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Rockstar North Employees Speak Openly About Work Culture and "100 Hour" Crunch

One story that has been dominating the narrative of Red Dead Redemption 2 in the last two weeks is the reported workplace culture over at Rockstar North.

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UltraNova32d ago

Looks like the guys/gals at R* who have spoken publicly are pretty happy there. That said you cant please everyone. We live in an age where everything has to be overblown to huge proportions.

neutralgamer199232d ago

Ultra

This was my point yesterday. I was media ran with a story with few unhappy ex employees yet there are thousands of happy employees at Rockstar

But media ran with it and many YouTubers gave it around the clock coverage. It was a like I said yesterday it's very common for long hours towards the end of development to finish the game and meet in joust dead lines set by the publisher

After development is done most employees get atleast 3-4 weeks off to refresh and many get even more

And with huge successful games many employees get bonuses so there is added benefit in working extra hard besides pay and pride

rainslacker32d ago

Unfortunately, people see what they want to see, and ten people saying something is fine, doesn't outweigh one person saying it's bad.

The original story about this...not the interview, but the relaying of that one quote....didn't really express what was trying to be said, and I even think that when it was said, it was said in one of those moments that someone doesn't think through what it could mean beyond what they actually meant.

sampsonon32d ago

the real question is " do you want to ever get another job in the industry?" then watch what you say when the boss hands you the mic.

Servbot4132d ago

Or "How to Get Fired 101"

AngelicIceDiamond32d ago

Precisely. You can't be so fooled to think R* will actually let their own employees air their grievances to the public and its all good and well? R* probably gonna pay them bonuses just to keep hush plus they have a multimillion dollar game to release soon so any bad press means less copies sold, it doesn't matter if its slightly less they don't want to lose a single copy. Lol the timing couldn't be more perfect.

Your all being fooled here.

rainslacker32d ago

Reality is, is that even going elsewhere doesn't solve the problem.

It's easy enough to blame R* as evil if something like this comes around, but ultimately, no matter where a dev goes, there is still going to be some crunch. How well those studios and management handle crunch is important to how the employees feel about it. There will always be some who absolutely hate it. Some who are indifferent to crunch that isn't too bad, and some who live for it.

Crunch is one of the biggest reasons for people leaving the industry. Which is why for the past decade, there has been more effort to reduce how much it happens, or mitigate how it can affect the workers. It will never be eliminated....that is probably impossible even if you remove all deadlines, but it can be controlled most of the time.

Its all good and fine that people in the community want to stand up for these developers if they feel it necessary, but these developers aren't oppressed, or lacking in options. There is a extreme shortage of qualified professionals in the industry, and its really a employees market in terms of controlling their work life, salary, and benefits. These devs aren't being oppressed, nor are they without choice, so if they stay at a studio that for some reason needs excessive crunch, then they are doing it by choice. But I can say that studios that have excessive or frequent crunch times or just crunch times that aren't managed properly, have a very hard time retaining employees.

Melankolis32d ago

"To solve crunch, probably the best you could do is say: don’t try to make Game of the Year,” said Neil Druckmann. “Don’t do that and you’re good.”
-blood, sweat, and pixels. Schrier, Jason-

rainslacker32d ago

Probably have to remove deadlines also. Since crunch tends to happen most when one is approaching deadlines. But further, there is often tasks that need to be completed before something else can be done, so individuals can often be in a crunch to get that done in time, or else everyone else can hit a wall and not even be able to start what they need to do.

Even if you did all that, the only way to really remove crunch, would be to actively say, "You will only work 40-45 hours a week". No exceptions. And even then, there are people who would do it, because they are that passionate about their work. Its also worth noting that actively limiting the employees hours would probably greatly increase the development cost over the long run....as the production would likely go on much longer....and it's possible the some studios could go bankrupt, since milestones are important for getting paid....although that's mostly through 2nd party or indie studios.

The 10th Rider31d ago

Eh, there could definitely be laws in place to help. Anything above 12 hours a day average in a week shouldn't happen. So a limit of like 85 hours a week would be good. Also limiting it so that weeks like that can't happen for multiple weeks in a row.

PhantomS4232d ago

This is getting ridiculously out of hand for no reason. Funny thing is the people complaining about a job they can't even begin to understand are people who only work 20 hours at a part-time job and think it's "too much work".

sander970232d ago

It's called mob mentality nobody is thinking straight when it happens, it becomes impossible to reason with them.

rainslacker32d ago

I know plenty of people that complain about a job. But most of them do so because they are unhappy with their life in general, because they complain about a lot of things. Those people still tend to show up for work.

I do know my wife works with people who aren't happy in their jobs, and they have real reason to be. But that's a completely different matter, and may be more allegorical to the Quantic Dreams thing a few months ago.

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