Ex-Rockstar employee talks about abusive working conditions.
In the face of Dan Houser’s statement that the Red Dead Redemption 2 team is working 100 hours a week to finalize the game, some former Rockstar Games employees have spoken out publicly about the company’s philosophies. Among them is Job J Stauffer, who said on Twitter that this was one of the most traumatic experiences of his life.
In addition to joining Rockstar, Stauffer joined Telltale Games (another company with problematic practices) before becoming the co-founder of Orpheus Self-Care. He was part of the team responsible for Grand Theft Auto IV, a game that started the company’s list of releases for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 generation.
It’s been nearly a decade since I parted from Rockstar, but I can assure you that during GTA IV it was, it was like working with a gun to your head 7 days a week. “Be here Saturday & Sunday too, just in case Sam or Dan come in, they want to see everyone working as hard as them.” https://t.co/TaQS5LnaAa
– Job J Stauffer (@jobjstauffer) October 16, 2018
“It’s been almost a decade since I left Rockstrar, but I can guarantee that, in the era of GTA IV, it was like working with a gun pointed at your head 7 days a week. ‘Be here on Saturday and Sunday too, just in case Sam or Dan come by; they want to see everyone working as hard as they do, ”” said Stauffer in response to Kotaku journalist Jason Schreier.
According to Stauffer, the situation reached absurd levels: in one case, he was punished for having published the photo of the drugs he was taking to fight a flu that required a day’s leave. Who also spoke about the company was screenwriter Aaron Sterwart-Ahn, who claimed to have worked on films and games that required more than 100 hours of dedication a week, but who did not resist Rockstar practices for more than a few months.
I’ve worked in the film & games industries. Speaking only for myself; there have been times where I worked 100 hours in a week happily & proudly.
Rockstar, I quit after only a few months. https://t.co/qmSzN8Zm2k
– Aaron Stewart-Ahn (@somebadideas) October 15, 2018
In defense of the developer, one of its directors, Dan Houser, said that the extended period of work extends only to him and a restricted group of senior employees. According to him, all employees can work more than what is provided for in the contract, but this is something strictly optional.