Several Current Red Dead Redemption 2 Devs Have Spoken Up About Working Conditions At Rockstar

A large number of people who’ve worked on Red Dead Redemption 2 have chimed in with their own current experiences with Rockstar’s working conditions.

Posted By | On 19th, Oct. 2018 Under News

A few days back, Rockstar Games co-studio head Dan Houser inadvertently kicked off something of a controversy when he claimed that Rockstar employees had worked a few 100 hour weeks in 2018 during the crunch period of Red Dead Redemption 2 as the game’s launch drew closer. He later clarified that statement, saying that no one was forced to work overtime, and that the 100 hour weeks statement was applicable only to a select few senior members of the game’s writing staff, and only for three weeks.

In the time since then, we’ve also heard from people who in the past have worked at Rockstar, and claim to have been subject to horrible working conditions during their tenure. However, it seems Rockstar has now taken steps to clear away any confusion, and has allowed people working at all studios under the Rockstar umbrella to share their own experiences about the development of Red Dead Redemption 2.

As such, a number of current Rockstar employees have stepped forward on Twitter, many of whom have stated that they’ve never worked 100 hour weeks at Rockstar, nor have they been forced to do so by any senior staff at the studio, and that if they have worked overtime, it has been at their own discretion (you can see several of these tweets at the bottom of this post).

For instance, Danny Bannister, vehicle artist at Rockstar North, says that even though there was some crunch during the game’s development, the most he ever worked during that period was one sixty hour week. “I know for a fact that my lead would’ve sent me home if I even attempted 100 hrs a week,” he says. “That’s just not how it’s done here.”

Phil Beveridge, Senior Code Content Developer at Rockstar North’s statements are also along the same line. “Will preface this with a note about how this is my own personal experience at North, and things might not be the same at other studios or departments,” he writes. “I have never worked a 100-hour week. Nobody should work a 100-hour week, that’s a frankly ridiculous number. I have also never been forced to work overtime, or felt that not doing overtime would in some way impact my career. On average, I’ll do somewhere between 40 to 45-hour weeks, and that can go up to to around 60 for a week or two when deadlines loom. But this is of my own accord, and part of me being a perfectionist with the work I do.”

Dave Alden, environment artist at Rockstar North says that “things have only improved in all aspects” in the seven years that he’s worked at the studio. On the other hand, Tom Fautley, tools designer at Rockstar North, also raises some interesting points, saying that he’s “asked, encouraged, and expected” to work overtime as deadlines approach, and that even though he’s never worked 100 hour weeks, he has “seen friends get closer to that figure than is healthy”.

“A typical week during crunch for me would be somewhere around 45-50 hours,” Fautley wrote. “I have colleagues that definitely have worked a lot more though. As someone with health issues linked to stress and anxiety, it’s not always great.” In a separate tweet, he mentioned that he did once work a 79 hour week, but that was “not recently”. “I do still enjoy my work, and I’m happy enough working here,” he concludes. “But I think it should be better. I should stress that these are my personal feelings on the matter only.”

It also seems Rockstar has told all developers working at all of its studios to be completely honest about their experiences, to talk about the good and the bad, and to not sugarcoat anything. Vivianne Langdon, tools programmer at Rockstar San Diego says that Rockstar has granted all its employees permission to “speak frankly about this issue on social media”. Similarly, Wesley Mackinder, environment artist at Rockstar North, says “every studio working on the project have been told they’re free to speak openly and honestly” about the current situation.

A number of these tweets have been compiled below for you to see for yourself, but do keep in mind that there’s a lot, lot more. Take a look at a few of them below.

Red Dead Redemption 2 launches on October 26 for the PS4 and Xbox One.

Rich Rosado, Producer (Rockstar Games):

Danny Bannister, Vehicle Artist (Rockstar North):

Phil Beveridge, Senior Code Content Developer (Rockstar North):

Vivianne Langdon, Tools Programmer (Rockstar San Diego):

Lucy Burbidge, Technical Content Artist (Rockstar North):

Craig Vincent, Senior Gameplay Systems Designer (Rockstar Games):

Wesley Mackinder, Environment Artist (Rockstar North):

Dave Alden, Environment Artist (Rockstar North):

Tom Fautley, Tools Designer (Rockstar North):

Zoë Sams, Tools Producer (Rockstar North):

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