Like pretty much everything else on the planet, the pandemic has knocked the video game industry on its ass. But while game delays, console shortages, and under-cooked releases have been the main issues facing players, those actually making the games have faced the same obstacles as those in many other careers; namely, that they’ve had to do a job they normally did in an office from their homes.
This has been hard! And it’s one of, if not the biggest reason so many big games over the last 12 months have released feeling a little under-done. Game development at a major studio isn’t just a wildly collaborative experience, it’s also a highly technical one, with loads of specialised facilities and equipment needed for stuff like sound recording and motion capture. You can’t just click your fingers and expect the results to be the same if everyone is suddenly working from their kitchen table.
Or at least, that has been the case. Things are starting to change now; we’ve seen companies like Activision and Riot try—and spectacularly botch—plans to return workers to their offices, because after doing their jobs from home for two years and slowly getting used to it, turns out a lot of people like not having to commute and sit at someone else’s desk all day.
So while some publishers and studios are starting to make developers get back to the office, others are figuring fuck it, why not let people work from home forever. Bungie is one of those, announcing today that the company is going “digital-first,” and that “most current and future roles will be fully remote” across a range of states.
Why not every state? While this list covers a lot of the more populous ones, as well as Bungie’s home state of Washington, there are a lot of grey areas on that map. I’ve asked Bungie for confirmation on why that is, but the answer is most likely: taxes.
Update: It’s taxes (this is Bungie’s General Counsel):
If you’re wondering how a studio the size of Bungie could operate long-term working from home, they actually made a little documentary in 2020 showing how they’d transitioned to the initial wave of the pandemic. Just imagine this still happening in 2022, only everyone is now wondering, “Wow, 2020 was five years ago, incredible.”