Ex-TT Games developer advises fans not to boycott LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

An ex-developer at TT Games has encouraged fans not to boycott LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga in the wake of revelations about the studio’s crunch issues.

Following multiple delays and much anticipation, WB Games finally revealed the release date for the saga-spanning sequel last week. At exactly the same time – presumably not by coincidence – Polygon published a report of issues with ‘crunch’ at TT Games, the developer behind LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga.

The story – which has reportedly been backed up by more than 30 current and former staff members at TT Games – includes allegations of ‘soft-spoken blackmail’ by management, pressuring developers to work extra hours to meet deadlines (known in the gaming industry as ‘crunch’). One former employee claims that that crunch was ‘premeditated’, rather than used as an emergency protocol.

“Projects were planned with crunch periods in the schedule, or even worse, crunch was the schedule,” they told Polygon. “It was a regular occurrence because of the type of games we made: movie tie-ins and kids’ stocking fillers. They all had deadlines dictated by a holiday event or the release of some film.”

In the aftermath of that report, several people tweeted (or posted on reddit) that they may completely boycott LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, while others questioned whether they should still purchase the game when it launches in April.

However, a former developer at TT Games has encouraged fans to still pick up the title later this year. Jacob Mills – who’s now a Senior Level Designer at game studio Roll7, but says he worked at TT Games roughly five years ago – backed up Polygon’s story, tweeting that he worked ‘[predominantly] 10-12 hour days, [six to seven] days a week, for months at a time’.

Mills also took issue with TT Games founder Jon Burton’s statements to Polygon, writing that Burton’s claims to have had little input into the day-to-day running of the studio since 2013 ‘is just a straight-up lie’.

“He is still responsible for starting and perpetuating so many of the worst practices that went on for years,” Mills tweeted. “One of my core memories is JB calling a studio meeting and saying: ‘It’s a testament to our tools and processes that we’ve managed to deliver a product of this quality with relatively little overtime.’ To a room full of devs. On a SUNDAY.”

LEGO Star Wars The Skywalker Saga Jabba the Hutt Naboo

All that said, the ex-TT staffer still recommends fans don’t boycott LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga, because the developers who experienced that crunch will reportedly receive bonuses based on sales of the game.

“There are many incredible people still in the trenches at TT and they do pay sales-based bonuses, so [I don’t know], maybe don’t boycott the game, don’t make all those blood sweat and tears count for nothing huh,” he tweeted. “These problems are industry-wide, and require industry-wide solutions.”

It’s worth bearing in mind that Mills worked at TT five years ago, however, so those sales-based bonuses may not necessarily exist in the same way in 2022. But if you’re struggling with whether to buy or boycott LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga to best support the devs who brought it to life, the good news is that it sounds like you’re better off picking it up.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga development ‘led to extensive crunch’
LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga release date and trailer revealed

For its part, the LEGO Group has responded to the crunch allegations by stating that ‘where concerns arise, we review the partnership and take appropriate steps’. It’s not yet clear whether it’s currently reviewing its partnership with TT Games.

LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga arrives on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC and Nintendo Switch on April 5. If you’re so inclined, check out our guide to pre-ordering here.

Support the work that Brick Fanatics does by purchasing your LEGO sets using our affiliate links.

Chris Wharfe

I like to think of myself as a journalist first, LEGO fan second, but we all know that’s not really the case. Journalism does run through my veins, though, like some kind of weird literary blood – the sort that will no doubt one day lead to a stress-induced heart malfunction. It’s like smoking, only worse. Thankfully, I get to write about LEGO until then. You can follow me on Twitter at @brfa_chris.

7 thoughts on “Ex-TT Games developer advises fans not to boycott LEGO Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga

  • 02/02/2022 at 01:29
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    The developers have worked hard enough already to create an entire Star Wars Galaxy out of LEGOS, don’t make this harder for them than it already is

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  • 27/01/2022 at 16:00
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    This guy’s right, bad business practices by ownership and management shouldn’t further punish the Developers and there employment and income streams. One thing I know is most business owners never had to pass a test or pre-qualification in order 2 purchase or start up their business. If you have the means and capital anybody can become a business owner and that leaves many places of employment with leadership that is severely lacking in knowledge, morality and most importantly common sense. Also I’ve been waiting so damn long check this game out and complete it to 100% with my kids that I’m getting the thing on the 5th just from Pure stubbornness and feeling like all the hours checking the internet for information so my kids could get updates periodically don’t feel like it was a complete waste of time over the last couple years lol

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  • 27/01/2022 at 12:45
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    I’ll be boycotting the game if it does NOT come with online multi-player. This should be standard for every game created IMO.

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  • 27/01/2022 at 12:23
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    Im not going to pretend to understand the game dev industry but why work outside your contracted hours. I work emergency ambulance and I love my job, however I will not work outside my contracted hours without at minimum OT and another break regarldess of howing it goes over. You’re valuable, know your qorth

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  • 27/01/2022 at 03:21
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    Hadn’t planned on boycotting it anyway. If I did that for every company that isn’t perfect, I’d own nothing.

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  • 26/01/2022 at 19:05
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    I still purchased it as I am proud of the work the developers did. I am very much looking forward to this one!

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    • 02/02/2022 at 01:31
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      It’s people like you that remind me that there are still good people in this world

      Reply

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