However, because some areas of game development have “basically stopped” due to a global shift to remote working, the platform head suggested that game projects earlier in their development cycles could yet suffer delays.
“Through the summer, early fall? I feel pretty good about those games,” he said. “Games that were targeting a year from now or beyond? There’ll be some impact, but they’ll be able to react.”
Spencer highlighted motion capture and audio as areas that have been most affected due to remote working.
“Mocap is just something that’s basically stopped. We’re not going into mocap studios,” he added. “If you had all your animation captured and you’re doing touch up in more individual art production and in areas like textures and other things, you’re in a better position.
“If you’re waiting for a lot of either large audio work — when it’s with symphonies and other things — or mocap, you’re held up right now and you’re making progress in areas that you are.”
Spencer said that Microsoft currently feels good about its progress on delivering Xbox Series X on time for Holiday 2020, but conceded that the launch won’t be totally unaffected.
“From the kind of pomp and circumstance around launches, you might find a time where there’s some impact,” he said, “some things that were going to launch, and maybe they moved a little bit.”
The Xbox head’s comments echo those of Baldur’s Gate 3 developer Larian, which said in April that it currently doesn’t have a solution for how to emulate performance capture for game cinematics remotely.
Larian CEO Swen Vincke told the New York Times that its teams were operating at 70 to 80 percent of their normal productivity. “Development is proceeding, we’re just slowed down,” he said.
CD Projekt Red, the developer of Cyberpunk 2077, has also said that some voice work might have to be added to the game in a launch day patch due to the company’s shift to remote working.
A recent New York Times report suggested that some third-party game developers have decided to cut the scope of their games planned for later this year, rather than delay them.