Insomniac Devs Say Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Was Made ‘With No Crunch’

Insomniac Devs Say Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart Was Made ‘With No Crunch’

Usually, any video game that launches to a hugely positive reception is inevitably followed with the miserable news of developers toiling away, pulling 60-plus hour weeks for months on end to make it happen. But apparently, Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart is the exception.

Developers at Insomniac revealed on Twitter early Wednesday morning that — at least for some staffers and some teams — the “entire production” of Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart was managed without one iota of crunch. That’s astonishing for almost any project: some degree of crunch, even in small spurts for a couple of days or weeks, is assumed to be the normal for a lot of software development.

In video games, brutal crunch lasting months and even years is all too common. That’s especially true for AAA games. The Last of Us 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 are recent examples of games made under substantial crunch, with the extending working conditions causing an exodus of talent from Naughty Dog.

Insomniac, however, has appeared to crack the code. Lindsay Thompson, a senior animator at Insomniac according to their LinkedIn profile, said they managed to avoid crunch throughout the entirety of the game’s production bar from a few “late nights here and there finishing something up”.

The experiences from Thompson and Grant Parker aren’t necessarily reflective of the entire studio, but it’s an astonishing accomplishment nonetheless. Consider Thompson’s perspective as a senior animator on a game with so much high quality animation, amongst not just the individual playable characters but the uniqueness of the various alien races and enemies that have their own movement styles.

Even for a game that’s a little on the shorter side — Leah finished the game in 15 hours, and the game reported a 97% completion rate for myself with 19 hours played — it’s hands down one of the best bits of news in gaming all year. Developers, observers and critics have argued for many, many years that games, from indies to the most expensive of projects, can be made in a more humane manner without sacrificing quality. People don’t talk about Insomniac Games with the same reverence as From Software, Sony Santa Monica, Supergiant Games, first-party Nintendo games, Sucker Punch, Naughty Dog or others — but after Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart, and what was accomplished, maybe they should.

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