Axios reported that Bugsnax developer Young Horses shifted to a four-day work week in July. The team of eight adjusted its workflow to accommodate four-day, 32-hour work weeks to combat the need for crunching and to help the well-being of the team.
“Might as well give people the peace of mind that they can relax doing their own thing on their own time than have someone feel guilty for doing it at work,” explained Young Horses co-founder and president Phil Tibitoski. “We know what we have to get done and by when, or we’re making our own schedule entirely and things get done when they get done.”
Crunch has been an ongoing problem in games development, with awareness of the practice dating all the way back to the days of EA Spouse. It continues to be a huge problem in the games industry, with multiple big-name studios resigning themselves to crunch as an unavoidable reality of game development. Tibitoski acknowledges that the reason Young Horses was able to implement these changes is because it’s a smaller studio: “”It was easier for us to implement because to measure our small team’s output is simple relative to those bigger studios, so our trial period and decision-making is faster than a studio who has to get buy-in from so many departments and investors.” Still, many prominent devs are pushing back against crunch, including bigger studios.
Though its four-day work week policy was only recently implemented, Young Horses already had 35-hour work weeks prior to its implementation, which didn’t seem to hurt the studio’s output of putting out cool, weird, and heartfelt games.
Bugsnax is available now for PS5, PS4, and PC.