Xbox says Bethesda no longer has “crunch culture”

“The challenge with a lot of these articles is that they look backwards, sometimes pretty far back in time"

Head of Xbox Game Studios Matt Booty has said Bethesda no longer has a “crunch culture” within the studio, nor does it suffer from bullying.

The comments were made during an all-hands meeting last week, with footage obtained by Kotaku.

It comes after an in-depth report earlier this month that said that the disastrous launch of Fallout 76 led to hours of mandatory crunch, which was further exacerbated by poor management. The report spoke to ten former Bethesda employees, who claimed 60-hour work weeks in the lead-up to the game’s launch were frequent, with testers being coerced into partaking in additional weekend shifts to work on the game’s downloadable content.


Earlier this year though, Microsoft completed their acquisition of Bethesda. According to Kotaku, Booty said that Xbox took crunch reports about its studios “seriously,” but added, “the challenge with a lot of these articles is that they look backwards, sometimes pretty far back in time.”

Booty goes on to explain how ten years ago “crunch culture was just part of the industry. I don’t say that to justify it, I’m just saying it was part of the culture of the industry. I literally slept under my desk early in my career. And we looked at that like a badge of honour.”

“I know from talking to Bethesda leadership that we do not have a situation where people are crunching and we’ve got this bullying atmosphere (now). I’m confident about that.”

If there are ever any issues, according to Booty “there’s avenues for (staff) to report that anonymously back to us that goes through HR.”

In other news, Fntastic, the developer behind The Day Before, has defended its use of unpaid “volunteers”.


Anyone who is open to life can become a volunteer with Fntastic, and there are two types of volunteers,” they explained. “Today we have over 100 full-time internal volunteers (employees) from Singapore, Russia, the Netherlands, Thailand, Ukraine, Finland, Kazakhstan, and Belarus who work as engineers, artists, HR professionals, etc. We also have 40 external US and worldwide volunteers (supporters) who help with testing and reviewing our products at a very early stage.”

“In addition to tests, external volunteers (supporters) help localise products into different languages,” continued Fntastic before saying some volunteers get hired as full-time employees.

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