Mike Harradence by on Oct 24, 2018

Rockstar developers chime in on studio’s crunch culture

A number of former and current developers with Red Dead Redemption 2 developer Rockstar Games have shared their experience with the studio's notorious crunch culture.

The comments come by way of an in-depth report conducted by Kotaku, with the site documenting remarks from over 70 individuals, among which includes 43 former and 34 current employees.

It's an extremely comprehensive piece, and contains a number of mixed responses to the top of the crunch; some insist Rockstar is an enjoyable place to work and stories of the crunch are exaggerated, while others talk of some pretty extreme expectations of staff.

'That has been a consistent policy because we have always felt that we want the team to get to the finish line,' said Rockstar's head of publishing, Jennifer Kolbe. 'And so a very long time ago, we decided that if you didn’t actually finish the game, then you wouldn’t be in the credits.'

One employee who worked on Red Dead Redemption argued, 'we absolutely were forced to work six-day weeks in the six to nine months leading to launch,' while another added: 'What the company values most is not the bugs you fix but the hours you put in.'

Job Stauffer, who previously worked at Telltale Games and was involved with Rockstar during Grand Theft Auto IV's development, spoke of his experience as 'like working with a gun to your head 7 days a week.'

One current employee mentions how 'Rockstar pressures employees to put in overtime in several direct and indirect ways,' observing that management aren't really impressed with any hard work you do in the week unless you also put in the hours on the weekend.

'For some people fear is a great motivator, for others it just incites rebellion,' another developer commented. Some people did not experience this at all, however. 

Rockstar has come under fire regarding its relationship with the crunch as of late, after co-founder Dan Houser spoke in an interview of staff working '100-hour weeks' during Red Dead Redemption 2's development.

Speaking of Red Dead 2, Kolbe noted that Rockstar will 'recognize many people who made a contribution, including many former employees' via a thank you list on its official website, which features people not in the game's credits.


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Red Dead Redemption 2

on PlayStation 4, Xbox One

An epic tale of life in America’s unforgiving heartland.

Release Date:

26 October 2018