Unfortunately, crunch is still a reality in the game industry. While many people decry crunch as a moral outrage, the truth is this:
I'm not kidding when I say that I have spent the last 90 days working 12 to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week. Well, I did take a long weekend at the beginning of September. Anyway, I have been working A LOT and I'm proud to say the my first game as a lead programmer was launched on time and will be ready for you in store shelves before Christmas.
Whether you are in the game industry or just hear about the game industry, you hear a lot about the C word (no, not Christmas!)
Some romanticize it: late nights with pizza and other food items littering the desks. Sleeping in the couch. Days between showers. You get the idea. Loss of vision. Partial insanity.
Others scorn crunch. They decry the lack of overtime paid, the way it takes them away from their family. The pizza.
I don't complain about crunch (nor do I complain about people who complain about crunch). The truth is, I'm a natural cruncher. Before I came to the game industry, I worked 12 hour days all the time running my own business. The difference now is that I get to do something really fun and I'm relatively sure I'm actually going to get paid for it.
It is also true that my wife still lives in Colorado (she hasn't been able to move to Dallas, yet) and so I have no family here and nothing better to do.
I'm also a newbie to the game industry, so I think I would have been disappointed if my first game went out with no crunch time. I guess that makes me a romantic.
I applaud the efforts of those who work hard to try to raise the quality of life in the game industry. I understand that it is harder on those who do have spouses and children they'd like to see occasionally. But I don't think crunch will ever go away. Because crunch is everywhere. Whether you are in the game industry, an application programmer, or a student trying to finish school--at some point you just have to do whatever it takes to get the job done so you can succeed.
That's not just crunch.