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.
I hope the people inevitably outraged by this will not go on to complain about how long it's taken for the game to come out or a texture being out of place.
how can you even concentrate for 14 hours a day?
by the way: the game is now available for pre-load on xbox one and comes in at 88.6 GB. the SEA PSN stores list 105 GB as minimum.
@get2sammyb Not really a 'Spaghetti Western'; that's a film industry term coined for the plethora of Westerns produced in Italy.
I'm sure there are tons of Italian descendants working at Rockstar... but still.
@KALofKRYPTON It's heavily inspired by them, though.
What a coincidence - that's what I'm planning to spend playing it
Whether that means that individuals worked 100hr weeks or the studio was open for a 100hrs a week is a different matter. It could be that 2 or 3 teams, working in shifts worked 100 hours a week to get the game finished rather than ALL the individuals were expected to turn up for 14hrs a day, every day.
I am sure that some did overtime but I doubt that people would work for 100hrs for weeks on end - especially to maintain consistency and excellence.
@BAMozzy yeah that makes more sense. It's still an insane workload required to make something like this though
@get2sammyb Can we complain about the game being way to addictive, time consuming and our life being meaningless away from it? It happened to me with BotW and XC2 on Switch.
I really home this isn't about employees working 100 hour weeks but more the studio directors or opened office hours.
@BAMozzy Yeah I'm with you on this one. Having a full team work 14 hours a day 7 days a week is counter-productive, and most likely not the case.
I get the feeling the spouse letter won't be a thing this time around, as I'm sure anyone attached to this project is willing to sacrifice their time and personal life to have RDR2 work on their resume.
" a script that if piled up would stand an estimated eight feet tall"
Complete BS. Who is making these claims and why bother? Does it play well? Thats what counts.
@Nifty well performance is crucial but that claim about the script is also important,since people love rockstar games for the stories they tell aswell.
a huge script like this could imply that we might have a story masterpiece again aswell. now if that script realy is that big remains to be proven ofcourse.
100 HR weeks or your fired
Bad working conditions, not exactly something to write home about. Wouldn't have cared if they'd delay the game even more but have their crew happy. It's not like we're running out of good games anytime soon.
I knew people who worked in the localisation QA teams for Red Dead Redemption based in the UK and they were actually taking shifts to sleep in at the office so they could test, sleep and so on.
Boasting 100 hours isn't a good thing. I'd rather a late game then devs missing their kids.
Yeah, not sure how I feel about this. Like Sammy says, we can’t have our cake and eat it too. We can’t complain about long development times and also about overworked development teams. I suppose one could make the argument that Rockstar needs to hire more employees. I have a feeling they have plenty of money for the added payroll.
Holy frijoles, hombres!
That doesn't sound healthy.
Absolute scumbags if they allowed that to happen. I get the odd overtime day to finish something, but 100 hour weeks should be outright illegal. And if there's truly no other way to make a game like this, then don't make it. Make something you can make under normal working hours. It's a freaking video game in the end, not the cure for cancer.
Maybe they should have delayed it and not worked absurd hours.
100 hour work weeks really shouldn't be necessary for anyone.
@Neolit It's a difficult one because obviously this kind of work schedule is not healthy, but I also can accept and appreciate that the game simply doesn't exist at all without enormous sacrifice.
I don't have the answer. All I know is that in order to be the best you have to be borderline obsessed; I don't know what the culture at Rockstar is like, but I can imagine the team there want to make the best game ever made, and in order to do that I think they probably recognise they have to go the extra mile.
It's a really tricky one that I don't have any of the answers to.
@Neolit In that case you should know better. I've done my share of long hour weeks, in jobs that I fully well enjoyed, but there's no job in the world that's worth not seeing your family for 5 days a week.
After I graduate, I really hope working conditions are a bit more human. Then again, I love what I do and would be more than prepared to make sacrifices.
@Neolit But i dont want the game i rather buy other games. I think nobody believes these things go without sacrifice as long as is stays within reason. The stuff you heard at The Witcher 3 developer isnt the stuff i want to accept just as the Walking Dead developer.
@KALofKRYPTON. but i was eating spaghetti when i was watching this western movie with clint Eastwood.word up son
I'll very much appreciate the game. Thanks Rockstar.
@playstation1995 Eastwood was in plenty of Spaghetti Westerns.
working is good and all.but working without having days off is ridiculous.7 days a week hells nah dog.i will need times of at least 3 days in a week.ineed time to spend with my family .friends.and my girlfriend.and time for myself also.word up son
@KALofKRYPTON good.bad and the ugly.amazing movie.word up son
100 hours? Sod that I will stick to my 80 hours a month. Gives you time to write the odd comme
That gives some perspective about the whining inevitably following the announcement of a delay. Or the way people insult devs because they feel they 'deserve' better as gamers.
I wish "crunch" would go away. It has no place in this industry anymore, developers should work hard but not to the point where the amount of overtime they do means they have little to no life outside the studio.
