More revelations about the crunch culture of video game development
Rockstar’s interview with Vulture over their upcoming magnum opus Red Dead Redemption 2 is making a lot of headlines today. Many mind-blowing statistics have been disclosed in the interview with Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser, including a file size of around 100GB, a story campaign of around 65 hours, and some 500,000 lines of dialogue. An epic effort indeed.
One statistic came out during the interview, however, that has raised a lot eyebrows. This was the the revelation that the team at Rockstar was faced with the “hardest” of all Rockstar projects to date, pushing them into “100-hour weeks”. Although obviously stated with the intention of promoting the effort and drive of the talented men and women who have made Red Dead Redemption 2 a reality, it has raised alarm bells among the community and critics as yet another example of the increasingly strenuous working decisions put on developers in the gaming industry.
This soundbite comes at a time when several major publishers have previously been under-fire for mismanagement leading to difficult, long and tiring working conditions. This obviously risks incredible strain on employees, in an industry where “crunching” in order to meet tight deadlines, publisher demands, and fan expectations is starting to be revealed as a worrying and accepted norm.