The Head of Xbox Matt Booty has defended Bethesda in wake of recent crunch culture allegations happening at the studio. Booty claims that no crunch culture is currently happening at the studio as far as he knows, and that developers under Microsoft’s banner should trust in Xbox’s internal processes.
In a recent Q&A, Booty was asked to address a Kotaku article from earlier this month which documented the troubled development and crunch that occurred on Fallout 76. According to Booty, Xbox took reports of crunch culture very seriously, though stated not to look too far back in time. “The challenge with a lot of these articles is that they look backwards, sometimes pretty far back in time,” said Booty.
Booty provided a statement revealing Xbox’s current stance on crunch culture and looking back, particularly at Bethesda Game Studios:
“Crunch culture is… if you go back 10 years ago, it’s a little unfair to put that on one studio. 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.
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.”
Booty added that Xbox human resources would listen to employee concerns should crunch culture arise again. “There’s avenues for them to report that anonymously back to us that goes through HR,” said Booty. “We have to rely on those independent systems of checks and balances.”
Bethesda Game Studios is currently hard at work on its upcoming space-RPG, Starfield, though Xbox promises that crunch isn’t currently happening at the studio. This was also cemented by the fact that the anticipated game was delayed out of its planned November 2022 release date into next year in order to give the team more time in development and avoid crunch.
Starfield releases in 2023 for Xbox Series X/S and PC.