Update: Rockstar Games has issued a statement clarifying the comments about 100-hour work weeks. That statement can be seen here with the original article found below.
Rockstar Games co-founder Dan Houser spoke to Vulture in a lengthy interview that addressed various topics surrounding Red Dead Redemption 2 and how the game was made. Amid details about the game’s story length and how Rockstar handles working with celebrities to voice characters in the game, Houser also said that 100-hour work weeks occurred more than once when the developers were working on the game.
“We were working 100-hour weeks” Houser told Vulture in the interview.
The statement was most likely said with the intent being to showcase how hard the team has worked on the game, but the timing of the revelation coinciding with past discussions about crunch culture within game developers raised some eyebrows. The amount of work put into the game seems evident with Houser listing off impressive stats related to the game’s story length, plentiful animations and dialogue, and other features, but the 100-hour work week detail nonetheless made headlines as another example of what some developers and employees go through to finish games and get them out on time.
Houser made other comments within the article discussing how much the team had put into the game with the co-founder saying “we’ve poured everything we have” into Red Dead Redemption 2. Looking back at past projects that Rockstar Games has worked on, the Grand Theft Auto series being its most notable series alongside the Red Dead games, Houser said that “this was the hardest” when referring to the work put into the upcoming game.
This statement has once again brought up discussions within the community of crunch culture in game development. While those interested in the game picked out parts of Vulture’s article to discuss, some pointed out the detail about the work week. Others asked whether players would still support the game and the developers had they known about this detail prior to pre-ordering the game which led to further discussions about the prevalence of crunch culture within game development.
Other companies such as Naughty Dog have had criticism brought up in the past about their work culture. Another Rockstar Games incident took place around the production of the first Red Dead Redemption that dealt with extensive work weeks.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is scheduled to be released on October 26th.