If you keep up with your wider gaming industry news, you'll know that crunch and less-than-ideal workplace environments have been prominently discussed as of late. More and more workers within the industry have felt brave enough to come forward about such issues, and while we hope this will create huge steps forward for gaming work culture as a whole, it would appear that Nintendo is already managing the problem admirably.
Yesterday, it was revealed that Animal Crossing: New Horizons, the newest title in the series headed to Switch, has been delayed until next year "to ensure that the game is the best it can be". Naturally, this would suggest that the game isn't yet in a state fit for release, with several more months' worth of work still being necessary before the team can be truly happy with it.
Speaking to IGN, Nintendo of America president Doug Bowser has addressed both of these very topics and how they're actually linked. He notes that the company "will not bring a game to market before it's ready" and goes on to suggest that delaying the game for as long as necessary was preferred over forcing its staff to work themselves into the ground to get the game out this year.
“The crunch point is an interesting one. For us, one of our key tenets is that we bring smiles to people's faces, and we talk about that all the time. It's our vision. Or our mission, I should say. For us, that applies to our own employees. We need to make sure that our employees have good work-life balance.”
“One of those examples is, we will not bring a game to market before it's ready. We just talked about one example [in Animal Crossing’s delay]. It's really important that we have that balance in our world. It's actually something we're proud of.”
It's a wonderfully refreshing thing to see, and an approach that will no doubt benefit both Nintendo's staff and its fans going forward. In our eyes, a delay for any game is more than worth it if it allows its creators the time and energy to make it the best it can be.