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Horizon Forbidden West was delayed in part to avoid crunch

Love to hear it.

In a welcome change of narrative, it turns out that the developers of Horizon Forbidden West chose to delay the game's release in part to avoid its employees having to crunch.

Director Mathijs De Jonge spoke to Dutch site NU.nl about Horizon Forbidden West, its delays and the work culture at Gurrilla.

"Forbidden West might have been released at the end of last year, but then we might have had to work overtime. [...] That also played a part in the decision to release the game now," De Jonge said.

Cover image for YouTube videoHorizon Forbidden West - Cinematic Trailer | PS5, PS4

"We are very aware of the disadvantages of crunching, so we take that into account a lot in our planning. To give an example, at Christmas we said that there would be no work and that everyone could just have a two-week vacation. The company was closed, you couldn't even go there to work," (thanks for the translation, GamesRadar).

Many companies have come under scrutiny in recent years for their problematic approach to crunch culture. Big names such as Naughty Dog, Rockstar Games and CD Projekt Red have reportedly encouraged workplace crunch to get certain games completed in time.

In contrast, Insomniac Games said it managed to complete Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart without forcing its employees to work obscene hours. In this case, game designer Grant Parker revealed the studio only ever worked a standard 40-hour week, and tweeted: "It is possible to work on a great game w/o suffering," - something many colleagues at Insomniac reiterated.

Horizon Forbidden West clearly hasn't suffered because of its release delays. While fans may have had to wait that bit longer than was originally expected, ensuring a healthy work / life balance for those involved with its development was clearly important for Guerrilla, and rightfully so.