Rockstar Staffers Speak Out Against RDR 2 Crunch Backlash

If our Twitter feed is any indication, the arguments on both sides of the Red Dead Redemption 2 crunch argument are pretty heated. Now, a number of Rockstar employees have stepped forward with their own experiences about working for the developer in an apparent attempt to provide more context to how things are done.

rockstar employees

A couple of anonymous Rockstar staffers have reached out to VG24/7 with private messages of their experiences at the studio. One dev admitted to only doing “minor crunch” to see RDR 2 released and expressed annoyance at the general public’s view of the studio.

“It’s been pretty frustrating seeing it portrayed as a hellish place to work – it’s really not,” reads the message. “We’re rewarded very well and crunch is never mandatory.”

Another employee has gone on official record on Twitter with their two cents.

“During the dev. of RDR I sometimes worked 50 hours during the week. This was on and off for a few months. And by on and off I really do mean off. Some weeks I just worked a flat 40 and there was zero issues with this.

“I’ve been at R* for 6 years and I have never worked, or been asked to work, anywhere remotely close to 100 hours in a week.”

Still another anonymous Rockstar employee’s message suggests that this experience seems to vary from department to department.

“Not every studio gets paid overtime. We certainly don’t. 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 now work, we are told to come in every weekend anyway.”

The influx of first-hand accounts comes by way of a newly relaxed social media policy enacted by Rockstar, which now lets employees talk about their time in the studio. As for Red Dead Redemption 2 itself, the game’s launch trailer has just gone live, which you can see below.

Our Thoughts

Considering the amount of opinions that read like they came from flies inside the walls of Rockstar itself, it’s good to have a bit more context from the people who are actually, literally working there. We do hope that this quells some of the rage but also doesn’t stop the push against exploitative working practices. Especially for an industry that doesn’t have a proper union.

Sources: VG247, press release

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Rockstar Attempts to Clarify “100-Hour Week” Remarks

If you your gaming feed is anything like mine, then you were made well aware of Rockstar’s remarks yesterday about its crunch development for the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2. As a result of the blowback from this particular quote, however, co-founder Dan Houser tried to ease the RDR 2 development cycle concerns and provide context to the interview.

rdr 2 development

According to a statement from Houser, who talked about the long work weeks in the original piece, the 100-hour week crunch was mostly undertaken by the senior writing staff. “The point I was trying to make in the article was related to how the narrative and dialogue in the game was crafted, which was mostly what we talked about, not about the different processes of the wider team,” it reads.

Houser also went on to explain that this sort of work week isn’t expected of the wider members of the dev studio.

“Across the whole company, we have some senior people who work very hard purely because they’re passionate about a project, or their particular work, and we believe that passion shows in the games we release. But that additional effort is a choice, and we don’t ask or expect anyone to work anything like this.

“I believe we go to great lengths to run a business that cares about its people, and to make the company a great place for them to work.”

Our Thoughts

It’s still a bit hard not to think that the efforts of the senior writing staff don’t ultimately translate to more overtime and work for the devs below them, but that’s more supposition than anything else. Regardless, we stand firm in the belief that the culture of crunch needs to go. There just aren’t any video game features or dialogue worth putting people through that much.

Source: Kotaku

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100-Hour Work Weeks for Red Dead Redemption 2 Raise Concerns

Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser’s detail of how much work is going into Red Dead Redemption 2 could be backfiring in a spectacular way. Word of 100-hour work weeks for Red Dead Redemption 2 development has set off a number of alarms for many in the games industry.

red dead redemption 2 development

According to a piece from Vulture, the dev team behind the open world game has been putting in 100-hour weeks several times over the course of 2018, creating 300,000 animations and recording 500,000 lines of dialogue.

According to Houser, this results in a game that’s “a vast four-dimensional mosaic in which the fourth dimension is time, in which the world unfolds around you, dependent on what you do.”

However, people are focusing less on the creation of a digital fourth dimension and narrowing down on the crunch that Rockstar is putting the team through. “Survivor of GTA V crunch here. It was hell,” reads a tweet from a former dev. “Survivor of COD, KONAMI, DISNEY etc crunch. It’s ALWAYS hell,” agreed another. “Time for a fundamental change.”

The issues of crunch were examined by Game Informer early this year, and the practice is one that clearly falls under the umbrella of labor exploitation for efforts like Game Workers Unite to unionize the games industry.

This, incidentally, is not the first time Rockstar has apparently put its devs through the ringer. In 2010, Rockstar San Diego was accused in an open letter allegedly written by the wives of the development team of forcing 12-hour-long work days. The accusations came to little, with Rockstar retorting that the letter was merely a collection of opinions from “anonymous posters on message boards” being spun as fact.

Our Thoughts

We’re hard-pressed to think of any game feature that’s worth that much development time. Considering that RDR2 has already been delayed a few times before, hearing that the team is being put through those kinds of working conditions is disheartening, to say the absolute least.

Sources: Vulture via GamesIndustry, Twitter

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Red Dead Redemption 2 Confirms its Online Multiplayer Portion

We expected that the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2 would have some form of an online component, but we hadn’t really known for sure if that would be the case. Until this latest announcement of Red Dead Online crossed our desk, anyway, which not only announces its arrival but a rough window for when it’ll start beta.

red dead online

The online part of Red Dead Redemption 2 will arrive separately in its beta state this coming November. Much like the current GTA Online, Red Dead Online is expected to build on the base gameplay beats of RDR 2 and update with new activities and adjustments on a regular basis. The announcement also promises that this new version of Red Dead Online will be an evolution of the multiplayer component that was in the first RDR title.

Also much like GTA Online, Red Dead Online will be free for anyone who purchases Red Dead Redemption 2, which is set to launch on PS4 and Xbox One on October 26th.

The announcement goes out of its way to mention that the November public beta will very likely go through turbulence come its launch, but hopes that the game’s community will help the devs go through the mode’s growing pains.

More details are expected soon, but for now IGN snagged themselves an exclusive Q&A with the devs about the online mode, which you can check out here.

Our Thoughts

While this is certainly not terribly surprising news, it’s still really good to know for sure that Red Dead Online will indeed be a thing with the new game. We’re looking very forward to seeing more about what the online portion of RDR 2 has to offer.

Source: press release

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