According to Gearbox, Borderlands 3 was created without enforced overtime, infamously known as “crunch.”
We’re living in a time where workplace practices, particularly surrounding work-life balance and the existence of crunch, are under increased scrutiny. Various developers have come under fire for expecting their employees to work ridiculously long hours, especially as a game nears the end of its development. Other companies are taking a “more humane” approach to crunch, or eliminating it entirely.
One of those companies happens to be Gearbox. According to Borderlands 3’s lead developers, the game will ship this September without any forced overtime on its employees.
That’s not to say that some people aren’t almost certainly working overtime as Borderlands 3 nears its release, but Gearbox Quebec, one of the two Gearbox studios co-developing the game, doesn’t require its programmers to put in unhealthily long hours.
"We wanted to develop an organization that operates differently. We wanted to give a lot of creative freedom to people and give them a lot of quality of life,” says Pierre-André Déry, one of the lead developers at Gearbox Quebec, in an interview with French publication Pèse Sur Start. “We have a corporate culture that is resolutely against overtime and we are surrounded by project managers who also agreed with this direction.”
Gearbox opened their Quebec City-based satellite studio in 2015 with Borderlands 3 being their first assignment. Rather than supporting the main Gearbox studio in Texas and essentially following orders, the team at Gearbox Quebec were asked what they think “would be really cool” to have in Borderlands 3.
"Usually in the concept of co-development, there is always the one who leads and the one who helps, which is what we originally expected [working] on Borderlands. But the relationship quickly developed as an equal partnership," said game director Maxime Babin.
Pierre-André added: "It's a brand that has already brought in more than two billion dollars and we're told: what do you want to do in that game? It's like someone giving you the keys to his Bugatti! All he said was: do NOT crash!"
The interview also confirmed that Borderlands 3 would be an evolution of the classic Borderlands formula and not a revolution, which is pretty much what Borderlands fans asked for. The game will be much larger than Borderlands 2 with between 6 and 30 billion possible gun combinations.
Borderlands 3 releases on September 14th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Windows PC on the Epic Games Store.