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Developers Share Their Crunch Stories in the Wake of Today's Red Dead Redemption 2 Story

Some Rockstar senior staff put in 100-hour weeks for Red Dead Redemption 2.

News by Matt Kim, .

In light of today's news from Rockstar Games co-founder Dan Houser that employees at Rockstar crunched 100-hour weeks to work on the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2, members and developers in the games industry started sharing stories of their own experiences with crunch to help contextualize the experience.

Crunch time, or the practice of working extended hours to help complete a project, is common in the video game industry to the point where sometimes there is an understanding that joining a company comes with some crunch time. International Game Developers Association (IGDA) president Jen MacLean told USgamer back in March that "a lot of studios out there that crunch are very well known for crunching. When you go to work there, it's not a surprise when you're asked to work 60-70-hour weeks."

Rockstar Games and Houser later clarified that he was only referring to select senior staff when he told Vulture that Rockstar team members worked 100-hour weeks in 2018. That doesn't change that crunch in the industry exists, as these developers shared.

We have see how crunch can lead to very negative consequences for developers. Take Telltale Games for instance which we reported had a culture of crunch that led to intense workplace pressure, rapid release schedules, and low morale. Telltale recently underwent a majority layoff last month.

As we go forward and labor practices continue to be more commonplace in the games industry we will see how the industry responds to such criticism and conversation regarding what constitutes normal workplace conditions.

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  • Avatar for nimzy #1 nimzy A month ago
    Leaving the game industry after a year of crunch was the smartest thing I ever did. And the hardest.
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  • Avatar for Daikon #2 Daikon A month ago
    Crunch periods around deadlines were an important reason why I stopped working in the software industry.
    I remember pulling all-nighters in the office, and after a deadline walking around outside realizing that I hadn't felt the sunlight on my skin for weeks.
    These days I'm self-employed and couldn't be happier.
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