Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart has been met with positive reviews, and Insomniac Games is being praised for having avoided a harsh crunch schedule.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart has met with widespread praise from critics, and Insomniac Games seems to have accomplished this feat despite avoiding a harsh crunch schedule. The newest entry in the Ratchet & Clank series is set to release five years after the 2016 reboot, with reviews praising new playable character Rivet, impressive gameplay, and a story that deftly balances humor and emotional moments. Even without a long span of time between games seems, Insomniac seems to have found ample time to make Rift Apart a critical success, choosing an appropriate work/life balance over stressful crunch conditions.
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Working under crunch has become a persistent problem in the gaming industry, with studios asking their employees to work longer schedules at a tiring pace to complete games in their final stages. One of the most recent cases of crunch culture in the public eye was connected to Cyberpunk 2077, with reports of a mandatory crunch initiative by CD Projekt Red to meet the release date. Rockstar Games has also come under fire for unhealthy crunch culture, as developers of Red Dead Redemption 2 reportedly worked 100-hour weeks during the development process.
In a recent survey of over 3,000 developers, GDC reported that around 45% of those surveyed worked more than 40 hours a week. Though those extra hours seem to be trending down, perhaps due to the scrutiny given to crunch over the last several years, which has been identified as one of the leading causes of burnout among developers.
No Crunch Time At Insomniac Makes For Happy Employees
After reviews for Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart came out, employees at Insomniac Games took to social media to express their pleasure at working in a crunch-free environment. On Twitter, designer Grant Parker stated that he worked the normal 40-hour weeks the entire time the game was in development, stating that “it is possible to work on a game w/o suffering.” Animator Lindsay Thompson responded to Parker’s tweet with a statement saying that she “didn’t crunch once, entire production,” and acknowledging that “Team wellness lets the creativity flow free.”
Despite praising the company’s approach of allowing workers to create Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart at a reasonable pace, both Parker and Thompson were careful to reiterate that each was speaking from their own personal experience, seemingly in an effort to avoid making blanket statements that applied to the entire team – though it’s worth noting that there didn’t appear to be any replies to the contrary.
The overwhelming positivity surrounding the new Ratchet & Clank game shows that game studios do not have to rely on a toxic crunch culture to get developers to create the best game possible. Allowing a team to have a healthy balance between work and life outside the job can incentivize developers to create an outstanding product that they can be proud of, instead of being forced to marathon the process to meet a specific deadline, like Naughty Dog and The Last of Us Part 2. If the above Twitter thread holds true for most of its employees, Insomniac Games should be commended for creating a positive work culture that still produces great games.
Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart will be available on PlayStation 5 beginning June 11.
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