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This Anticipated Star Wars Game Came At A Cost

Traveller's Tale's "Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga" — possibly the developer's most ambitious and anticipated title to date — is due for release on April 4, 2022. In line with prior "Lego Star Wars" games, the new release will act as a Lego-filled adaptation of all nine films in the mainline "Star Wars" series, collectively known to fans as "The Skywalker Saga." After being announced at E3 2019, "The Skywalker Saga" has been subject to the hot potato treatment when it comes to the game's official release date. Early announcements and updates projected the game would come out in 2020, but these would be walked back later, replaced with tentative release dates in both 2021 and 2022.

There seem to be a number of reasons for those issues. While it's safe to assume that the COVID-19 pandemic played at least some part in holding up the game's development, recent reports suggest that there's way more to it than that. As a matter of fact, many of the problems that arose during the development of "Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga" seem to have been inflicted by the powers-that-be behind the scenes at Traveller's Tales. Simply put, this newest "Lego Star Wars" title reportedly came at a steep human cost.

Traveller's Tale employees have called out the company for crunch and management issues

Since development on "Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga" began in 2017, the work culture at Traveller's Tale has apparently become more toxic. According to a report by Jack Yarwood of Polygon, several employees of Traveller's Tale — both current and former — have said that the company forced the game's production into crunch, causing its workers an exorbitant amount of stress due to the high work load and overtime. One former employee equated Traveller's Tale's practices to "soft-spoken blackmail," saying the company would cause "problems" for any who didn't fall in line. QA testers for the game allegedly called the working conditions at the studio "the worst they had ever experienced."

Further problems arose when TT management made the decision to move away from Unreal Engine to a new one called NTT, apparently due to licensing costs. One former employee (who remained anonymous) voiced a lot a frustration with this decision, arguing that "Unreal is [charging lower fees] than ever before on their stuff, and people know how to use Unreal. Why are we not using this technology instead of creating something that is unfinished and being forced into production and is going to give really terrible final results?"

"Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga" will likely be a success with fans when it drops in April. But these horror stories makes one wonder if it was worth the immense stress it reportedly placed on TT's employees.