Ever wondered what it takes to get a game like Red Dead Redemption 2 finished? According to Rockstar Games co-founder Dan Houser, it’s a lot of hard work. The company, infamous for its extended periods of crunch, was working “100 hour weeks” multiple times in 2018 in order to get the Spaghetti Western out of the door. That averages out at about 14 hours per day, seven days a week.
Of course, the finished game includes 300,000 animations, 500,000 lines of dialogue, and a script that if piled up would stand an estimated eight feet tall. The firm also recruited 1,200 actors, spending over 2,200 days in a motion capture booth to film everything. In essence, projects simply don’t get much bigger and more complicated than this.
But back when Red Dead Redemption was published in 2010, the company came underfire after a letter signed by the spouses of Rockstar San Diego’s employees was published online. “The working conditions persist to deteriorate as employees are manipulated by certain hands that wield the reins of power,” the letter said. We'd like to think that things have changed, but stories like this don't give us much hope.
Update: Rockstar has clarified that only a small number of employees worked 100-hour weeks in order to get Red Dead Redemption 2 finished, and that it was their choice.