Just recently, Game Informer conducted a fairly in-depth interview with Evan Wells and Neil Druckmann, the studio heads of Naughty Dog. Within this interview, a multitude of topics was touched on, such as the studio’s history, The Last of Us Part II’s reception, and of course, crunch.
The co-president’s weighed in on the delicate topic which came to the forefront last year, saying there’s no one size fits all.
“We’ve tried stuff in the past where we’ve said, ‘Okay, no working past this hour,’ or, ‘It’s mandatory that no one can work on Sunday,’ and they’re always a lot of corner cases of someone saying, ‘Well, I couldn’t work on Friday because I had to be with my kids. It’s actually more convenient for me to come in on Sunday,’” Druckmann adds. “When you try to have a silver bullet, like one solution, you’re always leaving someone behind.”
Naughty Dog Dev Responds to Crunch Comments
Naturally, a number of people came to Twitter to criticize said comments. Yet, in response, Naughty Dog’s Environment Artist Anthony Vaccaro pushed back.
“Interesting seeing someone who has never worked at your studio speak as if they know its leadership’s actions based off a quote from an article. The effort put in by leadership AND employees over the last year+ to find multiple solutions for crunch and studio culture is dramatic.
Finding the balance of letting devs push for things they are passionate about while not causing themselves or others to crunch is difficult and takes time. The one sized approach has always failed and Leads recognize that so the whole team is working hard for multiple solutions. Instead of leadership just telling the studio X or Y will be the solution they have been engaging the entire studio to speak up, participate in finding ways to combat crunch from various different angles and what’s important to each employee in a work life balance.
Change doesn’t happen instantly and takes a lot of hard work from all members of the team which thankfully we have. You of all people should know that given the studio you work for and the issues they are working to fix. But hey dog pile onto ‘ND crunch’ and get your likes I guess.”
After this was said, the original quote tweet criticizing Druckmann and Wells’ comments, was then promptly deleted.