Monday, March 12, 2007

Stays Crunchy, Even in Milk!!!!!!

So. Chris Taylor thinks he can make a great game without crunch, does he?

Ha. We'll see about that.

Tell me, Mr. Taylor. Without your staff working 14 hour days, who was there to cover when the build failed? Or when a designer, bleary and confused from lack of sleep, put in a placeable or wrote a script that broke an entire level?

And who was there to help fix everything when one of the staff, drunken from the dinnertime bitch session in the local pub, changed an untouchable constant that rendered half the game unplayable?

And who, pray tell, was there to smooth over the rough when a cranky designer said What I Really Think to an exhausted artist, sparking an inter-departmental rivalry that will poison the production process for games to come?

And who will fix the bugs caught by testers on their 16th hour that day, the bug put in by a designer when, eyes bleary from 15 hours of staring at a monitor, he tried his best to quickly fix a bigger problem with an inadequate band-aid?

Who, sir? Who will fix these problems?! Who will minister to the morale of the project, trodden and kicked aside like a paraplegic at the Running of the Bulls? Who will speak to the poor workers, giving them shallow appeals to their inner gamers, coaxing from them the best performances they can summon given that they just don't fucking care anymore?

Who, I ask you, will call that shitty catering company to order more dinner for those starving waifs who cannot, simply cannot, get home to their families for the fifth, sixth night in a row?

What's that you say? What? You say that without crunch, those problems don't exist!?

Ha. HA, I say.

Builds break! Bugs are introduced! People get grumpy!

But then they go home and rest? Think about what they're doing? Possibly solve problems in their minds, in the comfort of their own homes? Kiss their wives and raise their children, without missing valuable months of the kids' childhoods?

And they return to work refreshed, rested, and... what?

Ha. Impossible. You can't make a great game without crunch. You'll end up rushing, and compromising, and the game will suffer. Ha! Got you.

Oh wait. Supreme Commander, you say?

Ha. Erm, Hm. Damnit.

Well, still. You're wrong. If you were right, then more people would have caught on to this during the many, many times this same argument has come up in the past. So what, we've seen studies for years saying that crunch is counterproductive. So you come along. Why do you think you're any different?

Every great game in recent years has been made under the spectre of crunch. Oh, except your Supreme Commander. Oh, and Oblivion, whose Ken Rolston told us in person that the Oblivion team worked little to no overtime at all. But how good could Oblivion be? It's not like they've
sold 3 million copies or been the whole reason Take Two's stock was upgraded.

Chris Taylor, I call you out. I challenge you to make a single great game without crunch time. Go ahead, I'm wait--Oh, you already did.

Okay, okay. But let's see you do it again.