Anthony Vaccaro, the principal environment artist at Naughty Dog, took to Twitter to discuss the lack of crunch that occurred during the creation of The Last of Us Part 1. This was done in celebration of the game reaching its gold status.
According to Vaccaro, the production of The Last of Us Part 1 was the first time in Vaccaro’s 13-year career that development on a game was concluded without the company falling into crunch mode and overworking its personnel. Vaccaro has worked at numerous studios over the course of his career.
“Especially in terms of reaching the same level of quality as TLOU2,” Vaccaro remarked. “There is still a lot of work to be done, but I am glad of the significant adjustments that have been made so far to make the studio healthier.”
Naughty Dog has always been infamous for its culture of pushing game creators through rigorous crunch periods leading up to the release of their games, which is particularly notable given the prevalence of bad employee treatment in the video game business. Several members of the development team have spoken publicly about the crunch mentality at the studio, and a report published a few years ago shed light on how severe the problem had become at Naughty Dog.
Crunch is not an entirely novel concept in the world of video game production; even Naughty Dog has been through multiple crunch times in its history.
This is the first time in my 13 year career, across multiple studios that I didn’t need to crunch to finish a game. Feels good, really good. Especially hitting the same quality bar as TLOU2. More work to keep doing but proud of the big changes so far to make the studio healthier. https://t.co/gbzyHKpVbh
— Anthony Vaccaro (@vaccaro3d) July 11, 2022