Multiple developers from the Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart team say that the game was developed entirely without crunch overtime.
"[Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart] is at 89 average score [on Metacritic], and I can't speak for anyone on the team but myself, but I didn't crunch once," tweeted (opens in new tab) game designer Grant Parker. "40-hour weeks the whole time. It is possible to work on a great game without suffering."
Parker's account was echoed by animator Lindsay Thompson, who said (opens in new tab): "I didn't crunch once, entire production. A couple late nights here and there finishing something up, but completely crunch free. It is possible. Team wellness lets the creativity flow free."
"And those few late nights don't even feel like work when you're having so much fun making the damn thing," Insomniac narrative coordinator Justin Fennessy said (opens in new tab) in response to Thompson's tweet.
In follow-up tweets, both Parker and Thompson stressed that they can only speak for themselves, not the experiences of the entire multi-discipline team. However, both also pointed out that developers across the team were actively encouraged to avoid crunch by Insomniac management.
"I do believe the team as a whole did not suffer crunch and our management certainly encouraged that," Thompson said.
The replies to Parker and Thompson's tweets are filled with support from developers at other studios, including Horizon Forbidden West developer Guerrilla Games – which, like Insomniac, is part of PlayStation Studios.
The games industry, particularly the AAA side, is infamous for labor-intensive, burnout-inducing crunch schedules, to say nothing of a work culture that's made crunch pervasive. The most recent, best-known victim of crunch is arguably the staff of CD Projekt Red, which, according to emails obtained by Bloomberg (opens in new tab) in September 2020, faced six-day work weeks ahead of the disastrous launch of Cyberpunk 2077, just over a year after joint CEO Marcin Iwiński claimed that crunch wouldn't be mandatory (opens in new tab).
Studios such as Rockstar Games, BioWare, and PlayStation Studios' Naughty Dog have all been the subject of crunch claims, and the list doesn't end there. Unhealthy overtime is still decidedly an issue within game development, but it is becoming less of a secret and consequently facing more pushback, and as these Insomniac accounts demonstrate, it's far from inevitable.
As we said in our Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart review, Insomniac's latest release is not only its greatest action-platformer yet, it's also one of the best games on the PS5.