Xbox Game Studios head Matt Booty has recently defended Bethesda over recent allegations of bad crunch at the studio.
Earlier this month, a report emerged alleging serious workplace crunch issues at Bethesda over the development of Fallout 76. Now, according to Kotaku, at a recent all-hands meeting, Xbox head Matt Booty defended Bethesda over these allegations. And claimed that the studio was not crunching.
Booty was asked to address the report regarding the crunch in a recent Q&A. The Xbox head said that the company takes reports about its studios “seriously.” But he did add that “The challenge with a lot of these articles is that they look backwards, sometimes pretty far back in time.”
As Kotaku notes, the report did mention crunch on older titles like Skyrim. But it was mostly focused on the recent crunch that allegedly occurred in 2018 during Fallout 76’s development.
Kotaku also noted it was able to independently verified the contents of the meeting by viewing a video recording.
what else did booty say?
“Crunch culture is…if you go back 10 years ago, it’s a little unfair to put that on one studio,” said Booty. “It 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 honor.“
Booty also made a point that the alleged working conditions were no longer the case. “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…I’m confident about that.”
He also acknowledged that crunch could still be taking place without his knowledge. But he also said that employees need to trust in Xbox’s internal processes.
Booty pointed towards Xbox’s human resources department, saying that it would be willing to listen to employee concerns. “There’s avenues for them to report that anonymously back to us that goes through HR. We have to rely on those independent systems of checks and balances.”
However, as noted by Kotaku, the Xbox HR department is employed by Xbox, meaning it isn’t exactly independent.
It’s odd that Booty seems to think that the entire issue of crunch culture is being placed on just Bethesda. When the report was merely meant to highlight alleged issues at the company. Hopefully things are different at Bethesda now, as the original report painted an ugly picture.
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Featured Image Credit: Xbox/ Bethesda