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Ken Levine's justification for BioShock Infinite's crunch

"It's not like people love seeing their families less often, or that that doesn't cause problems. It causes problems for me, it causes problems for everyone." - Levine says that with the game's ambition, overexertion is necessary.
"It's not like people love seeing their families less often, or that that doesn't cause problems. It causes problems for me, it causes problems for everyone."
-Irrational Games' Ken Levine, often accused of being a perfectionist, questions whether the long hours -- and several years -- that have gone into its upcoming BioShock Infinite are worth the cost to its developers in an interview with Eurogamer. Quality of life is a major concern for the video game development field, as unusually long hours and the dreaded "crunch time" can really take its toll on people. A recent survey by Gamasutra sister publication Game Developer magazine shows that 32 percent of our sample audience of game developers felt either neutral or unsatisfied with their careers, and much of that had to do with what has become traditional working conditions. As one might expect, there was a correlation found between more flexible work schedules and job satisfaction. Irrational keeps its employees working hard on the game, and while Levine doesn't exactly seem proud of that fact, he justifies it by explaining that BioShock Infinite is a more ambitious project than most. "There are plenty of companies that churn out products... that can do things by a formula every year," he says. "Boy, I wish I had one of those f***ing formulas but I don't - BioShock Infinite is not a formula game."

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