Rockstar working “100-hour weeks” on Red Dead Redemption 2

Rockstar working “100-hour weeks” on Red Dead Redemption 2

on | OpenCritic

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Update 2:54 P.M. - Dan Houser has issued a statement in response to the commentary surrounding his quote. You can read it in full below. Original text follows.

Red Dead Redemption 2 might be Rockstar’s most ambitious game to date but getting it out the door is taking everything they’ve got. In an interview with Vulture, Dan Houser, co-founder of Rockstar Games, revealed that his team has been working “100-hour weeks” leading up to launch. And you thought your overtime was bad.

It’s not been without payoff, however. According to Rockstar, the game now boasts a 60 hour campaign, half a million lines of dialogue, 300,000 animations, and is one of the most highly anticipated games of the year. In fact, development started as far back as 2011 following the mid-2010 release of the original Red Dead Redemption. In that time, they’ve worked with over 1200 actors making them one of the biggest employers of actors in the state of New York.

As James over at notes, this isn’t the first time the practice of “crunch” has earned unwanted attention for the studio. In fact, the infamous Rockstar Spouse came to light around the launch of the first game, shining a spotlight on the human impact of such long hours. The company responded at the time, troublingly noting that making games at such a scale “would just not be possible” without crunch. Red Dead Redemption is slated for release on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on October 25th, 2018.

Update: Statement from Dan Houser:

There seems to be some confusion arising from my interview with Harold Goldberg. 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.

About the Authors

Christopher Coke Avatar Image
"Hailing from rural Western New York, Chris began his writing career focusing on MMORPGs on his personal site, Game By Night. He began covering games professionally in 2010 for the indie start-up Vagary.TV. In the Christmas season of 2012, he began his tenure at the PC-specific, Hooked Gamers. In March 2013, Chris began his first column, The Tourist, for, where he remains a regular contributor. In his time there, he spearheaded several columns covering MMOs and RPGs, single- and multiplayer. He has written numerous game reviews and branched out into hardware reviews, as well. Chris is also the host of the official podcast, Game On."