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Dead by Daylight developer Behaviour Interactive considers crunch during development to be a ‘failure in management’, as stated in an interview with PCGamesN.
Previous to Dead by Daylight, the studio was best known for its licensed and tie-in titles, like Voltron: Defender of the Universe, Monsters University, and Fallout Shelter. Mathieu Cote, Dead by Daylight’s director, said that the asymmetric survival horror game was a stab in the dark for the developer, but credited the community response as crucial to its continued success.
‘As soon as the game released, we noticed the interest, and we put all of our efforts in there,’ he recalled. ‘We built a much bigger team and we constantly put out new content, and improved the game and listened to the community. The fact that we were very, very close to our players and to our influencers was a big part.’ The game offset its development costs and then some in the first week after its launch.
Since 2016, there have been 16 individual DLC packs for Dead by Daylight that have added new original content as well as licensed horror icons from film, television, and video game franchises. These include Halloween, Left 4 Dead, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Saw, Evil Dead, Scream, and Stranger Things. And, it has nearly never missed a launch date. A statement such as that sparks concern that Behaviour Interactive may fall into patterns of crunch to deliver the DLCs, but Cote assured that was not the case.
‘Whenever someone has to stay more than 40 hours in a week, it’s considered a failure in management,’ he said. Sometimes the studio cannot shift its priorities and must work overtime if it is a ‘critical’ time for the project. However, this is a last resort for Behaviour Interactive. ‘We’d much prefer to delay a chapter by a week, which we’ve done, giving us a little time to finish rather than telling everyone on the team, “you’re staying, you’re coming in on the weekend”.
Cote added that crunch is definitely seen as unsustainable. ‘We do have a little bit of overtime, and we do have people who are excited to give a little push, and it’s happened that we’ve told them to go home,’ he explained. ‘It’s not part of the culture at Behaviour. You come in, you do your work, and then you go home.’
Ubisoft has elected to delay three of its most-anticipated titles, Gods & Monsters, Watch Dogs: Legion, and Rainbow Six Quarantine, so that it can optimise them for release on Project Scarlett and PlayStation 5. In addition, Naughty Dog said that ‘the size and scope of [The Last of Us Part II] got the better of us’, and that game has changed its release date in order to relieve pressure off of its team.