@Neolit No and I work in Software and we have crunches, to a certain extent. I've slept at work to get something live the next day. However, the difference is the timing - we all do crunches. We all push ourselves the more when something massive needs doing and that is fine and can produce good results. However, Game devs aren't crunching for like a week or two, it is months and months and months on end which means it isn't the exception but the rule. There isn't a magic wand however there are alternatives, increased budget, increased headcount, descoped features etc. To not do that means that the scope or the timeline has expanded beyond the budget. Now I don't know how they organise their crunch and the 100 hours are sprinkled but I have no doubt the average dev/designer/QAer etc. has born the brunt of this.
Some developers don't do crunch and still release games.
@Neolit Surely if that were the case we would have zero workers rights, no time off at all and trousers that zapped you every time that you spent too long in the bogs?
And I complain about my 60 hour work weeks lol
@jdv95 Saying it's a 60+ hour story is fine. It's in context to people's lives. Saying it 8 foot high of paper is pointless. Is it A4, double spaced, using 30 point font? I like R* but its a stupid metric to use.
@Rudy_Manchego @Neolit And I don’t all the about the business side, but somehow I doubt RDR2 or the next GTA’s profits would be hurt that much if they hired some more people or something to compensate. They might make 1.8B instead of 2B. (I’m just throwing numbers out there) Crunches like this shouldn’t be happening regularly.
"a script that if piled up would stand an estimated eight feet tall"
Stats like this are total bollocks. I mean how big's the paper? The font? The print? Is it hand written?
Halve the size of the paper it's written on and the stat becomes even more impressive at 16 feet...
EDIT - Sorry @Nifty hadn't seen your post when I added mine!
This kind of disgusts me if i'm being honest.
@Neolit Yes, but it shouldn’t happen because other employees are often working 100 hour work weeks. I know it’s a lot of money, but more staff so they don’t have to often work 100 hour work weeks would be better. They’re being taken advantage if it’s often for everyone is what I’m saying.
It's a disgrace. 100 hour weeks can't be good for the mental well-being for those involved.
Not a nice thing to hear about, ... but I'm still gonna buy and enjoy the game, can't worry about everyone's life decisions.
I hope this runs decently on that base PS4. Not gonna lie this game looks like it could be kinda cool.
It's OK for senior staff to work 100+ hours a week sometimes. If you are passionate about your project/business, if you are responsible for it 24/7, if you can authorise extended working hours for yourself. And do not forget, some jobs are not physical only or brainwork only. You can have your lunch breaks, business lunches, meetings, travels etc and it is all included in your working hours.
Respect to those who worked that hard on busy weeks. I would do it as well. And did something close to that hours when needed.
All those who are desgusted with it, did not have responsibility for a project and will not understand and will see it only from the point of hourly paid worker. Sorry.
This is nice and all but I really want to hear more about those horse testicles. Was that part of the 100 hour days? How much effort went into them? I really have to know.
Apparently he clarified he was talking about the writing team, 4 people and who are used to working this way. Im not surprised the press jumps the gun on some misinformation.
The dead is done though (admitedly bad pr too) and people will now go for what they want to hear rather than facts
100 hour work weeks? Maybe one week like the last week to finish the game.
No matter how one attempts to justify long work hours they are wrong. Long work hours is unhealthy and maybe dangerous to themselves and others.
There is also productivity which declines. There is a reason why doing something feels more easy and with less mistakes when rested and more difficult with more mistakes when tired. Tired whether realized or not.
I once left a 70 hour a week job for much less money, less hours, and regular days off. I chose having my health and a life over more money.
Im out for this game because they've forced multiplayer trophy for the platinum. I'l wait for it to be £10 in the store before i buy this game.
Not spending £50 on a game this long, having to spend 600 hours just to get 5 multiplayer trophies and then do the main story trophies as well I havent got that time for it. So they've lost my money.
Force multiplayer trophies mean forcing pay to win because I know how these company's minds work because they get this shady practices from EA it destroying the gaming industry with corrupt
When I was an hourly Subcontractor Manager on a construction project (over $1 Billion), I put in these types of hours because anything past 40 hours was 1.5x my wage. Weekends were 2x. It's a lot of work, and yes, you build up a huge gaming backlog...but making triple figures kinda makes it worth it.
Fun and relaxation is key
Some people saying it's not healthy to work two weeks of 100 hours in a 6 years for a team of four creative writers.
I would say - it's not healthy to be a lazy fat couch potato over 100 hours a week, and those are in majority. So cry about them, not about passionate creative writers. By the way, many of classic writers were sleeping only 4-5 hours a day, and all the rest of the day they were working.
@JJ2 Yeah I noticed, pushsquare was quick to post the update
It's not surprising though, the gaming press always condemns before the facts are known, ... and sometimes even when the facts are there [when they couldn't be bothered doing the research].
It did seem strange to me, because it almost sounded as if Rockstar was bragging about the 100 hours, which makes sense if you have staff who are dedicated and passionate enough to put that many hours into the game: 'look how passionate our people are'.
Yea to be fair I'd blame the guy who did the interview and didn't try to figure what he meant.
Now sure we know there are bad practice in many studios and probably R, but this is just fake news going around as in 'they force people to work 100hr/w.
It sounds so huge that we'll have to work 100 hours a week to complete it.
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