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Rockstar Games' crunch hours may not have been optional after all

Rockstar Games
A horseman approaching a trading station in Red Dead Redemption 2
Red Dead Redemption 2

Rockstar Games have officially responded to the 100-hour work week controversy, claiming that no employee was forced to work the longer hours. Some former employees voiced their opinion on the matter, stating something completely different.

Dan Houser initially spilled the beans about 100-week crunch hours, which quickly became a storm of controversy as everyone started calling Rockstar out for workforce exploitation. Houser responded to the controversy with a new statement, claiming that only a few writers went for the crunch weeks, just before release in order to see things through.

The statement continued, with Houser claiming that Rockstar as a company doesn't expect anyone to work the same way, and that people work 14 hours a day because they are "passionate" about the project. He topped the statement off by saying that "No one, senior or junior, is ever forced to work hard" and that he believes that Rockstar goes "to great lengths to run a business that cares about its people, and to make the company a great place for them to work".

Following the wave of controversy, former Rockstar employees have decided to speak up, with one stating that the work environment was the same ten years ago, when she worked at the company. It was not only the writing staff, and not only the people who chose to do so, as her contract would have been terminated (tweet removed) if she didn't put in the extra hours.

Another former employee stated that the crunch weeks weren't just the few leading up to a release - it could go on for a year. Once the game was out, the crunch would continue in order to cater to post release content.

Rockstar GamesA horseman approaching a trading station in Red Dead Redemption 2Red Dead Redemption 2

To write off the final statement by Houser, another former employee stated there was no passion in crunch at Rockstar. They same person stated they worked 100 hour weeks at other companies, "happily & proudly" but quit Rockstar after only three months.

Bear in mind that the people in these tweets were not verified as former employees, but such controversies tend to bring up folk who were afraid to talk about in-house issues before. It would also shed some light on Gamasutra's blog post from almost a decade ago.