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Rockstar Games’ Dan Houser has attempted to add clarification to his previous comments about staff working ‘100-hour weeks’ during the development of the highly anticipated Red Dead Redemption 2.
The studio co-founder made the comments during an interview with Vulture, although didn’t go into any details on the shocking figure. However, the number speaks for itself: someone working a 100-hour week would be putting in about 14 hours per day, seven days a week without time off.
Unsurprisingly, Houser’s comments went viral soon after the interview was published, with a number of former Rockstar employees sharing their own experiences. It makes for pretty grim reading, including one individual who spoke of his experience with the Grand Theft Auto V crunch. We’ve included a few of the Tweets below.
Kotaku contacted Houser for clarification on the 100-hour comment, prompting the following response:
‘There seems to be some confusion arising from my interview with Harold Goldberg. 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. After working on the game for seven years, the senior writing team, which consists of four people, Mike Unsworth, Rupert Humphries, Lazlow and myself, had, as we always do, three weeks of intense work when we wrapped everything up. Three weeks, not years. We have all worked together for at least 12 years now, and feel we need this to get everything finished. After so many years of getting things organized and ready on this project, we needed this to check and finalize everything.’
‘More importantly, we obviously don’t expect anyone else to work this way. 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. Lots of other senior people work in an entirely different way and are just as productive – I’m just not one of them! No one, senior or junior, is ever forced to work hard. 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.’
The topic of the notorious crunch culture has cast its shadow over Rockstar Games before, when a 2010 open letter penned by members of Red Dead Redemption’s team shed light on the extreme nature of overtime within the studio.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is due for release on October 26 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.