement with Borderlands 3, due to allegations that the voice actor emotionally abused his ex-girlfriend. Not only that, but YouTuber and Borderlands content creator SupMatto accused Borderlands 3 publisher 2K games of flagging him for using public development stream codes to leak details from tester accounts attached to the Borderlands 3 Twitch extension. This situation resulted in the #boycottborderlands3 hashtag on social media.
There are even some players who plan on boycotting the title over its PC exclusivity on the Epic Games Store. However, reports of a healthy workplace culture for Borderlands 3 could win back some of those players. Whether it can survive the other controversies, though, is to be seen — Borderlands 3 releases on September 13, 2019.
Source: VG 24/7