Though not as damaging as the NBC/Conan O'Brien PR implosion, the "Rockstar Spouse" controversy has proved a major headache for Rockstar Games' public relations department. On January 7, someone emulating the class-action-lawsuit-inspiring "EA Spouse" letter posted a similar note decrying the working conditions at Rockstar San Diego. Soon, commenters claiming to have worked at the satellite studio piled on, saying its current project, Red Dead Redemption, had long been beset by problems and that its Midnight Club racing series had been scrapped.
The Rockstar Spouse accusations were quickly echoed by posters claiming to be working on Max Payne 3 at Rockstar Vancouver. Nonetheless, Rockstar's New York headquarters remained silent, even after the Independent Game Developers Association issued an open invitation to mediate any concerns between management and employees over overtime practices.
Today, Rockstar broke its silence on its official Web site. After strongly asserting that Red Dead Redemption is on track for its scheduled April 27 release on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, it offered the following thoughts on the controversy that Rockstar Spouse stirred up:
"Unfortunately, this is a case of people taking the opinions of a few anonymous posters on message boards as fact. No business is ever perfect, but Rockstar Games is a tight-knit team made up of around 900 supremely talented and motivated professionals, many of whom have worked here for a very long time. We're saddened if any former members of any studio did not find their time here enjoyable or creatively fulfilling and wish them well with finding an environment more suitable to their temperaments and needs, but the vast majority of our company is focused solely on delivering cutting-edge interactive entertainment. "
"We've always cared passionately about the people working here and have always tried to maintain a supportive creative environment. There is simply no way Rockstar could continue to produce such large-scale, high-quality games without this. That being said, making great games is very challenging, which is why we have and will continue to try to keep hold of some of the best talent in the industry and support them in every way we can."