David Black is a 3rd year Computer Games Design student at UEL and would like to state that all the opinions stated are his own. But, he’s trying his best to keep things as factual as possible.
Red Dead Redemption 2 and Crunch
Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR2, for short) was released recently and, by all accounts from both players and critics, it’s nothing short of incredible. The attention to detail on display puts many of its competitors to shame, not to mention the world its developers have built and its story just waiting to be told. Even as I write this, I’m trying my hardest to ignore my desire to forget about things like ‘responsibilities’ and ‘budget’, and just waltz out and buy it so I experience what everyone else is blown away by. Reviews and watching my friends play will have to do for now.
Despite developer Rockstar Game’s achievement with RDR2, the game has a shadow looming over its head: the human cost. Not to say people were physically harmed during production of course! Rather, many people have been concerned about the time and effort that has gone into the game; coming up to release, there have been numerous statements by employees that they’ve gone through 100+ hour work weeks and extended periods of high pressure work, all to get the game ready for its assigned release date.
While high pressure working weeks aren’t exactly uncommon - as anyone working in the retail industry can tell you - what’s so shocking about this instance is the sheer length of time it went on for. In an official statement from Rockstar Game, they clarified the situation by stating that the 100+ hour work weeks only affected four members of the senior writing team, for three weeks of RDR2’s several years-long development time. However, more Rockstar employees have also spoken out about their own experiences of their time on the project and their view of this statement, voicing a general opinion that they worked in a high-stress ‘crunch-time culture’ for most of their involvement.
It appears that this situation has brought up a question in the mind of many people who are aware of the issue: would it be better to release a game at a later date if it means that the team working on it aren’t pushed to breaking point?