Crunch is currently one of the hottest conversations in the games industry, with big-budget titles like Epic’s Fortnite, NetherRealm’s Mortal Kombat 11, and Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2 reportedly pushing developers to extremely long work weeks. In light of this information, Path of Exile developer Grinding Gear Games has vowed to avoid allowing such a thing happen to its staff.
“A big topic in the gaming industry recently is development crunch. Some studios make their teams work 14 hour days to pack every patch full of the most fixes and improvements possible,” writes Grinding Gear Games’ CEO Chris Wilson. “I will not run this company that way.”
The news comes via Reddit where Wilson chose to answer growing concerns over the state of the game. “However, one thing that the Q&A doesn’t address is how we got here,” Wilson leads the post, referencing a Q&A scheduled for later this week. “I wanted to personally post an explanation of what has been going on behind the scenes at Grinding Gear Games that led to this state.”
In the post, Wilson lays out the studios plans for addressing the issues Path of Exile currently faces in the Synthesis update. “Synthesis was more work than we expected,” Wilson writes. “While our improvements after its launch have helped a lot and many players are enjoying it, we fully acknowledge that it is not our best league and is not up to the quality standards that Path of Exile players should expect from us.”
According to the post, there are “a large number of critical projects” happening simultaneously. “[From] 3.7.0 through to the eventual release of 4.0.0, [we] are going to make massive and lasting fundamental improvements to Path of Exile.” While it’s a huge undertaking, the New Zealand-based company will not overwork its employees, according to Wilson.
“Sometimes when we read our own Patch Notes threads and community feedback, we feel that we are being asked to do the same,” Wilson says. “While there’s inevitably a bit of optional paid overtime near league releases, the vast majority of a Path of Exile development cycle has great work/life balance. This is necessary to keep our developers happy and healthy for the long-term, but it does mean that some game improvements will take a while to be made.”
With the action RPG finally out on consoles, Wilson confirms that, while there are “promises that we haven’t yet fulfilled,” the studio will “make headway on console features.”
But first, update 3.7.0 will be detailed soon. “When we reveal 3.7.0 in three weeks, you’ll see that its league has a focus on repeatable fun, and the combat revamp has a lot of focus on improving the fundamentals of Path of Exile’s gameplay,” Wilson says.