Rockstar complaints get IGDA response

Industry group says it has reached out to Take-Two and studio employees to mediate alleged overworking of staffers.

Red Dead Redemption is expected to ship for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on April 27, and its launch will apparently come as a monumental relief to many of the employees at Rockstar San Diego. Last week, an anonymous person claiming to represent the "Determined Devoted Wives of Rockstar San Diego employees" leveled gross quality-of-life violations at the studio, alleging excessive mandatory overtime and time-off denials, among other exploitative practices.

John Marston would like to get out of Dodge.

Today, the Independent Game Developers Association responded to the claims made by the Rockstar San Diego spouse. In its note, the representative body stated that it has issued an open invitation to mediate any concerns between Take-Two management, studio heads, and employees over overtime practices.

"In any studio, the IGDA finds the practice of undisclosed and constant overtime to be deceptive, exploitative, and ultimately harmful not only to developers but to their final product and the industry as a whole," the IGDA said. "While our research shows that many studios have found ways to preserve quality of life for their employees, unhealthy practices are still far too common in our industry."

The IGDA went on to note that while "crunch" hours continue to be an issue within the industry, it is not the norm across game studios. Citing its 2009 Quality of Life Survey, the organization said that while more than half of developers desired more time off, the majority felt that their employers worked to avoid excessive overtime requirements.

"While crunch has always been a concern for the games industry, the IGDA concludes from its research that conditions in most workplaces are improving and, with diligence and an emphasis on increasing process efficiency, can continue to do so," the IGDA said.

Rockstar had not responded to requests for comment as of press time.

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Discussion

62 comments
TommyCasual
TommyCasual

In a selfish way, I'm REALLY going to be bummered if this game turns out to be less than stellar. It's time for a really cool western sandbox type game, and this seemed like just the thing. Dammit.

RitterXplode
RitterXplode

If we all buy their games, will it be a reward to the exploited employees, or to the exploiting employers? I don't know :/

P0T
P0T

This isn't looking too good for the new Red Dead Redemption game because the San Diego studio is working on that game. A developer working on Red Dead called the game a "disaster of epic proportions." Here is the full comment from Gamasutra. "The saddest part of the above is that Red Dead Redemption (the game the entire studio is working on) is an organic disaster of the most epic proportions. The pain just might be worth it for everyone if the work was world class and they could proudly place it on their resumes as they walk away from that mess. Sadly, it is anything but, and Bitter is correct mismanagement up and down the Rockstar chain is the direct cause. Red Dead Revolver 2: Dead On Arrival." Those are harsh words! Of course, reviews will tell the whole story but when one of the people making the game calls it a disaster of epic proportions, I get a little worried!

nobodylive
nobodylive

Dead Red Redemption? That is a funny typo.

jerryschust
jerryschust

Wow, right off the bat is the wrong game name. Wow.

Darkon_X
Darkon_X

You know it may seem like they're being overworked. But me, I'm only working about 20 hours a week and if I was doing 50+ hours for Rockstar games then I would take that as a blessing, sure it sucks having to work weekends and such but it's still worth it. Now I'm not saying they shouldn't listen to their employees, because in the end, happy employees make better products. So I hope everything is sorted out for the sake of R* and us; the gamers.

Barighm
Barighm

And lately I've heard of CEO's running around saying they need to crack down on developers missing their deadlines. One guy said "I understand more time may make the game a little better, but invenstors hate delays", so once again, it's all about share price, not game quality. I sure feel sorry for game developers in the near future.

tHeStanto
tHeStanto

This isn't the norm across studios? Pretty sure it is. If you don't work your 11 hour shifts, including weekends for Ubisoft you get pulled in for questioning and asked why you're not "pulling together" for "comradery" with the team. While all they offer you is snack junk food and takeaway to eat while you're there. Fail.

VegetaMaelstrom
VegetaMaelstrom

Crunch time used to be the last couple of months to polish and bug test games before their shipping date but lately it seems as if predatory publishers are planning out games with the whole development cycle under the same conditions as crunch time. If this junk keeps up then something has got to give, either the release date or the game's quality.

cornellcobain
cornellcobain

@ElvesOnEcstacy true I just meant it in a joking kind of way which clearly no one got. At least they are making the game a high priority and putting time into it, but they shouldn't be making these people work like dogs because like you said their work will suffer if they can't have off.

