I work for a AAA studio and I’ve been lucky enough to have kept a job as a game developer the last few months while we’ve been in lockdown due to COVID-19. Apart from a few times early on in working from home (e.g. to get stuff from my desk etc.), I haven’t been actually working in an office since March. With everything going on, it’s hard to know when we will go back into working in an office as a development team. We keep getting information on dates, only to have them pushed out.
Here’s the thing: I don’t want to go back to work in an office. At all. Maybe ever.
We’ve proved out that working from home is possible. Video conferencing was tiring at first, but we learned to pace ourselves and communicate through other messaging tools or not put our cameras on or do other things to adapt. I’ve been able to remote into my desktop without issue. All my pants are comfortable now. And then there’s the five-minute commute between my bedroom, the kitchen (to get my morning coffee), and my desk for my first meeting.
It’s also not anything new. Some studios have been remote for their entire existence, so the idea that AAA game development *has* to be done in person is puzzling. Working from home means that for some studios who have limited relocation budgets, they become opportunities for people in other countries who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to apply. For developers who have been limited by obligations such as child care, this makes AAA development a possibility. Even the reasons why we don’t do it can be addressed. If it’s just the speed of development, we could reduce the scope of our live content, or hire more developers to make up the difference, if we can’t change and manage expectations of a lower velocity due to working from home.
Imagine a world where all studios could make games with the option of working from home if we wanted. We could open ourselves to a wider pool of more diverse applicants. The only thing that seems to hold us back is our expectations. All we have to do is change them.