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Rockstar Attempts to Clarify “100-Hour Week” Comments

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Update 16/10/2018 @ 12:30

In a statement to Kotaku, Rockstar’s Dan Houser has attempted to clarify comments he made in a recent feature, published in Vulture, on the development of Red Dead Redemption 2 published in Vulture – namely, that the development team were putting in 100-hour weeks to get the game ready for release.

Here’s the quote in full:

There seems to be some confusion arising from my interview with Harold Goldberg.

The point I was trying to make in the article was related to how the narrative and dialogue in the game was crafted, which was mostly what we talked about, not about the different processes of the wider team.

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. 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.

More importantly, we obviously don’t expect anyone else to work this way.

Across the whole company, we have some senior people who work very hard purely because they’re passionate about a project, or their particular work, and we believe that passion shows in the games we release. But that additional effort is a choice, and we don’t ask or expect anyone to work anything like this.

Lots of other senior people work in an entirely different way and are just as productive – I’m just not one of them! No one, senior or junior, is ever forced to work hard. 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.

However, on Twitter, some former employees have claimed this kind of extreme overtime isn’t as optional as Rockstar suggests.

Original Story 15/10/2018 @ 14:18

Some video game developers have expressed their disappointment at the recent news that developers on Red Dead Redemption 2 have been working 100 hours a week to get the game ready for launch.

The comment came from Studio co-founder Dan Houser in an interview with Games Industry.biz. The article states:

Dan Houser said that the team has been “working 100-hour weeks” several times in 2018, later adding that compared to previous Rockstar projects, “This was the hardest.”

His brother Sam told the site earlier this year: “We’ve poured everything we have into [Red Dead Redemption 2]. We have really pushed ourselves as hard as we can.”

After Games Industry.biz tweeted out the news, some developers in the industry have used it as an opportunity to take aim at Rockstar for “glorifying” how many hours the team have put in.

Creative Assembly writer and narrative designer Peter Stewart was one of the first express his opinion, tweeting: “This needs to stop being a point of pride, no matter how bittersweet you make it sound. I don’t want devs to work 100-hour weeks, even if the end result is a game of the year. No game is worth that kind of burnout.”

It didn’t stop there. Splash Damage creative director Andreas Gshwari waded into the comments.

“Sadly some developers will see the success of RDR2 and conclude that what it takes to make a game successful is 100 hour work weeks, and that in the end the results are all that matter. But the damage done by working people this hard will be ignored,” she wrote.

Indie game studio director Jodie Azhar also made her feelings known.

Many of the comments from gamers also side with the developers.

What Rockstar Games development team have experienced to meet a deadline is nothing new in the industry. Gameinformer wrote an excellent article earlier this year about the crunch cycles that developers have to endure over the weeks and month leading up to a deadline.

  • Al Buns

    Its Rockstar, they are perfect, impeccable and greater than life itself…sarcasm.

  • Arbeli Rozenberg

    Less than 10 days left and the game still hasn’t gone gold

  • Fonz

    Rockstar games have to meet high expectations with their games unfortunately, probably higher than most developers. The work they put in shows with their reputation and financial gain.

    With that understanding, you can assume all their games will be massive hits and very profitable if it comes with that Rockstar quality. If the employees understand this and see that they will be compensated with some extra effort, it is probably a common occurrence in their environment. It doesn’t mean it has to be for for everyone though.

    They are in the unfortunate position of having to always deliver. If an employee doesn’t want to be in this situation, they should get out. Plenty of other companies not under same pressure.