Xbox's Matt Booty Says Bethesda No Longer Crunching - NewsWilliam 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."
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.