ProbablyMonsters' Ryan says its important to define crunch early with new studios

ProbablyMonsters' Ryan says its important to define crunch early with new studios

The head of new games company ProbablyMonsters Harold Ryan has said that you need to deal with crunch culture at the beginning with a new developer.

Speaking to GamesIndustry, the ex-Bungie employee said that it's vital to actually say what crunch means in order to create a culture where people can express what they are and are not happy with.

"To me, you first have to define crunch as being something that's beyond someone's comfort zone," Ryan said.

"In some cases, it extends into becoming something that's unhealthy for them. For some people, that's five minutes after 5 o'clock. For some people, their crunch bar is anything over 120 hours.

"You have to understand that about your team, and in order to understand that, you have to know them. You have to build an environment where they express what's comfortable for them. But then you also have to start off expressing to your leadership team, through your policies and how you educate people, that this is meant to be a career. It's a job and it's on the company to promote that being a healthy environment. The rest of your business cases can't require crunch. You have to be able to build, assign projects, set ship dates, and establish funding options that allow you to be responsible and respectful to people's lives."

It's also important that staff are encouraged to use their paid leave - be that holiday or maternity or paternity pay, saying that in the past he's working with staff that have felt they can't take time off.

"You should use your paid time off," Ryan said.

"You should take vacations. You should take your parental leave. \You should enjoy your life and know that the business and the company is structured around being a job that fits in your life, not something that rules it."

ProbablyMonsters was announced earlier in the month and is designed to help create new developers. It currently is assisting with the creation of three studios.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.