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News video games 01 February 2021, 15:31

author: Ness

Biomutant Takes so Long to Develop Because THQ Nordic Doesn't Force Crunch

Biomutant's director Stefan Ljungqvist admitted that over the past year he and his team have been working on eliminating bugs from their upcoming title. At the same time he criticized the phenomenon of crunch and praised his publisher.

The story of the game Biomutant developed by Experiment 101 is not one of the easiest. The studio, despite the fact that the title was announced already in 2017, suffered a long streak of delays. In addition, the number of promo materials released by the creators was modest, and messages from the developers were limited to reassuring the players that the development is ongoing and close to completion. Studio's founder and game director Stefan Ljungqvist admitted in a recent interview with IGN that this was intentional, as the priority was to eliminate the most serious bugs.

“It's a big game, a big bite for 20 people to chew off. At the end of the project, there's only a certain amount of bugs that you can physically fix during the course of the day. It’s been a huge amount of work for QA, because it's not easy in an open-world game to find them. And then once they've been found, we have to fix them, and that's put some additional challenge on us, being a small team."

Ljungqvist, who worked for over a decade at Avalanche Studios on the first two installments of Just Cause, among other titles, also spoke on the work philosophy he's adopted at his company. He confessed that working for a big studio led him to burnout, while teaching him to pay attention to the phenomenon of notorious crunch and overwork. During the creation of Biomutant, the employees were guided by the philosophy that the game will be released only when it takes proper shape, and any bugs or problems will not drastically affect the comfort of gameplay. The Swedish developer added that this approach was supported by their publisher - THQ Nordic, who did not rush the developers in their work and did not impose any specific deadlines. The lack of pressure was, according to Ljungqvist, a blessing.

"I mean, the studio, we are 20 people and we can't afford to have [staff] leave the studio, or be destroyed during development. That would be devastating. For certain pushes, you might do it in a limited form. But the most important thing is you get paid, which is not common in our industry, crazily enough. And also you get ‘recap time’, because you have to have rest. If you're just doing this constantly for 12-14 hours a day, you will eventually have to pay for it. […]. On rare occasions crunch can occur, but we make sure it doesn't get out of hand. We expect it to happen now, when we're preparing for the release, but we won't make it happen every day. Crunch is something that kills you."

Experiment 101 consists of twenty people, mostly former employees of Avalanche Studios (the Just Cause series , Mad Max). Biomutant will be their debut game. The game is supposed to be an open-world action RPG. THQ Nordic is responsible for its publishing. The long-awaited release will take place on May 25, 2021

on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. The title will also be playable on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S, but the relevant updates for the latest consoles will be released only in the future.


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