We often hear a lot about the crunch conditions at major developers like Naughty Dog and Rockstar, but we rarely learn about what they’re doing to reduce workload for their teams. Ted Price, the boss of Ratchet & Clank developer Insomniac Games, shed a little light on that during a fireside chat at industry event Develop:Brighton.
He revealed that the final boss fight between Doctor Octopus and the eponymous web-slinger was going to take place across New York City, but the studio eventually decided to scale back the set-piece, both to give it more emotional resonance and to cut back on crunch.
“Originally, we were going to have a boss battle that took you all over New York City, and it was way out of scope,” he explained. “The temptation is to just brute force it, put our heads down and run through the brick wall. But the team took a step back and thought about what was important to the players, and that was the breakdown of the relationship between Peter and his former mentor, Doctor Octavius.”
Ultimately, the team was given the opportunity to be creative within its restraints, and it dreamed up a simpler set-piece that hits harder and required less time to design. “In the stress of hectic production, we often feel we can’t take our foot off the gas pedal, but that’s often what it takes. The team needs to have permission to pause and come up with a better way, instead of bulldozing through the problems and causing potential health problems,” he concluded.