Update 10/18/18: Added gallery with additional tweets from Rockstar employees. Please note that these tweets only come from those currently at the studio.
Following controversy surrounding Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser’s comments on 100-hour work weeks during the development of Red Dead Redemption 2, the studio has seemingly given its employees the opportunity to speak openly about working conditions.
Experiences from several current Rockstar employees lined up with Houser’s second statement, in which he claimed that only he and a select portion of the writing team “crunched” to this degree during certain points in the game’s development.
Watch this week’s episode of Beyond below for a breakdown of Houser’s controversial quote.
Rockstar North engine programmer Timea Tabori wrote a thread of comments about the studio and its culture, adding that “there is so much positive change happening behind closed doors.”
In over 5 years, never have I been asked or pressured to work anywhere near 100 hours. I have occasionally worked maybe 50 hours a week at most and nobody demanded or even expected that.
— Timea Tabori (@TimeaTabori) October 18, 2018
Rockstar San Diego tools programmer Vivianne Langdon echoed those comments, adding that overtime at the studio was paid (a recurring question after Houser’s original comments):
I have never worked more than maybe 50 hours a week (and that’s a rare occurrence), but I generally work about 2-6 hours of paid overtime per week.
— Vivianne Langdon (@viiviicat) October 18, 2018
This move comes following a widely-shared tweet by ex-Rockstar and Telltale developer Job Stauffer, who said that he was pressured to work extremely long hours during his time at the company.
It’s been nearly a decade since I parted from Rockstar, but I can assure you that during the GTA IV era, it was like working with a gun to your head 7 days a week. “Be here Saturday & Sunday too, just in case Sam or Dan come in, they want to see everyone working as hard as them.” https://t.co/TaQS5LnaAa
— Job J Stauffer (@jobjstauffer) October 16, 2018
Former L.A. Noire developer Jenn Sandercock shared that she was told to stop holding 30-minute “Cake Days” each week by Rockstar (made clear in a separate tweet), who published and co-developed the game.
Thread: I worked at a AAA company once. When I started everyone looked so miserable after literally years of hard work & crunch. So late one night after work I baked 2 cakes for the office. I sent out a mass email & we all took 30 minutes to eat cake and talk.
— Jenn Sandercock (@JennSandercock) October 16, 2018
Allegations of poor working conditions at Rockstar are not new. Similar concerns were brought up during the end of development for the first Red Dead Redemption, specifically from the Rockstar San Diego studio.
The company has made no official statement on the current controversy since Houser’s clarification, but its choice to allow current developers to share their feelings might be seen as an alternative.
Red Dead Redemption 2 will be released on October 26 for Xbox One and PS4.
Check out our feelings after the first 4 hours with the game, why the its world is a brutal place for players who go it alone, and 79 little details we spotted in our time with a preview build.
Gabe Gurwin is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter @GamingAngelGabe.