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Rockstar devs detail the studio's history with 'mandatory' crunch

Rockstar devs detail the studio's history with 'mandatory' crunch

October 26, 2018 | By Alissa McAloon

"The fear is those at the top have seen how profitable this is working at 150, 200 percent and wonder why we should ever slow down.”

- An anonymous Rockstar developer weighs in on the company’s crunch culture

Rockstar Games has long had a troubled relationship with crunch, and concerns over working conditions at the game developer have re-emerged just as the company’s latest game, Red Dead Redemption 2, hits store shelves.

Following criticisms over studio co-founder Dan Houser's "100-hour weeks" comment, several developers have spoken anonymously to publications like Kotaku to share their crunch and overtime experiences without fear of professional repercussion. While those experiences vary, many of the quotes paint a troubling picture.

A recent story from Eurogamer now backs up much of what was said in that initial Kotaku story and is worth a read for the added perspective it brings to the issue of overtime, mandatory or voluntary, at Rockstar Games.

Devs at Rockstar’s UK-based QA studio Rockstar Lincoln tell Eurogamer of mandatory six-day work weeks and waivers signed to opt out of a UK employment law that would otherwise prevent night shift workers from working more than 8 hours during a single 24-hour span. As of last Friday, seemingly following the public criticism over persistent crunch, employees at that studio were told all overtime was now voluntary, but some speaking to the site say that the terminology is all that’s changed. 

"Naturally it's a worry that people not working overtime now, even when it is 'voluntary', will get a black mark against their name," said one developer, and many—but not all—of the others interviewed echo that sentiment. 

The full article on Eurogamer has more stories that detail working habits at Rockstar Games from devs who both worked on older titles to those that created the company’s most recent release Red Dead Redemption 2

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