Current Rockstar employees have been speaking out about their experiences working at the studio following comments on 100-hour work weeks by co-founder Dan Houser, and follow-up comments criticising a culture of crunch by former employees.
Vivianne Langdon, a tools programmer at Rockstar San Diego, voiced her perspective on conditions at the studio over three-and-a-half years working there – pointing out that this was done with Rockstar’s blessing and not under any pressure from any side.
“I don’t generally talk about work but I wanted to provide a brief personal perspective on the recent articles which have presumed that R* forces its employees to work 100-hour weeks,” she wrote.
“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,” Langdon clarified overtime pay is a factor thanks to Californian employment law.
“I do not feel personally that I am overworked or being mistreated,” she continued, “That said, I do not want this to diminish any others’ stories should they arise, and I don’t wish to imply that this industry is perfect. My goal is only to share my personal experience at R*.”
PepsiPunk – or a chap called Martin who works at Rockstar North – added his experience to the pile, tweeting: “I’ve spent nearly 5 years at Rockstar North. Number of 100 hour weeks done? Zero. Number of times i’ve been given any pressure for that? Zero. I’ve also been promoted during that time. I love working here, otherwise i’d go work somewhere else.”
“It’s difficult to see people, friends, and fellow devs spreading information that either isn’t true, has now changed, or are telling people not to buy a product you’ve worked hard on and you love,” tweeted Zoë Sams, tools programmer at Rockstar North whose first professional project is Red Dead Redemption 2.
“I haven’t worked a 100 hour work week in my life,” she continued, “I’m thanked for any overtime I am asked to do, and it feels like in those circumstances it truly was an unfortunate situation.”
It’s brilliant to see the rank-and-file allowed to speak out like this, and allays fears that arose from Houser’s comments the other day. That said, it’s still unlikely – even with Rockstar’s blessing to speak freely – that any current employee would openly complain if they were being pushed into crunch.