Red Dead Redemption on track, Rockstar 'saddened' by working-condition claims

Developer-publisher says its open-world Western will indeed mosey onto PS3, 360 April 27; responds to "Rockstar Spouse" accusations of discontent at its San Diego, Vancouver studios.

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.

According to Rockstar, Red Dead Redemption will ride into PS3-ville and 360-town on April 27, as scheduled.

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."

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61 comments
im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

@EasyToTalkToIty I know this post comes months after your comment but I think it's a bit unfair to say that these workers should buck up just because the working conditions in Haiti suck. Come on man 12 hour days mon-sat and NOT being paid for it? This is the very reason why we DO live in America, or other parts of the world where you get paid for a job well done. But keep this in mind, I always hated it when I failed to finish my food at the dinner table and my parents would say something to the effect of "Eat your dinner son, there's starving kids in Africa". So what?!? Just because there are starving people out there in the world it's not going to negate the fact that I'm still full and don't want to eat anymore!!

BoaMo121
BoaMo121

well that april 27th release was bs

Liam_Eibach
Liam_Eibach

They can't scrap the Midnight Club series!! I'm sure I will love Red Dead Redemption more then my girl friend but you can't get rid of such a kick a$$ racer like that. It better be lies...all of it!!! Just sayin....

ricardo-sene
ricardo-sene

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

EasyToTalkToIty
EasyToTalkToIty

@geoff-uk123: Maybe I didnt express myself clearly enoug. I am very aware that people in Haiti have real problems in their lives and that's precisely my point, if someone is decrying the working conditions at Rockstar, maybe they should go get a job in Haiti and realize what bad working conditions are.

LosDaddie
LosDaddie

Hopefully this gets resolved soon

Petch1984
Petch1984

yeah. I would rather have a small compact living breathing world (like Shenmue i guess) than a huge soulless one. But these smaller worlds don't sound as good on the back of the box and the makers cannot release their epic landscape trailers...

mmidnigh
mmidnigh

@Petch1984 Couldn't agree more, chum. Although I had a lot of fun with the game, I was disappointed with the overall lack of variety in the mission styles. I grows tired after picking your third pocket or eavesdropping on the same two d-bags over and over...

Petch1984
Petch1984

I hope this game is good and not barren like most huge open world games. Assassins Creed 1 being the biggest culprit - such an awesome premise but so little to do other than collect pointless flags etc. Also lets hope the shooting is closer to the first game or Max Panye and not GTA.

aldrenar47
aldrenar47

I wish there was a sequel to GUN too. It was better than the original Red Dead Revolver and was open-world like this is supposed to be. It was kind of like a mix of GTA and Zelda, set in the old West. If you missed it I recommend checking it out.

geoff-uk123
geoff-uk123

@EasyToTalkToIty: People in Haiti have tragically died from earthquakes if you weren't aware.

mclakers
mclakers

Well, as long as the RDR comes out on time i dont care

Barighm
Barighm

Politic speak for "yes, we do overwork our employees". I say when the next generation leads to technology that can create good looking games with just a few people, developers dump the work like a dog model and just focus on games that look good enough. They will probably be much more stable anyway and run silky smooth. Extremely good graphics are overrated, it's just too bad the vast majority of gamers must have the best of the best at all times, thus leading to developers with 100 hour work weeks.

lokean_bent
lokean_bent

Funny. This bull#$% PR response just seems to confirm what I thought when I saw those wall papers they made in response the the "eye of sauron" comment. The management is petty, unprofessional and will run their employees into the ground for a few more bucks.

rarson
rarson

Actually, Rockstar handled it wrong. Jeff Williams was right in his blog about Rockstar PR (you can find it on the internet archive if you're interested in hearing a firsthand account from a former Rockstar employee): Rockstar shouldn't have said ANYTHING. That's how they used to do it, and the heat eventually dissipates. But by putting out a statement, Rockstar is acknowledging it and keeping us talking about it. From a PR standpoint, they shouldn't have said anything. From a sensible business model standpoint, they have serious ongoing internal issues that need to be addressed whether they publicly acknowledge them or not.

scottxfree
scottxfree

that's so bunk. rockstar handled it so well. props rockstar.

twztid13
twztid13

a company doesn't need to get in a tit-for-tat argument w/ an anonymous forum poster. that would give too much validity to their claims. R* PR did what they were supposed to do.

ZedX-14Pilot
ZedX-14Pilot

@alrector81 I couldn't have said it any better myself. Two whole paragraphs, and not ONCE did they speak to the problem. I hope RDR is great. I also hope the reports are false, but, those of us in the real world know they probably are not. Shame on R*!

chrizzie
chrizzie

There are always problems and tensions in enviroments like this. The big question, however, is if R* have everything under control. i.o.w. are they solving these problems or not ?

