Crunches are not uncommon in the video game industry just before the release of a game title. In an interview with an American media institution, 15 former and current Blizzard employees gave an insight into the developer situation around Diablo 4.
On December 8, 2022 the American newspaper “The Washington Post” an interview with current and former Blizzard employees who spoke about the development difficulties facing Diablo 4, a major game title whose release date was recently announced.
what was said The release date on June 6, 2023 was already one that had been pushed back several times. And yet, according to the interviewees, crunch seems to be required to get the game finished on time.
Here you can see the trailer for the release date of Diablo 4:
How are crunches regulated? Activision Blizzard doesn’t mandate crunch, however, there are perks that are meant to serve as incentives.
These include a $25 DoorDash credit for those who work more than 10 hours a day or a stock bonus plan for employees who complete the game. For meeting performance goals, employees can receive stocks ranging from $5,000 to $50,000 depending on their level of experience.
What is the cause of the crunch? The interviewees see the problem in poor management, which is said to have led to the crunch and the late release date. They also named several people whose ways of working had inhibited the team.
They didn’t follow through with decisions and dropped features, so all the previous work on it was wasted. Some aspects of the game were pushed, only to be changed and discarded. That would have burned out the team in the long run.
An experienced playmaker with a reputation for helping troubled games succeed was brought on in February 2020. But the only thing the interviewees took away as a helping hand was a weekly zoom meeting where several hundred people listened and he mixed development issues with topics like movies or celebrities. The team did not find this helpful.
One person explains: “People were frustrated because we all thought he was going to come and fix the game. And when nothing happened, there was this massive turnover.”
What else was to blame? According to the interview statements, other factors that led to experienced employees leaving the company and valuable knowledge being lost as a result were:
- bad pay
- inadequate working conditions
- lack of work ethic
What does Blizzard say about this? A company spokesman told The Washington Post the following regarding the development of Diablo 4:
“As you may know, game development in general, and Diablo IV in particular, follows an iterative process, with scope evolving over time. The production of the game is going very well. Overtime is voluntary and limited to certain teams. We regularly survey the team on their professional well-being and recent results are the best they have been in years.”
(via The Washington Post).
At The Game Awards 2022, Blizzard showed a new trailer for Diablo 4, presenting the most important angel for the first time – who is this?