Rockstar boasts of 100-hour work weeks on Red Dead Redemption 2

    
57
oh, cool. videogame

If you’re looking forward to Red Dead Redemption 2, we can hardly blame you as it seems like half of the civilized world is looking forward to it at this point. But when you hear the people in charge of Rockstar boasting that the game has led to 100-hour workweeks for several employees in 2018, that may… dampen your enthusiasm somewhat. (For those of you who don’t feel like doing the math, that translates to almost 15-hour workdays every day… or 20-hour workdays and recovering sleep on the weekends.) So… yay, video games?

It seems almost inconceivable that someone would brag about that, but perhaps it was just an outgrowth of the developers talking up some rather impressive stats around the game, like how the game sports over 300,000 animations and over 500,000 lines of dialogue voiced in the game. There’s also planning to make sure that the game’s online mode is every bit as robust as Grand Theft Auto Online, which… doesn’t really fix any of the above issues, but it sure does sound like fun.

Source: VultureGamesIndustry.biz, VG24/7 (1, 2)
Update
Kotaku has posted a new statement from Rockstar that addresses the uproar all over Twitter and gaming news sites all day, attributed again to Dan Houser. It essentially asserts that nobody at Rockstar is “forced” to crunch, but it does not deny that crunch is happening, and suggests that aside from the four writers crunching for three weeks, other folks who put in “additional effort” are doing so as a “choice.”

There seems to be some confusion arising from my interview with Harold Goldberg. The point I was trying to make in the article was related to how the narrative and dialogue in the game was crafted, which was mostly what we talked about, not about the different processes of the wider team. After working on the game for seven years, the senior writing team, which consists of four people, Mike Unsworth, Rupert Humphries, Lazlow and myself, had, as we always do, three weeks of intense work when we wrapped everything up. Three weeks, not years. We have all worked together for at least 12 years now, and feel we need this to get everything finished. After so many years of getting things organized and ready on this project, we needed this to check and finalize everything.

More importantly, we obviously don’t expect anyone else to work this way. Across the whole company, we have some senior people who work very hard purely because they’re passionate about a project, or their particular work, and we believe that passion shows in the games we release. But that additional effort is a choice, and we don’t ask or expect anyone to work anything like this. Lots of other senior people work in an entirely different way and are just as productive – I’m just not one of them! No one, senior or junior, is ever forced to work hard. I believe we go to great lengths to run a business that cares about its people, and to make the company a great place for them to work.

Of course, as Kotaku also points out, Rockstar’s past crunch problems have been long-documented. US Gamer, for example, notes that following the 2010 revelations, the pro-crunch culture at the company hasn’t appeared to change much, an effect emphasized by multiple former Rockstar employees who point out that company culture abuses “passion” without having to use force. For example:

newest oldest most liked
Subscribe to:
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Kayweg

Tone deaf exec brags about crunch time work hours.
Then is utterly surprised about the backlash and delivers a paper thin “clarification”.
It’d be almost funny if it wasn’t so depressing how this “culture” is so wide spread.
But alright, duely noted here.

Reader
Michael Lehner

Hmm. 15 hours work days tell me the following:
1. The project management was terribly bad.
2. They still tried to meet deadlines and got people into the crunch.
3. It’s no wonder that the gaming industry keeps burning out their talents.
4. The people coding the thing were overworked, the thing will be a terribly mess of bugs and design mistakes.

So yea. Way to go for boasting…

Reader
Loyal Patron
Patreon Donor
DeadlyAccurate

Husband’s company once claimed that the overtime the employees were force to work was a choice, too. It was a lie then, also.

Reader
Tizmah

I’m still buying RDR2, sorry everyone :(

PlasmaJohn
Reader
Patreon Donor
Loyal Patron
PlasmaJohn

My takeaway is that RDR2 is going to be a trainwreck of bugs and very poor design decisions. Had I been an Old West fan this news would eliminate the game from my consideration.

Allowing people to work that much violates management’s responsibility to their shareholders and probably several labor laws.

Reader
Ben Stone

Bragging about managers doing this is part of the culture problem that permeates the workforce. It’s not a badge of honour, it is representative of poor planning and resource management.

Reader
Brother Maynard

And we all lift, and we’re all adrift together, together.
Through the cold mist, ’till we’re lifeless together, together.

We all lift.png
Reader
Kickstarter Donor
Alex Willis

I actually believe the statement. And I also know it is something Managers and Execs do brag about. I have no doubt they believed it was a good thing when they said it. Capitalism!

Reader
Baemir

We truly do live in a society.

hurbster
Reader
hurbster

Been an update. I got this from Destructoid.

https://www.destructoid.com/-update-rockstar-worked-100-hour-weeks-to-create-red-dead-redemption-2-527193.phtml

[Update: Kotaku has received this quote recently, attributable to Dan Houser: “There seems to be some confusion arising from my interview with Harold Goldberg. The point I was trying to make in the article was related to how the narrative and dialogue in the game was crafted, which was mostly what we talked about, not about the different processes of the wider team. After working on the game for seven years, the senior writing team, which consists of four people, Mike Unsworth, Rupert Humphries, Lazlow and myself, had, as we always do, three weeks of intense work when we wrapped everything up. Three weeks, not years. We have all worked together for at least 12 years now, and feel we need this to get everything finished. After so many years of getting things organized and ready on this project, we needed this to check and finalize everything”.

“More importantly, we obviously don’t expect anyone else to work this way. Across the whole company, we have some senior people who work very hard purely because they’re passionate about a project, or their particular work, and we believe that passion shows in the games we release. But that additional effort is a choice, and we don’t ask or expect anyone to work anything like this. Lots of other senior people work in an entirely different way and are just as productive – I’m just not one of them! No one, senior or junior, is ever forced to work hard. I believe we go to great lengths to run a business that cares about its people, and to make the company a great place for them to work”.]

Reader
Jack Kerras

Oh, bullshit.

‘We work this hard, but we don’t expect anyone else to’. Yeah. For sure. As though they wouldn’t fire the handful of non-senior guys who leave at five on the dot because that’s what their contract stipulates.

Our work ‘ethics’ are so fucked. I don’t believe for an instant that there’s no pressure to work long hours. Not a fucking instant.

Reader
Kickstarter Donor
John Bagnoli

I manage people where I work and have this fight with upper management all the time. Employee heroics is not a business strategy.