POST-OFFICE

PC Gamer|August 2020

POST-OFFICE
How devs are still making games like DESTINY 2 amidst a pandemic
Wes Fenlon

I thought I was an introverted person before this,” says Kirk Williford, a senior game designer on Guild Wars 2. After a few months in self-isolation as a result of the coronavirus, working on the MMO’s latest big update during the day, and playing other games for escapism in the evenings, Williford realized he’s a lot more extroverted than he once thought. Daily casual human contact is one of those things anyone can take for granted when they work at an office, but after months without it, game developers who now work from home have to find new ways to make games and make do without the water cooler.

Working from home is nothing new for plenty of indie developers, but the pandemic means something very different for much bigger triple-A studios with dozens or hundreds of employees. What’s it like going completely remote for a developer like ArenaNet, which has to maintain Guild Wars 2 while continuing to work on future updates, or Bungie, which has some 800 employees working on Destiny? The most basic answer is that they need a few more video meetings to keep everyone coordinated, and it’s difficult to make up for those little interactions, like spinning your chair around to look at what’s going on at the artist’s desk right behind you. But they’ve mostly been able to roll with those challenges and keep their games right on track.

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August 2020