Rockstar Games Has Taken Much Criticism Lately
Update (8:59 AM ET): According to Kotaku’s Jason Schreier, these public statements from multiple Rockstar developers are the result of a recent HR email which allowed them to speak about their experiences at the company.
Rockstar Games has been widely criticized recently for allegedly having a “crunch” workplace culture where employees are overworked in order to complete games on schedule.
The company’s co-founder claimed in a recent statement that him and several of his employees sometimes had to work 100-hour weeks on Red Dead Redemption 2 and, earlier this week, a former employee compared his time working there during the “GTA IV era” to having “a gun to your head 7 days a week.“
Recently however, several Rockstar developers have publicly denied that they’ve ever been forced to work overly long hours.
Vivianne Langdon, a tools programmer at Rockstar San Diego, tweeted on Wednesday that she had been “granted permission” to speak about her experience at the studio. She stated that she “never worked more than maybe 50 hours a week (and that’s a rare occurrence)” and generally worked “about 2-6 hours of paid overtime per week.”
Langdon also tweeted that she was speaking about her experience voluntarily and wasn’t going to be compensated “in any way” for doing so.
“I do not feel personally that I am overworked or being mistreated,” Langdon tweeted. “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 [Rockstar].”
Another Rockstar developer, Phil Beveridge, tweeted on Thursday that while he couldn’t speak for every other person employed by the company, his experience at Rockstar North has been “a good one.”
“I have never worked a 100-hour week. Nobody should work a 100-hour week, that’s a frankly ridiculous number,” Beveridge tweeted. “I have also never been forced to work overtime, or felt that not doing overtime would in some way impact my career.”
Beveridge added that he only worked long hours when he wanted to and said that he knew “plenty of people who never do overtime, and leave on time every day to spend time with their family.”
“One of those people has been working here for over 15 years,” he said.
Zoë Sams, a tools programmer at Rockstar North, also denied on Thursday that she was overworked while working on Red Dead Redemption 2.
“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,” Sams tweeted, before adding that she could only speak for her own experience at the studio.
“I haven’t worked a 100 hour work week in my life,” Sams said. “I’m thanked for any overtime I am asked to do, and it feels like in those circumstances it truly was an unfortunate situation.”
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Sources: GamesIndustry.biz, Twitter