Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga has weathered several delays but has finally gotten a release date for April. The problem is that to get there, staff at developer TT Games have endured five years of “extensive crunch” with issues ranging from choice of game engine to feature creep.
When will Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga be released?
April 5 is the day Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga will finally hit PS5 and PS4. The game began development towards the end of 2017 and has spent almost five years in development at a studio where crunch is a permanent fixture, according to Polygon. A longer development timeline and a brand new engine were supposed to reduce the need for crunch, but issues with the latter made the former a necessity rather than a comfort.
The crunch culture began when the studio was formed in 2005 and continued when Warner Bros. took it over in 2007. Annual LEGO games, often made to accompany movies or be released during the holiday season, meant the studio never relaxed. Staff were berated for attempting to leave work on time, or others questioned their commitment. Staff describe how it was “extremely difficult” to turn down extra hours; 80-100 hour weeks were not uncommon. There were also allegations of discrimination and bullying. Despite changes in upper management and numerous employee surveys that described discontent and low morale, working conditions never changed.
Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga Development Issues
The toxic atmosphere came to a head during the development of Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga. The main reason for this was the decision to move to the aforementioned new engine. The NTT engine was “unstable and missing features”. Common tasks took five times longer than they did on the previous engine. Assets and animation had to be altered to fit the new engine.
Feature creep was another issue as the team strived to create a game that would beat their previous highest Metacritic score (83 for Lego Marvel Superheroes if you’re curious). Design revisions and high ambitions would mean months of work were scrapped. One of these features was a 27-hit combat tree, which was scrapped when they realised their target audience used a single button for combat.
The game’s combat does still include combo chains and new blaster mechanics, just some of the new features shown off in today’s gameplay trailer. If you’re curious, there’s also the galaxy map, dog fights, Mumble Mode, and a glimpse of just some of the 300 characters players can unlock over the nine movies represented in the game.
In other news, PlayStation creator Ken Kutaragi has revealed he doesn’t care for VR or the metaverse it is supposed to create. Elsewhere, existing contractual agreements will ensure Activision games like Call of Duty will remain on PlayStation for the immediate future.