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Xbox's Matt Booty Says Bethesda No Longer Crunching

Xbox's Matt Booty Says Bethesda No Longer Crunching - News

by William D'Angelo , posted on 01 July 2022 / 1,683 Views

The head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty during a Q&A at an all-hands meeting discussed the "Crunch culture" at Bethesda and its parent company ZeniMax Media saying it is something the entire gaming industry did 10 years ago, according to Kotaku

"The challenge with a lot of these articles is that they look backwards, sometimes pretty far back in time," said Booty referencing a Kotaku article about crunch time during the development of 2018's Fallout 76. This was well before Microsoft acquired Bethesda in March 2021.

"Crunch culture is…if you go back 10 years ago, it’s a little unfair to put that on one studio," Booty added. "It was just part of the industry. I don’t say that to justify it, I’m just saying it was part of the culture of the industry. I literally slept under my desk early in my career. And we looked at that like a badge of honor."

Head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty Says Bethesda No Longer Crunching

Booty said Bethesda no longer has a crunch culture having spoken with Bethesda leadership.

"I know from talking to Bethesda leadership that we do not have a situation where people are crunching and we’ve got this bullying atmosphere…I’m confident about that," he said.

Though, he did admit crunch could still take place without his knowledge and that Xbox’s human resources department will listen to any employee concerns. 

"There’s avenues for them to report that anonymously back to us that goes through HR," he said. "We have to rely on those independent systems of checks and balances."

Booty said that overtime should only happen voluntarily and will not be made mandatory. 

Evidence of the change at Bethesda no longer having mandatory overtime are the recent delays of Starfield and Redfall to the first half of 2023.

A life-long and avid gamer, William D'Angelo was first introduced to VGChartz in 2007. After years of supporting the site, he was brought on in 2010 as a junior analyst, working his way up to lead analyst in 2012 and taking over the hardware estimates in 2017. He has expanded his involvement in the gaming community by producing content on his own YouTube channel and Twitch channel. You can contact the author on Twitter @TrunksWD.

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Darashiva (on 29 June 2022)

If that's true, then great. No game is ever worth the health and well-being of the people who make them.

  • +8
Jumpinbeans (on 29 June 2022)

To be honest - if they are crunching and still releasing awful bug filled games at release something is clearly wrong. Granted the games improve massively over time (AFTER RELEASE) and turn out in the end to be some of the best but seriously - why have they been bashing staff to race releases when the releases are sub par at best.

  • 0
Azzanation Jumpinbeans (on 01 July 2022)

They were the highest rated publisher last year.

  • 0
tslog (on 29 June 2022)

My God, Booty just admitted that he relies on Bethesda leadership, and will do nothing himself to investigate if there's any abuse going on. That's irresponsible, and shows Xbox are not serious about this....same with many other companies

  • -5
smroadkill15 tslog (on 30 June 2022)

What should Booty do exactly? There is only so much a single person can do when studios have 100s of employees. It's HR's job to handle these kinds of issues and he did his due diligence and checked to see if crunch was still happening. Both Redfall and Starfield were delayed into next year and so were Tokyo GW and Deathloop, so I think it's safe to assume they are taking crunch seriously.

  • -2
mjk45 smroadkill15 (on 30 June 2022)

What should Booty do exactly ?he should shake it.

EDIT Maybe I need to start reading all of the posts content before I reply to them ,still importantly I did answer the question that was asked.

  • +3
DonFerrari smroadkill15 (on 01 July 2022)

A single person is one thing, a senior leadership is a complete different thing. If you are someone in a high position of power you can sure change corporate policies and procedures. Even if to ensure there is a limit of extra hours (or no extra-hours at all), revision of the concentration of the extra hours, and anything else he can think. Saying that since he is only one person it is enough to say he trust Bethesda to do enough and anonymous report to be all without anything proactive besides saying "all extra hour must be voluntarily" isn't enough.

  • 0
KratosLives DonFerrari (on 02 July 2022)

It just works!!

  • +4
halil23 (on 29 June 2022)

Sure, like we're gonna believe anything from corrupt corporations like m$...oh wait I forgot blind fanboys exist!!

  • -8
DonFerrari (on 29 June 2022)

But the games still crashing?
And being reactive to only anonimous report isn't really enough. "only voluntary overtime... when everyone is "voluntarily" doing overtime to not be left behind that is basically a root for crunch culture".

  • -9
gtotheunit91 DonFerrari (on 29 June 2022)

Were Deathloop and Ghostwire: Tokyo having issues with crashing? Those are the only 2 Bethesda games that have released while under Xbox's ownership and both were delayed several times. That's really the only answer we have right now until Starfield and Redfall finally do release.

  • +13
DonFerrari gtotheunit91 (on 29 June 2022)
  • -14
Azzanation DonFerrari (on 30 June 2022)

Don, i don't believe you understand what crunch is and using games like Halo Infinite as an example of having several issues is a poor example.

All games have bugs and issues, yes even your beloved TLOU2 has bugs. However bugs aren't resolved because a studio crunches. Halo had issues during development coming in at a time where Covid was a major problem for corporations in the US. Halo also launched very solid. Was the best FPS Shooter at its time of launch against COD and Battlefield and blew them both away.

Also you need to understand the difference in genres. A sandbox openworld game will always have more bugs than a corridor point A to point B game. Expect bugs in Starfield because that's the type of game it is. Delays don't increase crunch, it actually helps with crunch.

We live in a day and age where companies can avoid crunch altogether thanks to the internet which allows companies to patch and clean up their games after launch. However too many are too focused on getting that metascore and will put their own employees health on the line to achieve it. I don't mind fixes after launch, as long as the employees are happy and continue to make my favorite games.

  • +2
DonFerrari Azzanation (on 30 June 2022)

You started with an assumption, so leave at that because you just go down along the phrase regarding ASSUME.
And about post launch correction, yes I'm sure CDPR employees were please with the corrections they had to do post launch.

  • -7
Azzanation DonFerrari (on 30 June 2022)

CDPR issues stem further than just crunch. Lets add in corparate greed and lack of Q and A etc. Crunch was only a part of the issue.

  • +1