Rockstar Is Improving Conditions For Its Staff Following Criticism
Last year around the launch of Red Dead Redemption 2, Kotaku published a scathing report on the way Rockstar treated its staff. Months of crunch, forced overtime, and contract work were burning out employees and it didn't look like anything would change. In the year since the article, though, the studio has made some changes that make life better for those worst affected.
Sources at Rockstar have told Kotaku that workers at Rockstar Lincoln, the QA testing studio that plays through the company's games looking for bugs and exploits, are now being moved to full-time contracts. Previously, Lincoln employees worked on temporary contracts, that meant they worked from month to month with no idea if they would be employed next month. That constant pressure to get your contract renewed would also put pressure on people to work longer hours, to appear worth re-employing.
Staff also no longer need to keep their phones in their lockers and apparently Rockstar is also beginning to experiment with flexi-time.
Crunch has been a significant problem in the industry for years and for a long time it seemed like nothing would change. However, in the past year there have been a number of companies called out for their working practices, while other developers have openly explained that delays on projects are because they will no longer crunch to hit a deadline. It seems like now, at last, the industry is starting to change for the better.
While much of the game industry is not yet unionised, the formation of the Game Workers Unite and similar organisations are bringing these issues to the foreground. Another problem that is starting to gain attention is the manner in which game studios lay off staff after the release of a game. Again, this is something that has gone on for years, but it's taking a toll on game developers.
Rockstar didn't comment on the changes at its studios, potentially a sign it is not going to talk about improvements until they're all in place, and that means there are more to come.
Featured Image Credit: Take-Two Interactive