In a recent feature on Rockstar Games and its development of Red Dead Redemption 2, which launches near the end of October, co-founder and VP of creativity Dan Houser revealed very some interesting facts. However, he also stated that the development team was working 100-hour weeks at some points in 2018, which raised its share of concerns. In a follow-up statement to Kotaku, Houser clarified that it was only a few senior members of the writing team who underwent this ordeal.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Houser further stated that employees at the studio were given a choice to put in “additional effort” and not “work this way”. “No one, senior or junior, is ever forced to work hard,” he said. “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.”
Crunch isn’t anything new when it comes to video game development. Several developers across numerous countries have crunched to finish their games. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always lead to success, and major studios like Team Bondi (who worked on L.A. Noire along with Rockstar Games) eventually had to shut down. Rockstar itself has come under fire in the past for long and stressful work hours, namely at Rockstar San Diego in 2010.
Regardless of how well (or unwell) Rockstar Games currently treats its employees, there’s no denying that crunch will continue to be a part of the industry as long as the stakes and budgets are so high. Red Dead Redemption 2 is out on October 26th for Xbox One and PS4. What are your thoughts on the whole situation? Let us know in the comments.