TommyCasual
TommyCasual

As long as the game kicks some serious butt, my selfish nature will be satisfied.

rarson
rarson

Rockstar Studios has had employee complaints since GTA 3. It doesn't surprise me to hear that the people in charge are apparently still running the business in their typical fashion to the detriment of both their employees and the products they produce. I honestly don't understand how the company keeps attracting talented developers. Devs need to stop flocking to Rockstar to get their feet in the door (I'm sure there's a steady supply of open positions). It would be easy to write off as hearsay if it weren't the same complaints, over and over again, by so many different current and former employees.

guertt
guertt

that must be the guy who's doing the chicken animation instead of the cute buffalo. lol

cid_007
cid_007

All rhetoric, no substance.

Miroku_of_Nite1
Miroku_of_Nite1

It's kind of a odd response on Rockstar's part. But the recent stories could be spawned by Electronic Arts as a FUD or Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt campaign to lower stock prices on Take-Two Interactive. AKA the people who produce Rockstar's games. Remember back in 2008, EA tried to buy out Take-Two.

TheGreyArea
TheGreyArea

RDR is up there with Bioshock2 and ME2 as my most aniticipated this year. REALLY looking forward to this game ... even if it's production has reportedly been a little... err... dodgy

nicklech16
nicklech16

this is simply a ridiculous discussion. In a company as big a Rockstar there will alsways be someone who isn't perfectly fulfilled with what he's doing. To make such a big deal out of it is just absurd. Rockstar makes fantastic games and I'm pretty sure they can only be a product of great teamwork!

EasyToTalkToIty
EasyToTalkToIty

@someone. if you don't like working at Rockstar, go get a job somewhere else... maybe in Haiti, you whiny rat!!!

alrector81
alrector81

That 2 paragraph rant has a lot of words, but doesn't say much. It also dodges any answer to the complaints that were made. Typical PR speak leading the subject away from where they don't want it. That said, I hope things are eventually settled between everyone, and I'm really looking forward to Red Dead Redemption!!!

hoossy1
hoossy1

Anyone who says that working at a video game company is a dream job... might just be dreaming. Sure if your single nerd who would probably be up at night gaming anyways... might as well make money while doing it, right? but other guys have families. Case in Point, I live 2 blocks from Blizzard, and know several people who work there. Many are young and single, and that works out fine. But another guy has a wife and two children, and he loves working there, but its hard on everyone having to work till almost midnight sometimes. I sure he would rather be spending that time with them....

SDBusDriver1979
SDBusDriver1979

@ supernaught360 I'm a idiot and got my games mixed up.

telefanatic
telefanatic

Man why the hell would they scrap Midnight Club Series ? One of my favorites, but anyways Red Dead Redemption is one of my highly anticipated games this year so i hope it does not get pushed back i would love to get my hands on this game in April.

berio2toru
berio2toru

Can't wait for thsi game to come out. R* is a company employing hundreds of people, it can't meet all us minion's happiness and it shouldn't. If you are employed by a games company you should be extremely happy and blessed. If you HAVE a job you shouldn't complain and you should know you are blessed. Like others below its some whinny person who got fired. Also what do you expect, you work in the cultural industry. You are GOING to work long hours. Its not a normal office job. Due to time factors I'm going to say Cultural industries rank high up on stress levels, up there with Stock traders (booo hisss) and PM's for BIG construction jobs. Basically all three have time as a major issue and ALOT of money riding on their backs. So if you can't dig it, don't get in.

supernaught360
supernaught360

@ SDBusDriver1979 Where did you read about the games rough state?? I'd like to check that out.

supernaught360
supernaught360

@bonds09 Spoken like a true unemployed person - our employees in the U.S. work more hours than any other country, and if a company can't meet the bottom line with time-sensitive (like most jobs) products, they've either laid off too many employees to function efficiently, or they are simply mismanaged. My brother-in-law works at a place that has mandatory overtime on weekends (with no lunch breaks on weekends I might add. company: Appleseed), and he hasn't had a day off in over 4 months - we aren't designed to function that way, and if we can't enjoy the fruits of our labors, those labors tend to become fruitless, get it? Our Government seems awful keen on micromanaging businesses these days - maybe they ought to think about some laws protecting employees from abusive/intrusive management. At our local Gamestop btw, the employees actually have to "frisk" each other before closing time, they aren't allowed to die their hair bright colors - two of their females have to wear wigs. IT'S A VIDEOGAME STORE. Many of the games portray expressive, colorful attire for crying out loud.

Doolz2024
Doolz2024

Good to hear that the game is still on track to release. I'll be picking it up for my 360 April 27th :D

SDBusDriver1979
SDBusDriver1979

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

Noformation
Noformation

working at rockstar would be a dream job, it was prolly a disgruntled ex-employee who got fired.

Agent_Smith343
Agent_Smith343

Did anyone notice that even though that was two paragraphs, he didn't really address the situation? Way to speak five hundred words and not say anything lol

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

Yeahh, R* makes great games, and employees are always gonna find something to complain about, but abusing power happens alot in upper management. Hope it all works out.

jjarvis92
jjarvis92

waiting for the user reviews before i purchase RDR. as to workplace abuse... it happens everywhere and to deny that is simply ignorance. i hope rockstar can improve it's image internally if it's truely an issue.

PSdual_wielder
PSdual_wielder

Being a 900+ employees company, there's obviously going to be someone not content with what they're doing. I'm sure that's not representative of the entire company, seeing their current status and position in the industry.