Bugsnax and Octodad developer Young Horses has permanently shifted to a four-day workweek, following a unanimous decision to give the shorter week a trial run back in July.
Speaking to Axios (opens in new tab), studio founder Phil Tibitoski noted that the studio already expected staff to only be working 35 hour weeks. Cutting a day off has lowered that expectation to 32 hours.
"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," said 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."
Overwork is a constant issue in the games industry, and we frequently hear of developers like CD Projekt (opens in new tab) or Id Software (opens in new tab) crunching to meet deadlines and expectations. Tibitoski does reckon that the team's smaller size (Young Horses has only eight full-time employees) made the transition easier, but that it isn't impossible for larger studios to follow suit.
"It was easier for us to implement because to measure our small team's output is simply 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."
Shifting to four day weeks is a dramatic move, but it hardly makes Young Horses the only studio committed to fighting toxic work conditions. Ahead of release, Double Fine senior producer Kevin Johnson claimed that Psychonauts 2 was made with zero crunch (opens in new tab).