Normaral85
Normaral85

Good thing for the IGDA, because overworked people create crap. Try studying all night then going straight to class and taking the test, cause even though you went over all the material twice it just doesn't stick and you can't function properly without downtime.

big_and_dumb
big_and_dumb

In this time of the year when job offers just dry up, and the state of the economy as a whole, do you really think its wise to just quit? Get real. When there is a problem in the workplace, the sensible thing is to get it mended. There are labor laws for a reason, and I wouldn't be surprised if Rockstar might be culpable. Working extreme hours to get a product out the door is just like the article said: bad for the product, and bad for the industry. Workplace abuse is not okay. And quitting would only make a new problem.

adam0818
adam0818

if they dont like it they should quit, there is a lot of people without a job willing to work those hours without any complain.

Darkwiz45
Darkwiz45

MaxCadillac, you speak a lot of truth. I was killing myself at one company, working 15 to 16 hour days on this project for a few months. Afterwards, the game was canceled and I got laid off. One of my friends is working on this game and he told me that he's working lots of overtime. Honestly, I'm glad this article is on here, because people need to know about the abuse some of us receive just so we can have title under our belt.

Quietpower09
Quietpower09

Rockstar Games workers are killing themselves just to make games for us? Damn I'm going to appreciate each game they release this year, good nor bad.

im-a-roustabout
im-a-roustabout

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

MaxCadillac
MaxCadillac

Working in the games biz is hard work with no compensation to speak of. The only cool part was saying you worked in the games industry. Doesn't pay the bills though.

MrPilgrim
MrPilgrim

i dont know the inner workings of the game industry but these people should get more than time and a half for overtime, they should get a percentage of the profits as commission for working such long hours for extended periods of time, thats what i would do if these people busted their butts to make me millions

pslieber
pslieber

Knowing the industry on a fairly decent level, nutter dev schedules around release points are the norm, not the exception. They also tend to work non-trad hours to get these done. Thus, my gut tells me the complaints stem more from perception on not being compensated/rewarded appropriately for efforts resulting in tens of millions of profit dollars for their employer. This we'll never know without a detailed breakdown of company financials vs. employee compensation norms. Being pragamatic, few families would complain if their loved ones were being appropriately compensated for their extensive contributions.

dark_surge
dark_surge

@Incredible_Bulk: Ah, that makes more sense. Thank you for clearing that up :). In that case though, it seems the families are being a bit ungrateful or selfish in a way. I remember when i was a kid my dad used to work for the oil fields. He'd work 12-16+ hour shifts in the summertime. My family and I missed him, but we were thankful that he was willing to work such long and hard hours just to support us. And it was all the better to see him when he came back after a long day. I do hope they get some time off between projects though as you said as a "thank you" for their hard work.

flyingteddy
flyingteddy

I'm sure making computer games in the 8-bit days was fun and developers could really show off and experiment but now it's a full blown industry and its now run/owned by people who probably have little interest in games themselves, they just want to make a profit, so who suffers, the people on the front line as usual. It's a well known fact that game developers work long hours for relatively low pay, it needs to be sorted out.

Chico_Azteca
Chico_Azteca

they are humans, not machines they are right to complain here

Incredible_Bulk
Incredible_Bulk

@dark_surge I think most of the complaints are coming from the families of the developers not the devs themselves. Therefore, the complaints make more sense, in that, the families would rather see their loved ones than money in the account. Hopefully, these guys will get an extended break between projects, because it sounds like they deserve it. Especially if Red Dead Redmption is gonna turn out as awesome as it looks so far. I really liked Red Dead Revolver and GUN back in the day.

dark_surge
dark_surge

I'm not sure I'm getting this. Rockstar can't FORCE them to work overtime. But at the same time, they're getting 1 1/2-double pay, which for a developer is probably a nice deal of money. It's nothing new. So many developers mention "sorry" to their families in the credits for all the sleepless nights and being away from home. Not to mention it's common knowledge that being a designer is labor-intensive and usually requires long hours. Of course I feel bad for them if they're actually being worked to the bone, but I just can't see that happening in this day and age, where working full time is a chore for most.

