Thinking out loud here:

Perhaps using a film such as TMax 400 (TMY-2) presents an advantage with extreme contrast scenes. It records a very large brightness range in linear fashion, (I think 14 stops), which is more than most, if not all, other films. Would that make a difference in the necessity of using a developer to help contracting such extreme contrast, while getting less of the blooming effect? Or is this purely a developer related phenomenon?