The Myth of Fast Tracking Game Updates By Hiring More Devs
The Myth of Fast Tracking Game Updates By Hiring More Devs

Reality Check: Publisher Debunks Myth That Hiring More Devs Solves Update Problems

In gaming, a few things stir up players' passions, such as the pace of updates for their favorite titles. This is especially true for games in early access, where the community's appetite for fresh content and improvements can be insatiable.

For Manor Lords, the highly anticipated medieval city-builder recently launched in early access, some impatient fans have proposed a simple solution to speed up development: just hire a ton more people! It sounds logical. More hands on deck equals faster progress.

However, in a recent interview, Tim Bender, CEO of Manor Lords publisher Hooded Horse, poured cold water on this armchair advice. Bender bluntly stated that the idea the solo developer behind Manor Lords should "immediately hire 50 people and create a gigantic company" to pump out rapid-fire updates is "fundamentally not the way things work."

As a gaming journalist who has covered the industry for years, I strongly agree with Bender's take. The "just hire more devs" refrain is an oversimplification I've heard countless times from well-meaning but naive players. Scaling up a development team, especially at breakneck speed, is far from a magic bullet.

Bender astutely points out that the "best growth is very slow" and that keeping "the core vision intact is critical." He emphasizes the importance of the existing development process established by Manor Lords' creator, Greg Styczeń. Rapidly expanding the team would jeopardize that proven formula.

manor-lords-a-picture-of-huge-village

Any software engineer knows that adding manpower to a project incredibly late in the development cycle often has the counterintuitive effect of slowing things down, not speeding them up. There's a reason "Brooks' Law" from the book The Mythical Man-Month states that "adding manpower to a late software project makes it later" - has endured for nearly 50 years.

New hires must be carefully selected, onboarded, and integrated into the existing development workflow and culture. Seasoned team members must take precious time away from their work to train and mentor the rookies. More code from more coders introduces more bugs and compatibility issues that require even more fixing. The mythical man-month is real.

Beyond the workflow disruptions, ballooning the team would also dramatically increase the burn rate and overhead costs, putting pressure on Manor Lords to chase revenue with monetization rather than focus on improving the core game. Short-term thinking would trump sustainability.

Instead of taking a risky and reckless "hire all the devs" approach, Bender says Manor Lords will stick to the "path that made it so successful" - a more measured cadence guided by player feedback gathered during early access. This strikes me as a much wiser way to deliver updates that move the needle on quality rather than just quantity.

So, to any armchair devs clamoring for Manor Lords to go on a hiring spree, patience and a reality check on how game development works. The myth of instantly solving update woes by throwing more warm bodies at it must be put to rest.

About The Author
Basearena author Jakub Pflug

Jakub Pflug

Jakub, a software engineer by trade, has been a skilled gamer obsessed with interactive media since his first experience with a Nintendo 64. Balancing his software projects with a commitment to games like Quake 3 and Minecraft, he writes insightful articles about hidden gaming gems and hardware reviews.