Blizzard posted a rather interesting piece on their website this week as they explored Hearthstone's developments from home. It doesn't matter what major studio a game comes out of, the vast majority of them have the game's team in an area where they can group up and communicate to get a product produced faster than if they were spread out across the office. So when COVID-19 struck the industry and forced many to work from home, a lot of that connection went away. So as a bit of a look back on the making of it, Blizzard did a behind-the-scenes blog talking with several members of the team about making the Scholomance Academy expansion while they were working from home. You can read a couple of them below, but you can click the link above to read the entire piece.
Linus Flink, Senior Game Producer, Art
The biggest technical challenge for us in art was probably solving the review and feedback process for visual effects. We moved to doing a lot more asynchronous review via recorded video instead of in-person meetings. My personal takeaway there was to not try and simply replicate the in-person process remotely—real time reviews via video conference aren't nearly as effective due to lag. We've also done a variety of social activities to nurture our human connections as much as we can, like the Overwatch tournament our colleague has been running on the Hearthstone team.
Gloria Zhang, Lead Game Producer, Design Production
Taking advantage of internal chat channels has been really helpful for a multitude of situations, like goal-oriented discussions, and having virtual lunches to stay in touch with colleagues in a friendly social setting. We're also lucky to have such a great IT team supporting us. The fact that I was able to take my work PC home and get it fully set up has made the transition very smooth.