Crunch is one of the most contentious points in the gaming industry. It happens as a game gets closer to release, with teams working longer hours on more days of the week to make sure that the game ships on time. While some studios feel its a necessary step to get a game out the door, many others feel like it's a practice that needs to be stomped out of the industry. In an interview with USgamer, 343 Industries Studio Head Bonnie Ross explains the studio is taking their time with their next release, Halo Infinite, to make sure the studio avoids having to go into a severe crunch.
As 343 Industries was a new team when work began on Halo 4, the team ended up working through a "really bad crunch" as they got to grips with working with the engine and implementing the art and design assets into the game. Despite being promised that this wouldn't happen again with Halo 5: Guardians, it did. While improvements to the game's engine eased the process, the game became a much bigger project than anticipated. With a team now heavily opposed to another crunch period, Ross explains how the team is trying to avoid that with Infinite:
We've taken a bit more time—usually it's three years between every Halo—to really do the investment in the engine and the tools and pipeline, and we're still working on it. But we showed it at E3 last year, and it is basically trying to create an environment that we can build the game better, faster, and ideally, you know, prevent crunch. I think there will always be with any game, I think there will be times where we need to work longer hours. But I think that we need to be really deliberate with that because it's not fair to the team, and the team doesn't want to do it. And so we're trying to work out how do we create the best environment to hopefully mitigate that.Ross also explained that the team will be engaging with fans along the road to development to make sure they're creating the experience that players want. The full interview includes details on how the team has worked on Halo: The Master Chief Collection, including its improvements, as well as more details about her career — you can read the full interview here. Meanwhile, to perhaps reflect on the increased development time, Halo Infinite does not yet have a release window.
We don't have them yet, but we'll publish a story as soon as we pick up the Halo Infinite achievements.