Red Dead Redemption studio cuts headcount

Rockstar confirms staff reductions at its San Diego shop following release of quintuple-platinum Western, cites realignment of resources.


Red Dead Redemption

Rockstar San Diego scored a substantial hit with Red Dead Redemption, garnering rapt critical praise and selling some 5 million units worldwide within a month of its May 18 debut. In the US alone, the action adventure Western shifted 945,900 units on the Xbox 360 at retail during its first month on store shelves, with the PlayStation 3 edition selling an additional 567,100 copies. However, strong sales and positive reviews haven't saved the studio from layoffs.

Red Dead Redemption vets have ridden off into the sunset.
Red Dead Redemption vets have ridden off into the sunset.

Rockstar has confirmed for GameSpot that it has enacted a round of layoffs at its San Diego studio following the launch of Red Dead Redemption. According to the Take-Two subsidiary, the layoffs were a result of the studio wrapping development on its latest blockbuster game.

"As is typical with game development, our team sizes have always fluctuated over the course of the development cycle," Rockstar San Diego studio manager Steve Martin said in a statement. "As Rockstar San Diego transitions from the launch of Red Dead Redemption onto future projects, we are realigning our resources in order to continue to develop games as effectively as possible."

"We are ensuring that all employees who are affected by these changes are being treated with care," Martin continued. "While we have no announcements to make regarding a sequel to Red Dead Redemption, the team here are hard at work on the development of downloadable content for the game."

Rockstar did not indicate how many employees were affected by the layoffs. However, it is not the only Take-Two-owned studio to experience downsizing in recent weeks. Earlier this month, the publisher trimmed about 20 positions from Civilization V developer Firaxis, also in an effort to "realign its development resources."

The Rockstar San Diego layoffs also follow on from reports of oppressive working conditions at the studio. In January, someone claiming to be the spouse of a Rockstar San Diego employee accused the shop of a number of quality-of-life offenses, including forcing its employees to work extended hours at least six days a week. This touched off a flurry of rumors that the Midnight Club racing series had been canceled.

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