Maja Moldenhauer, the director at the studio behind Head and its DLC, recently talked about how the company’s first priority is to ensure that employees are healthy and well treated. In fact, Moldenhauer explained that she did not even care about delays.
In an interview with IGN posted yesterday, Moldenhauer talked openly about how little she cares about delays or how long it takes to complete a game or part of a DLC. For example, Cuphead’s upcoming DLC, The delicious last coursewas first announced in 2018 with a release date for 2019. But it would be delayed sometimes to avoid crunch and later due to covid.
Moldenhauer explained, however IGN that she does not mind the long delay when “mental health must be at the forefront” of the studio’s priorities.
“The most important thing, especially through COVID, was to keep everyone happy,” Moldenhauer told IGN. “These are video games. Take the time you need. Mental health must be at the forefront and take the space and time you needed, especially the last two years.”
“We think, ‘If it takes longer for the game to come out, it will take longer. Who cares?'”
You may think that a company that treats people with respect and cares about their mental health should be expected and not celebrated, but in the current world we live in, these stories are embarrassingly rare.
If you read Kotaku or other gaming sites, you are probably aware of the stories and reports of terrible work practices, months of crunchand tons of burnout in the video game industry. It is so common that when a studio manager speaks openly about being aware of employees’ mental health and well-being, even if it means postponing a game or DLC to treat people better, it can seem like a bizarre (but pleasant) anomaly. One that deserves some attention, I think.
According to Moldenhauer, this attitude is with Head studio is a result of the small team’s history and previous jobs, experiences and a desire to do better.
“If we are to risk everything, it will be a company we are proud of,” said Moldenhauer.
“It’s going to be a company that is all things, a merging of all the things we always have […] wished. Respect for each other, love and support. Things we did not get in previous jobs. Well, we did, but at the end of the day, it was a bottom line. “
In addition to an employee-first mentality and desire to create better working conditions, Cuphead sin Director is not worried about how well the new, upcoming and long-awaited DLC is selling or whether it is making money. Instead, just creating this cool work of art and sharing it with the world, and doing it in a way that did not lead to burnout or crunch, is all the reward they need.
Cuphead sin long awaited and delayed DLC, The delicious last course, released June 30th.