V1 Interactive’s Marcus Lehto on avoiding crunch
Crunch. It’s the videogame industry’s ‘C-Word’ and lately, it seems that every other day there’s a new story about crunch and the effects it has on developers. Recently, we spoke to President of V1 Interactive Marcus Lehto about the studio’s upcoming title Disintegration. Lehto proudly told us that there are only 30 people working on Disintegration and that it can stand toe-to-toe with any AAA game.
Considering the enormous number of developers working on some AAA games, sometimes in the thousands, and the massive budgets some studios work with, we had to ask Lehto about crunch at V1 Interactive.
“One of the primary reasons I formed V1 Interactive in the first place was to create a healthy work environment,” Lehto explained. “I have kids and I wanted to be close to them when they were going through high school.
“It was always really important to me to have a healthy life. Not only inside the office but equally, outside the office. That’s one of our core tenets.”
Having a good ethos and the desire to create a healthy work environment is all well and good, however, Lehto makes sure to put his money where his mouth is.
We created V1 as a studio making sure it accommodates the lifestyle of pretty much everybody who works there. If you want to be home to be present with your family, feel free to do so.
If you have a certain number of tests to get done over the course of the week and you get them done early, take that extra day to take a little breather to yourself
It’s really important for me and our studio that we, that we adhere to that as best as we possibly can.
Now that COVID-19 has put most business and workplaces into lockdown, Lehto said that the principles of V1 Interactive are still in place. As people are working from home and the desire to just continue working might creep in, Lehto said the team checks in on each other and makes sure everyone is still working efficiently.
This isn’t just a vacation that’s prolonged or anything like that.
Again, back to the core tenant of why I started V1 in the first place is make sure that they have that time to be present at home with their families.
Oftentimes when hearing stories of crunch, it’s those final weeks and months that see the pressure well and truly ramp up. However, Lehto says this isn’t the case for V1 Interactive and Disintegration.
I would guess to say for a fair number of people in the studio it doesn’t even feel like the game is coming to a close because they never really had to work super hard.
Of course, there are some individuals who are going to work harder than others and that’s mostly because they have such a great passion for making sure that the quality is as good as it possibly can be.
But that’s also just one of the really fun parts of the camaraderie of a team that’s creating something. They just have a true passion and a pride to build something as high quality as possible.
But that said I tell them to go home. I tell them to go to bed, go on a run, get some exercise, whatever it is, and enjoy their lives.
Disintegration will launch on PC, PS4 and Xbox One in 2020.