Anyone who has been in the gaming or film industries has a simultaneous, knee jerk reaction to the word "crunch". For us, crunch means little to no sleep, irregular eating and bathing patterns and a bucket load of stress and deadlines. These symptoms are usually accompanied by weight gain/loss and a significantly diminished personal life. But one of the most curious things to happen when exposed to prolonged crunch is a strange waking dreamlike state in which you find everything hilarious and time seems to skip a head in snaps and leaps. Really, it's a lot like being drunk.
When content creators first experience crunch, it's almost addictive. You want to push and push and push and make things above and beyond what they need to be. Sure, it's no problem to operate on 4 hours of sleep 7 days a week. What could possibly go wrong? It's so worth it!
When you're about to go into your second or third crunch, you start to think of plans on how to deal with the side effects, you start hearing the warnings you were previously told like, "pace yourself, you're more efficient when you're awake" but for some reason you still keep saying, "pfffffffft , I'm fiiiiiiiine."
By the time you hit your fifth crunch you start to experience "burn out" right out of the gate. You think you're fine but as you first start to sit down to those long hours you realise you just don't have the capacity, the reservoirs you once had in the good old days. This is the most dangerous time as you haven't quite figured out your limits and how to keep everything balanced but you are being made aware that you have to, and fast.
Coming up on the eighth crunch you know you can't do it like you used to. Period. You get that sinking fear about every choice being made pre crunch knowing it will all turn to chaos once the evitable hits. You're a nervous wreck muttering under your breath, "I can't do it again, I can't do it again...", the dark walls start pressing in and you're going to be crushed under it all. You go into work on a Sunday again trying to tell yourself "just get through this, just get through this" and then something happens. You see the first bits of detailed facial performance tech come online, you animate Cullen smirking and laughing awkwardly for the very first time, then suddenly you remember why you signed up for this madness in the first place.
I love making scenes and I love making games. Worth it.