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Remote work helped Respawn make Star Wars Jedi: Survivor in 3.5 years

Trust only in the Force...and Zoom.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

April 27, 2023

2 Min Read
Cal Kestis in the key art for Respawn Entertainment's Star Wars Jedi: Survivor.

Among Star Wars Jedi: Survivor's pre-release accomplishments, its biggest may be its short development time. 

Speaking to Bloomberg ahead of the game's release, director Stig Asmussen said the sequel took three-and-a-half years to develop. Production originally started in the fall of 2019, not long before the release of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order that same year. 

Jedi Survivor's timeline is notable, as other triple-A games like Diablo IV or Starfield have longer development cycles. Ballooning budgets and long development times has been an issue in the triple-A space at large, and there's not always a guarantee the finished product will be a success right out the gate. 

For further reference, Respawn opened in 2014 and in that time has managed to release seven games. Most larger studios manage far fewer. 

Being familiar with Fallen Order's production pipeline helped, said Asmussen, but the biggest boon for Survivor was knowing when to iterate and cut a feature when needed. The team was ambitious, he said, but it was important to not "get in a position where we’re kind of setting ourselves up to not hit all our marks."

“Our philosophy is: ‘It’s OK to fail, but fail fast, fail early,'" said Asmussen.

Respawn made Jedi Survivor a team effort from home

In that same interview with Bloomberg, Asmussen said it didn't take much time for the studio to adapt to remote work. Since development on Survivor started in the fall of 2019, that early start made working from home less of a challenge than it otherwise would've been. 

In the early days of the pandemic, developers across the industry suddenly found themselves working from home. Over time, developers have welcomed remote work for new hires, while others have been opened with it in mind. Some studios have begun asking employees to come back to the office. 

For triple-A developers especially, remote wasn't an easy thing to get used to, and Asmussen was candid in saying that "course correcting had to happen." As a result of remote work, face-to-face meetings were replaced by Zoom calls and weekly open forums let anyone on the team voice concerns or ask questions. 

During Survivor's three-and-a-half years of development, Respawn has become a studio that allows for remote work for both current and prospective staffers

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor releases on April 28 (tomorrow) for PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, and PC. Ahead of the game's release, we had to take a moment to marvel at the game's art design and environments

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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