Anything you say on the internet can and will be taken the wrong way. As far as Rockstar games are concerned, this week has been no different.
The big stink that came about early this week was regarding some news that Rockstar employees have been working 100 hours a week in order to finish Red Dead Redemption 2. As is always the case here on the world wide web, everyone immediately lost their minds over a small quote mentioned by New York Magazine about the making of Rockstar’s ambitious cowboy game.
My first thought was “Christ almighty, I couldn’t even imagine working a 100 hour week”. In my current employment, I get paid for 37.5 hours per week, as do a lot of people in the UK. That’s 09:00-17:00, Monday to Friday. Occasionally, I might get a 50-hour week when things are busy, but I could never, ever envisage working double that. Just to put some perspective into this, 100 hours a week equates to an astonishing 14-hour working day, seven days a week with no days off.
As such, the very thought of working 100 hours a week seems preposterous in my mind, and is purely an exaggeration on the Rockstar founder’s part. If you tell someone you’re doing a 100-hour week, it wouldn’t be a cry for help, it’s to force across the point that you’ve been busting your balls, working really hard to make sure you finish a project and finish well.
Having said all this, it actually turned out that Dan Houser wasn’t kidding.
The aftermath of this interview, and the negativity that this extreme statistic has causes has actually prompted a rare response from Houser, published by Kotaku. In it, Houser claims he was speaking solely about four people, and that any “additional effort” for other staff members was a choice.
Here’s the full quote:
“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 organised and ready on this project, we needed this to check and finalise 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.”
So there it is, apparently a 100-hour working week is a real thing, but only for a select few that are willing. Fair play to the writing team, and to anyone else out there in the real world that can do it, I’d run out of motivation long before I ran out of my much-needed coffee.
Still, the carnage that has ensued across social media seems unnecessary. Of course, working 100-hour weeks is not right in any way, shape or form, but do you really care if they actually finish the game to a decent standard?
I’d wager that you don’t.
I’ll be honest, I’ll probably rack up over 100-hours playtime in my first week of Red Dead Redemption 2 anyway.
Roll on Friday 26th October!