Crunch time is certainly becoming a hot topic as of late in the gaming world with companies such as Epic Games and Rockstar Games coming under fire. Grinding Gear Games recently stated that they oppose crunch time but what about Blizzard Entertainment?
John Hight, Executive Producer and Vice President for World of Warcraft, was recently asked about crunch time in an interview with Eurogamer. Hight stated the following about crunch time:
Generally our policy on the team itself is we want to be a no-crunch team. We’re not there 100% yet, but we’re really dramatically better than we were even five years ago, certainly 10 years ago. I think that very few parts of the team end up having to work any degree of overtime.
There’s enough studies that have shown that people are just not that effective once they’ve crossed eight, 10 hours of work. At that point it’s diminishing returns, so we don’t really want to adhere to that. I think we’re pretty successful, but we can always get better. I’d love it if we could have perfect work-life balance. That’s a goal.
Hight also mentioned that after running an MMO for nearly 15 years, the company has a firm grasp on what they need from a staffing standpoint. He went on to make the following statement:
There’s still a few pockets… Largely this is people that are self-motivated, they want to put in just that extra little effort and they have a hard time letting go. As we’re finishing up a major patch or an expansion, I’m literally wandering the halls and saying, ‘Go home! It’ll still be there tomorrow.
Hight has been a player of World of Warcraft since early beta and a team member on staff since the end of the Warlords of Draenor expansion. He stated that external pressures such as the reports about Fortnite and Red Dead Redemption 2 don’t bother him. He knows the impact of an imperfect work-life balance as he’s been in the industry for 31 years and noted that he missed plenty of important life events because of working long hours.