Rockstar says Red Dead Redemption 2 staff didn't really work 100-hour weeks

Rockstar says Red Dead Redemption 2 staff didn't really work 100-hour weeks

The chief of games development and publishing giant Rockstar Dan Houser has tried to clarify remarks made in an interview about the working hours on the upcoming Red Dead Redemption 2.

In a statement to Kotaku, the exec said that there had been some confusion around what he said in an interview with Vulture - a good and not completely condescending thing to say. Specifically, Houser said that staff had worked 100-hour weeks and 12-hour days finishing off the cowboy dicking around simulator.

Furthermore, the boss man said that staff were never pressured into working longer hours, likely a reference to the infamous Rockstar Spouses letter following 2010's Red Dead Redemption in which partners of employees at the company's San Diego studio blew the whistle on unhealthy working practices.

Houser says that those who work longer hours were simply "passionate about a project".

Yep, there it is.

"There seems to be some confusion arising from my interview with Harold Goldberg," Houser said.

"The point I was trying to make in the article was related to how the narrative and dialogue in the game was crafted, which was mostly what we talked about, not about the different processes of the wider team. After working on the game for seven years, the senior writing team, which consists of four people, Mike Unsworth, Rupert Humphries, Lazlow and myself, had, as we always do, three weeks of intense work when we wrapped everything up. Three weeks, not years. We have all worked together for at least 12 years now, and feel we need this to get everything finished. After so many years of getting things organized and ready on this project, we needed this to check and finalize everything.

"More importantly, we obviously don’t expect anyone else to work this way. Across the whole company, we have some senior people who work very hard purely because they’re passionate about a project, or their particular work, and we believe that passion shows in the games we release. But that additional effort is a choice, and we don’t ask or expect anyone to work anything like this. Lots of other senior people work in an entirely different way and are just as productive – I’m just not one of them! No one, senior or junior, is ever forced to work hard. I believe we go to great lengths to run a business that cares about its people, and to make the company a great place for them to work."

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.