CEO of Nine Dots, the development team that created the hardcore open world RPG known as Outward did so without using crunch.
Even though it has some rough and sluggish mechanics and pretty mediocre graphics, Outward is an RPG that you can lose yourself in. That’s something that a lot of games in that genre can’t achieve no matter how hard they try. Now we find out that the success behind this title didn’t involve “crunch” at all. A pleasant surprise for today’s standard where studios are crunching all the time in order to make their games.
Guillaume Boucher-Vidal, the CEO of Nine Dots and also the creative lead of Outward, said that crunching isn’t necessary during development. Why? Because he and his team knew how to keep their sights on specific things and stick to the plan. He talks about the plan for the game to have multiple different regions. But, once they saw that monster creation was going much quicker, they decided to have more monster diversity instead of more regions. Focusing on what’s efficient helped them stick with their goals with some slight differences.
Another thing that Guillaume Boucher-Vidal pointed out is that developers waste a lot of time trying to find the “fun” part of the game/gameplay. He and his team already had guidelines which they followed. Having a plan laid out in front of you helps a team focus. That’s really important, and Guillaume pointed that out specifically in this interview.
A good game designer has an idea and a way to make a plan around that idea. Then, the team just has to work towards that goal, which makes things easier for everyone. Much easier than trying to create a game without knowing exactly what you wanted it to be. Since Outward was created with a team of 10-15 people, it’s safe to say that crunch is by no means something necessary. It’s good to see that someone from the video game industry managed to prove that.
Have you played Outward yet? If you haven’t, consider trying the game out with a friend, as that’s when this hardcore RPG truly gets to shine!