Behaviour Interactive, the developer of survival horror game Dead by Daylight, claims to have made crunch nothing but a distant memory, and while that process was neither short nor painless, it has had magnificent results across the board.
Their CEO Remi Racine posted a blog where he said it can all be traced to a single moment almost 20 years ago, when he saw his employees groggy from another all-nighter.
"I decided then and there that overworked employees putting their health and personal lives at risk would not be the foundation on which I built Behaviour's success", he wrote.
Racine said that he too resorted to crunch as means to satisfy clients and players, but started thinking up ways to ensure they never need to again.
The resulting effort was a combination of more efficient processes that didn't compromise the workers' quality of life.
"It wasn't easy and it didn't happen overnight. It took ten years to transform Behaviour into a company where crunch time is but a vague memory, where employees can always pick up their kids at school or daycare" he said.
The first step Behaviour took was to ban sleeping in the office. Racine stopped encouraging working on weekends and made sure that the management structure felt the same from top to bottom.
Behaviour's strategy relies on 8 hours of intense, "relentless" work and an empty office at 6pm.
"In 2018, 0.25% of all hours worked at Behaviour were in overtime; that is not even enough hours to warrant a full-time position. That same year we launched 100 updates, collaborated to the creation of 15 new games, and gained 20,763,454 new players worldwide", he wrote.
This new approach has obviously been working like a charm, both in terms of clients and gamers.
"You know what? Since I enforced the no crunch time policy, I’ve never lost a contract or a client; never missed a deadline; never gone over budget and, most importantly, never stopped growing", he added.