Viralmessiah666
Viralmessiah666

Very true BLaZe462,overworked,pressured game designers get you Vampire the masquerade bloodlines. a game that could have been one of the best games in history,and ended up being rushed into being an unplayable buggy piece of crap

BLaZe462
BLaZe462

games are supposed to be fun; overworked employees do not create fun.

diabloakaSAHA
diabloakaSAHA

HAHAHAHA, who needs a break?? keep working boys. We need them games :P . lol j/k

buft
buft

sounds like the IGDA is looking for a little attention, i don't know one organisation like this that would normally respond to an unconfirmed internet blog

burtonboy05
burtonboy05

God this game looks good. I can safely say this a must have for me. I'm whistlening the tune to the good the bad and the ugly right now lol. How many hours extra are they working? Is it 2+ hrs a day possibly more? Given the GFC and it's impact I think they should be thankful they have a job in the current climate. When times are tough you need to make a few sacrifices and if that means working OT to maintain your job then that is what you need to do. I'm sure things will get better as the economy gains confidence. If conditions don't improve with the economy I'm sure they'll have other opportunities to join other developers. Don't screw RDR up though for the love of god.

TheEldestGod
TheEldestGod

Dead Red Redemption, eh? I think whoever wrote this article is the one who really needs a day off! As for the devs at Rock Star San Diego... Crack that whip! Put on some coffee, boys, Aprils a long ways away! Woohoo! :P

ImYourStalker
ImYourStalker

Now Tom do you need to file a complaint against gamespot for not allowing you to sleep thereby making you mix up the title of the games your talking about.

rynocerator
rynocerator

I understand where they're coming from, but man do I wish I had a job that gave me TOO MANY hours instead f not enough.

grasshopper6
grasshopper6

damn its like they're working under communist control or som.

tsep23
tsep23

Video game developers complaining about their jobs? Are you serious? It's one thing for someone to complain about their job in this economy. It's another thing for someone that makes video games to complain. Give me a break guys.

damaccj5
damaccj5

management needs to put more time in creating a strict schedule and making sure they stick to it so time can be used as best as possible. but i guess its easier said than done.

major_falcon
major_falcon

@ Wuflungdung That is the biggest assumption of crap I've ever heard. While physical labor is not considered "easy", your body releases endorphins and your constant movement and usage of muscles keeps the blood flowing and your body young. Now try staring at a computer screen with thousands of lines of code for 16 hours a day and tell me its "easier". No its not. Its more taxing on your physical and mental health than good physical labor. So don't assume what you don't know...

Wuflungdung
Wuflungdung

As someone that owns his own garden maintenance business and just worked 4 months straight with like 7 days off total in that 4 months working in a physical job and in the extreme heat that we had in australia, i have little sympathy for them, if they don't want to work the hours, don't sign the contract. I am sure they aren't gettin paid small salaries either. and now they have finished, they wouldn't be jumping straight into the next game anyway, im sure they will be resting for a fair while, while getting paid for it too...

xtremeflem2day
xtremeflem2day

If the workers are tired, then they might not be able to program this game as well as they could do. Let them rest please, so the time they spend working has more quality, as oppose to quantity.

rockatanski
rockatanski

A western GTA. Nothing could please me more ;) Go gamedevs. It's all worth it in the end and you know it!!

firesage423
firesage423

i want a true GTA game.. not that pretty stuff that was gta4(sold to buy saints row 2 which was worth it)..they go from cars, jets, helicopters, motorcycles, atvs,dun buggies, hovercrafts, a tank, jetpack, everything.. to gta 4 with cars and 2 helicopters.. they finally added some stuff in there expansions... thats what i want from rockstar, but this game looks good too..

StJimmy15
StJimmy15

Holy crap. I was gonna buy Red Dead in the first place, but after that movie I can hardly wait. These devs deserve a lot for making something this awesome.

Jak_Napier
Jak_Napier

looks to be a bit of a sticky situation here.