Rockstar Staff Reveal Real Working Conditions Following ‘100 Hour Week’ Comment

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Staff at Rockstar Games have recently been allowed to take to social media and reveal what working conditions at the studio are really like, following controversial comments made co-founder Dan Houser earlier in the week. 

During an interview with Vulture, Houser perhaps chose his words poorly when he suggested staff at Rockstar had been working “100 hour weeks” in order to cope with the “immense” Red Dead Redemption 2 scripts.

Rockstar

Given that the game’s industry is actually kind of notorious for treating its employees like dirt, these comments were met with condemnation across the board.

Members of the gaming press and developers alike took to Twitter to slam Rockstar for Houser’s comments, and the situation only grew more dire as current Rockstar staff were unable to share their side of the story, thanks to company rules preventing them from discussing work on social media.

It certainly didn’t help matters that many of the people taking to Twitter to slam the gaming industry’s habit of working employees to the bone, were actually ex-Rockstar staff.

For his part, Houser tried his best to put out the PR fire he’d inadvertently created, explaining that it was around three weeks of intense work from the writing team, not the whole studio, and that he’d never expect his staff to work such insane hours unless they wanted to.

Naturally, it all boiled over to the point that Rockstar decided to relax its social media rules and allow its staff to come out and defend Houser, letting us all know what it’s like to currently work at the studio.

Vivianne Langdon – a Tools Programmer working on Red Dead Redemption 2 – explained via Twitter:

R* has granted permission for us to speak frankly about this issue on social media. I want to stress that this is is my uncurated personal opinion, I am not being compensated for this post in any way and am making it voluntarily. I’m only going to speak to my personal experience. 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.

Other staff quickly echoed Langdon’s sentiments, suggesting that if Rockstar had been a less than ideal place to work years ago, that was certainly not the case now.

Take a look at a couple of the Tweets below:

Even staff who have been with Rockstar for well over a decade backed up Houser and their fellow colleagues.

Rich Rosado, for example, claimed that in his 18+ years with the studio, he’s never been forced to work anything close to a 100 hour week, and that overtime was “always at his discretion”.

Crunch and abusive practices in the video game industry are certainly ongoing problems that need to be addressed, so if nothing else it’s good that this whole Rockstar fiasco has opened up the conversation in a massive way.


Ewan Moore

Ewan Moore

Ewan Moore is a journalist at UNILAD Gaming who still quite hasn't gotten out of his mid 00's emo phase. After graduating from the University of Portsmouth in 2015 with a BA in Journalism & Media Studies (thanks for asking), he went on to do some freelance words for various places, including Kotaku, Den of Geek, and TheSixthAxis, before landing a full time gig at UNILAD in 2016.