In light of the recent controversy that has 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 it was time to revamp some of their policies when it comes to working overtime. Though many developers have since then leapt to the company's defense, Rockstar felt it was time for a change.
According to a recent report from Kotaku, Rockstar Lincoln, a UK-based studio, is slashing their policy of mandatory overtime, and instead making it completely voluntary in light of many feeling "forced" by company crunch time.
Head of Publishing Jenn Kolbe told the site, “Through the conversations we’ve been having it is clear to us that the requested scheduled overtime felt like an obligation to some, if not many, of the team. We therefore spoke to them to make sure it is clear that the OT is not mandatory.”
A QA tester for the company also opened up about the studio over on Reddit, ending his long-winded post on a more definitive note:
"[Overtime] has changed for us now as of next week. We had a big meeting today where it was announced that all overtime going forward will be entirely optional, so if we want to work the extra hours and earn the extra money (As well as make yourself look better for progression) then we can do, but there is no longer a rule making us do it. This is huge for us here in Lincoln as many of us haven't been able to take full weekends without paying for it in a long time and it's a giant step forward in making crunch less of a hell to deal with."
He also mentioned, “This is huge for us here in Lincoln as many of us haven’t been able to take full weekends without paying for it in a long time and it’s a giant step forward in making crunch less of a hell to deal with.”
The Reddit thread was enlightening, showing that on average he worked a 56-hour workweek with mandatory overtime. It was "expected of us," he wrote, while also discussing how it was not uncommon to work through lunch breaks in the name of crunch - though he did mention that was by the employee's choice.
Still need to catch up on all of the controversy? You can get back up to speed 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. You can also see the positive things devs had to say about Rockstar when the studio lifted its social media ban earlier this week.