Rob Nelson, the co-head of Rockstar North, sat down with The Guardian to talk about the company’s day-to-day in response to the outcry that rose up following Rockstar founder Dan Houser’s 100-hour weeks comment last week.
The full story has some quotes from Nelson about the studio’s typical working hours that help paint a picture of what a week at Rockstar Games looks like. It’s worth noting that Rockstar has been making a significant effort to fight back against the claim that heavy crunch is the norm as of late.
The company lifted its social media policy recently and encouraged current employees to speak candidly about their time at the company, though its fair to point out that employees with more negative opinions might be reluctant to publicly share their thoughts.
To that end, the Guardian story offers a more empirical look at the hours game developers tend to work at Rockstar Games. The company provided the publication with employees’ self-reported hours spanning from January to September of this year.
According to those numbers, the average Rockstar developer works between 42.4 and 45.8 hours a week. Across the entire studio, the longest average workweek fell in early July at 50.1 hours. During that week, the Guardian says that 20 percent of employees recorded working at least 60 hours, with at least one employee working as many as 67.1 hours.
“Do people work hard and is there overtime and extra effort put in? Yes, there is. Is it something we want happening regularly for long periods of time or as an accepted part of our process or as a ‘badge of honor’ thing? No, it is not,” Nelson tells The Guardian. “We are always trying to improve how we are working and balance what we are making with how we make it and we will not stop working to improve in this area.”
Developers that spoke about their experiences at Rockstar Games say that crunch happens, but doesn’t approach that now infamous 100-hour mark, a comment Houser has since clarified to be about only he and 3 other senior writers toward the end of Red Dead Redemption 2’s development. More comments from those developers can be found here, while additional comments from Nelson can be found in the full Guardian story.