Rockstar San Diego forced staff to work 72 hour a week, but only paid them for 40, alleges a former artist.
A former Rockstar San Diego employee , calling himself Zero Dean, who worked on Red Dead Redemption as an environment artist, has blasted the studio in a blog post, which chronicled his “abuse,” “manipulation” and “deception” at the hands of the Rockstar management.
According to Game Informer, Dean’s dissatisfaction with Rockstar San Diego began almost immediately after he joined the company in 2007. He said that he felt estranged from the design process and that there wasn’t proper support for training or skill development.
It wasn’t until he’d been with the studio for over a year that the cracks really started to show, however. He said that the top brass at the studio started to panic about the amount of time and money Red Dead Redemption was taking. Because of this, working hours went from eight to twelve, and the working week stretched from five days to six. According to Dean, no one on a salary received any compensation for this extra time.
The final straw for Dean was when his manager took credit for his work and then tried to argue about who had created what. Dean said that he was upset with him for a while, but has since realized that the man actually did him a favor, prompting him to quit in 2009.
Dean later took down the post from his blog, claiming that people had been making erroneous conclusions to fit their story or reposting it without permission. In a statement to Eurogamer, he downplayed the idea that the kind of working environment he described was companywide. Different teams worked in different ways, he said, so it was possible that others had had a much better time than he had.
Of course, this isn’t the first time that Rockstar San Diego has been accused of less than kosher workplace practises. At the beginning of the year, an anonymous group calling themselves the “Rockstar Wives” wrote an open letter that made complaints very similar to Dean’s.
Rockstar issued a public statement saying that the Rockstar Wives were nothing more than a handful of malcontents. While Dean’s comments would certainly seem to raise a few questions about that statement, if he’s right about the poor working conditions being limited to just his team, then Rockstar may be right to downplay the problem.