Former Rockstar Employee Speaks About Allegedly Poor Working Conditions At The Studio

In light of recent controversy, several former Rockstar employees have come forward with their own experiences.

Posted By | On 17th, Oct. 2018 Under News

Discussions about improper working conditions and the lack of regulations to fix the same in video game development have always been very pertinent, but recent reports surrounding Red Dead Redemption 2 have lit a flame under them to make them even more relevant.

Rockstar’s co-studio Dan Houser head recently claimed that employees at Rockstar were working 100 hour weeks several times in 2018 as the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2 drew closer, and even though he has since then gone on to clarify the statement to state that the aforementioned crunch was applicable to a very select few senior members of the writing staff, discussions surrounding employee treatment at game development studios, Rockstar especially, have been raging like wildfire.

For instance, Job J Stauffer, who worked at Rockstar for four years (as per his LinkedIn profile), where he was involved in the development of Grand Theft Auto 4, has come forward with a series of posts on Twitter to talk about his own experiences at the studio. Stauffer claims that during the years when GTA 4 was being developed, the atmosphere at the studio was “like working with a gun to your head”.

In another tweet, Stauffer recalls an incident when he was down with the flu and had to take a day off, during which he got treatment for the flu, and then tweeted a photo of the same. For this, according to Stauffer, he was put on notice for not coming into work, and for “fooling around on Twitter”. In a third tweet, Stauffer mentions that he’s been willing to give Rockstar the benefit of the doubt, since he hasn’t worked their in ten years, but also mentions that he’s heard from several former employees who’ve worked their much more recently who tell him that the culture at Rockstar hasn’t really changed much. “Yet I’ve heard this from dozens of R* folks in recent years that it continues, and I’m not surprised,” he wrote. “It was the most ruthlessly competitive and intense work environment imaginable.”

At this point, given the storm that’s been kicked up, it’s hard not to have an opinion about the entire situation either way. On one hand, the anecdotes that have come forth have been from past incidences, but then again, there’s just too many of them to ignore, and there’s no smoke without fire. Rockstar, too, have often come under fire for their stressful and extremely demanding culture, especially with Red Dead Redemption in 2010, and though they should be given the benefit of the doubt for how they’ve handled the development of Red Dead Redemption 2, it’s hard not to see a trend here.

Hopefully, the situation becomes clearer soon, and even if it doesn’t, the real hope is that either working conditions at Rockstar have changed for the better, or management at the studio will now be forced to consider a change given all the controversy.

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