"I don't envision us going back to everybody being in the studio five days a week -- ever"

2K's Cloud Chamber Games expects permanent changes to its work culture after the COVID-19 pandemic

Cloud Chamber Games' Kelley Gilmore does not see the studio returning to working from the office five days a week -- even when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Speaking to Jeff Green on USGamer's Branching Narratives podcast, Gilmore discussed her role as studio head at Cloud Chamber, which was started by 2K Games last year to make a new entry in the Bioshock series.

Green, the games industry veteran who hosts the podcast, brought up the subject of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the effect it is having on productivity. For all the increase in audience engagement, he said, hitting production milestones for a team like Cloud Chamber must be "enormously stressful."

"We're all interested to see how this impacts productivity in terms of hitting current deliverables," Gilmore responded. "And I think that's across the industry."

For Cloud Chamber itself, though, the process has been relatively smooth. According to Gilmore, 2K quickly made sure everyone had equipment at home that closely resembled their office setups.

"We've been able to show that people can be productive at home"

Kelley Gilmore

"And we've done it," she added. "It's interesting, because everybody is different; there are some people that are thriving working from home, and are more productive, and there are other people working from home who have kids... There are people who have a lot on their plate right now."

Despite the variety of personal circumstances within the team, Cloud Chamber has been "making progress" and "feeling good" about the development of the new Bioshock game.

Gilmore went so far as to say that she believes there will be a permanent change to the way the industry works as a result of the experience -- and a change "for the better."

"I think we have shown that we are able to work this way," she continued. "There are some benefits to everybody being in the same space, for certain functions at certain moments in time.

"But I don't envision us going back to everybody being in the studio five days a week again -- ever. Because we've been able to show that people can be productive at home.

"And at this point, everybody has got... the technology at home that they need to be able to do their work. I think we can take our flexibility one more step now, and allow people to do that."

You can listen to the full episode of USGamer's Branching Narratives podcast here.

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