Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser to depart the company in March

I'm gonna take my horse to the old town road until I get a poncho.

One of the original co-founders of Rockstar Games, Dan Houser, is officially stepping down from his post on March 11th. The reveal was made as a result of an SEC form filing published by Take-Two Interactive, Rockstar’s parent company. It also announced that Houser has been on “an extended break” since spring of 2019. No explanation was given regarding the departure.

“We are extremely grateful for his contributions. Rockstar Games has built some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful game worlds, a global community of passionate fans and an incredibly talented team, which remains focused on current and future projects,” reads the document.

The news arrives after Rockstar announced its biggest holiday season in the online worlds of GTA Online and Red Dead Online. It also raises the specter of Dan Houser’s boast of 100-hour work weeks in order to get Red Dead Redemption 2 out of the door. That remark spurred a number of discussions across the wider gaming world regarding game dev treatment and the problems of crunch culture, with several Rockstar employees speaking out about the matter, both in anonymous testimony and “permitted” discussions as well as one possibly sneaky reference to crunch in RDR2 itself.

Take-Two Interactive has so far declined to comment further, though it did confirm that co-founder Sam Houser would remain at his position within Rockstar.


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So he boasted about his 100 hour work weeks, then he had to be on vacation ever since that time, and now won’t be returning to work ever. I don’t know but I guess maybe those terribly unhealthy 100 hour work weeks weren’t something to be boasted about?

I know this is concerning news to Rockstar fans (which many of us are), I’m not trying to make light of it. We always have to wonder what it means when someone that was a founder and is such a big part of the company is no longer going to be there. But I’m just saying…

It’s like boasting about all the crack you’re doing. I really think you’re going to pay for it in the end.

Rodrigo Dias Costa

I have something to say about boasting about crunch. I’ve done that myself on the early years of my IT career. It’s kinda a badge of honor between your coworkers, at least at first, but it’s also stressful as hell, and not healthy at all, ever.

On these “crunchy” projects most of the time me and my coworkers were always chatting and having fun while coding at 3~4 a.m. but was also on this period of my life I’ve developed gastritis and later cardiac arrhythmia. Just from all the stress behind running against the clock and having so little time left to sleep.

That time I was still on my twenties, so I imagine is way worse for older organisms. Today, even while looking at a job opportunity, I ask first about crunch, to avoid as much as possible even the slim possibility of needing to do that again.