Rockstar Gives Staff Permission to Talk About Crunch and Long Development Hours

Rockstar Gives Staff Permission to Talk About Crunch and Long Development Hours

Current Rockstar employees are free to post on social media about the "100-hour work week" issue.

Rockstar Games has seemingly granted its staff permission to talk about the recent "100-hour work week" scandal. The issue of extremely long work hours arose this week when Vulture published an interview with studio co-founder Dan Houser. In the article, Houser stated that people at the firm had worked 100-hour weeks at multiple points during development of Red Dead Redemption 2. This was met with clear disgust from the games industry, but now Current Rockstar employees are talking about the issue and sharing their own thoughts on the situation at the GTA developer.

While a statement issued by Houser, following the publication of the interview, clarified that his 100-hour comment referred to only a small number of senior staff, including himself, the story has left many questioning the reality of what it's like to work at Rockstar and other big development studios. Whether or not any current employee would share any horror stories on social media is up for debate, but one employee has given a more positive take on what it's like to work at Rockstar San Diego.

"I have never worked more than maybe 50 hours a week (and that's a rare occurrence), but I generally work about 2-6 hours of paid overtime per week," tweeted Vivianne Langdon, a Tools Programmer at Rockstar San Diego for the last three and a half years."

"I'm "non exempt" so my overtime pay starts at 1.5x salary and scales to 2x after 8 hours of OT in a week or 12 hours in a single day, in accordance with California law," she continued. "Also, I have only been asked to work on weekends once or twice in my entire time at R* on the Tools team."

"The few instances when I work late overtime hours are generally because I'm in the "zone" and don't want to stop until I finish some tricky problem. It is not the result of anyone forcing me to stay late or giving me impossible deadlines, but rather my own drive as a programmer."

Langdon also stressed that while she is commenting on her own experiences at Rockstar San Diego, she doesn't want to "diminish any others' stories should they arise" and doesn't "wish to imply that this industry is perfect."

Wesley Mackinder, an employee at Rockstar North, tweeted to say that during the development of Red Dead Redemption he "sometimes worked 50 hours during the week. This was on and off for a few months. And by on and off I really do mean off. Some weeks I just worked a flat 40 and there was zero issues with this." Timea Tabori, an Engine Programmer at Rockstar North, also tweeted about the work hours issue, stating that in over 5 years she has never "been asked or pressured to work anywhere near 100 hours," and that she's "occasionally worked maybe 50 hours a week at most and nobody demanded or even expected that."

Other current Rockstar Games employees may also choose to share their experiences of working at the company. We'll update this page with more social media posts should they emerge.

Red Dead Redemption 2 is due to release on October 26 on PS4 and Xbox One. Find out more about the game on our Red Dead Redemption 2 guide page.

Tom Orry

Audience Development Manager, Gamer Network

Tom started life on a circus in Australia before his family moved to the UK. His love of gaming started soon after, which essentially meant he bought every video game magazine available and worked numerous part-time jobs as a child in order to afford costly N64 games. He created UK site, of which he was the Editor for over a decade. He now doesn't like circuses.

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