Rockstar is trying to get the Red Dead Redemption 2 narrative back on track this week after one of the company bosses casually humble-bragged that some members of the company were putting in 100-hour weeks on the game, which was followed by a deluge of testimony from former employees once again confirming that crunch remains a serious problem for the company.
But now, Rockstar has “given permission” to some current employees to speak out about their own working conditions. Consequently, multiple Rockstar devs have now also tweeted that they don’t work 100-hour weeks and that crunch isn’t an issue.
“If [crunch] ever felt forced and expected, I’d just go contracting for one of the banks,” says one RSN developer, as quoted on GIbiz. Others argue that the overtime they do is compensated.
However, it’s worth pointing out that Rockstar has thousands of employees across multiple studios, and not everyone feels free to speak truth. VG247 collected a few more quotes from employees who wished to stay anonymous; one pointed out that overtime benefits and crunch simply vary between projects and departments and studios – and countries, for that matter. (The Rockstar North studio, for example, is located in Scotland, which has much more stringent labor laws than the US.)
“Not every studio gets paid overtime. We certainly don’t. Other departments may not feel forced but I doubt you’ll see many tweets from Design or QA. The average from all departments makes OT not look too bad, but I’ve done 50+ hour weeks as standard since I started. Even if there is no work, we are told to come in every weekend anyway. I believe the people are being honest when they tweet, but they can only speak for themselves.”
One Twitter observer put it more bluntly: “Shocking that the company PR email that asked its employees (that they probably follow on twitter) are mostly positive.”
Meanwhile, preloading for RDR2 preorders is set to begin tomorrow, and the launch trailer has arrived; you can watch it below.