In light of recent events that have placed the studio over at Rockstar Games in a negative light regarding working conditions and what it was like to work for the company itself, the team has decided to lift their previous social media ban on discussing work life with the general public. To contradict the earlier statements of previous devs painting a nightmarish picture, others have come forward since the ban lifted to sing Rockstar's praises.
One such employee is Keith Thorburn, a music developer for Rockstar. Below is the initial tweet that set off an entire thread:
So...about the whole 'Rockstar working conditions' thing. I know a lot of my fellow devs will be sharing their experiences, and I wanted to share mine because reading all of the press around it has been, quite frankly, a total bummer on what should be an exciting week for us.— Keith Thorburn (@keiththorburn81) October 18, 2018
He added, "First off, this was one of the most rewarding and least stressful projects I've worked on. I know what epic crunch feels like but this was managed in such a way that I felt happy and healthy. I can only speak of my own experience but I know in recent chats with the rest of my team we all remarked upon how we'd found a very healthy work/life balance on RDR2, which has always seemed like the holy grail of game development! Did I work overtime? Yes, but never excessively and always by choice."
Thorburn continued, "Often when I stayed a little later it was because I had an imminent day off or holiday booked and didn't want to walk away from things and worry about them on my break. I'm a worrier so was all for my own peace of mind (and yup, my holidays were approved throughout with no issues). Usually staying later meant an extra 2-3 hours a night during the week or two before a deadline. I was never asked to do it or made to feel any pressure to do it, and the company fed me on these nights.
"One night was a bit of an exception - I had a block of time off booked right at a deadline week so to make absolutely sure I'd quadruple-checked all my work I stayed until 2am the night before my holiday. It was the only day I did anything like those hours, my lead assured me it wasn't necessary, but I wanted to enjoy my holiday knowing it was done."
He also provided an example of his experience with a lack of pressure when he came down with pericarditis, "It's a temporary viral heart problem which meant a sudden trip to hospital. Everyone was really supportive and told me to take all the time I needed. I came into work a day or so later because while I was still in some pain I felt I could probably soldier through. As soon as HR got wind that I was in the office I was sent home in a taxi and told to take at least the week off and not to return until I'd seen a doctor who approved. I wanted to work, but they wanted me to get better."
He went on to talk about how heartbreaking it was to see the negative commentary surrounding his workplace after "years" of working with "unbelievable" pride. Others also chimed in, such as Vivianne Langdon, a tools programmer, who stated that a 100 work week was never even a possibility for her. She mentioned, "I do not personally feel that I am overworked or being mistreated" but she did also add that she didn't want to discount if someone in the office was feeling that way. She was very clear in her statement that this was just her own personal account.0comments
Unsure about what started this all? You can catch up with our previous coverage here with the initial interview of 100 hour work weeks, a former dev's nasty light about his time with Rockstar, and Rockstar's followup statement.