Today the date of launch of Lego Star Wars has yet been revealed: The Skywalker Saga . Along with this, a report was released where it is mentioned that Traveler’s Tales, study responsible for the LEGO Games, has faced serious problems of Crunch, not only during the development of this title, but for several years.
According to Polygon, who interviewed employees and ex-employees of the study, Traveler’s Tales has a serious problem of Crunch. After the success of Lego Star Wars: The Video Game In 2005, the British study was acquired by Giant Interactive, forming the company that we know today. Since then, we saw the creation of Lego games of Star Wars, Marvel, DC, The Lord of the Rings, Indiana Jones and more properties. However, the approach to making an annual delivery led extensive hours of work, where to stay after the established schedule was no exception, but the rule.
In the report it is mentioned that six ex-employees indicated Jon Burton, co-founder and creative director of TT Games, as the main manager of this problem. The former workers have pointed out that the manager shouted at his employees if they thought to leave their post at the established time , demanding additional hours. This was what was commented about:
A big problem was that the crunch was premeditated. It was not an emergency protocol for when things went wrong. Instead, it was a tool in the box for production; The projects were planned with critical periods in the schedule, or even worse, the schedule was the crunch. […] It occurred regularly due to the type of games we did: links with films and fillings made for children. All had deadlines dictated by a festive event or the premiere of a movie.
This was a problem that continued for a long time. When Warner Bros. acquired TT Games in 2007, a change was promised in the direction, but things continued to function similarly for years. Along with this, employees have pointed out between 80 and 100 hours for six days a week , this to increase their salary, or as the result of a blackmail where they were mentioned that leaving early could affect moral of the team.
A couple of years later, in 2017, the project of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga began with the promise of offering great changes to the formula of the series. Among them, is talked about using the NTT engine, something that created a series of worries with employees , since it was something new for them, and involved more hours of work. For its part, some developers insisted on the use of Unreal Engine, but this was not the case.
Next to this, managers began to press the team to create the best LEGO game. Currently, Lego Marvel Superheroes has a rating of 83 in Metacritic. In this way, employees were required to reach 85, this in reference to the ratings. This caused a series of changes that were not originally planned . This was what was commented about:
The director requested new mechanics for Caprice, then asked to be changed, but in reality he never fixed anything that really mattered. Lean every review of a LEGO game. They always say the same: ‘The platforms are basic, the camera is terrible, there is no cooperative mode online’. So let’s add a GOD OF WAR style combat tree! 5-year-old children will love it.
Although Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga was treated as the most important project of the study, employees have also mentioned that some teams were constantly moved among other work, causing some elements to not have the level of attention they deserved.
However, from 2020 things have begun to change. It all started with the arrival of Michael Denny, ex-vice president of Sony Worldwide Studios, as Vice President and Study Director. Next to this, Some veterans have left the study since then. Although at the moment it is still very early to talk about substantial changes, it seems that these are starting to arrive.
To begin, some employees are happy about the alleged changes to the work times that are planned, as well as the fact that the NTT engine will be abandoned in favor of the Unreal Engine . However, others are not happy with the fact that the study will continue to focus on Lego games, even when he had promised to expand the company’s portfolio.
On related topics, here you can learn more about the release date of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.