Like pretty much everything else on the planet, the pandemic has knocked the video game industry out. But while game delays, console shortages, and undercooked builds have been the main issues facing gamers, these actually manufacturing games have encountered the same obstacles as many of us; namely, that they had to do work that they normally did in a home office.
It was hard! And that’s one of the reasons, if not the main one, why so many big games over the past 12 months have come out feeling a little underdone. Game development in a large studio isn’t just an extremely collaborative experience, it’s also a highly technical one, with lots of specialized facilities and equipment needed for things like sound recording and motion capture. You can’t just snap your fingers and expect the same results if everyone is suddenly working from their kitchen table.
Or at least that possesses been the case. Things are starting to change now; we have seen companies like Activision and Riot trying – and dramatically – to frustrate plans to get workers back to their offices, because after doing their work from home for two years and slowly getting used to it, it turns out a lot of people like not having to commute and sit at someone else’s desk all day.
So as some publishers and studios start bringing devs back to the office, others are thinking fuck it, why not let people work from home? for all time. Bungie is one of them, announcing today that the company is going “digital first” and that “most current and future roles will be entirely remote” in various states.
Why not all states? While this list covers many of the most populated ones, as well as Bungie’s home state of Washington, there are many gray areas on this map. I asked Bungie to confirm why, but the answer is most likely: taxes.
If you’re wondering how a studio the size of Bungie could function long-term working from home, they actually did a little documentary in 2020 showing how they got to the initial wave of the pandemic, so imagine that happening still happening in 2022, only now everyone is thinking “wow, 2020 was five years ago, amazing”.