Three weeks ago Bungie, which sits at the heart of America's COVID-19 outbreak in Washington State, took the initiative to move its studio to a remote work setup. Now, it's taken the time to share some of its lessons with the folks at IGN to help other developers out.
Bungie's COO Patrick Kelley told IGN that the studio's had to anticipate several work-from-home scenarios for some time. Washington experiences some heavy snowstorms in the winter and sits in a major earthquake zone that could hypothetically impact developers' ability to get to work.
Kelley said that one of the company's priorities has been to acquire and distribute high-end laptops for its development team to reduce the need for virtual desktops and relying on employees' home setups. In addition, the company has worked closely with Google to use Stadia as a new playtesting tool. "Getting playtests at scale is a hard thing to do," he explained. "So they’ve been collaborating with us to set that up and that looks like it’s going to be a really amazing solution for us."
"It’s not something we necessarily thought about initially but it looks like it’s going to be a great way for us to keep getting regular playtests and do it pretty easily.”
Bungie apparently also had some early warning for how COVID-19 lockdowns would impact its business thanks to its partnership with Chinese developer NetEase. "I was looking at what was happening in other countries; what was happening in the early stages in Italy," said Kelley.
"I knew that we’d had an early case in Washington state, and I started to read a lot: CDC, other places, about how this might unfold. Part of the role in operations is you’re always doing this kind of scenario planning and the risks seemed pretty significant that we would be in a position that we would follow the path of one of these other countries.”
If you're in need of more resources for remote work, Gamasutra blogger David Logan has a short guide that can help.