In the wake of the Rockstar San Diego spouses’ plea, more information has come out indicating that the studio’s key franchises are suffering.
Working conditions at Rockstar San Diego allegedly suck, as the studio employees’ wives recently pointed out. Sources have reported to Joystiq that all the hard work being put in at Rockstar San Diego isn’t doing a whole lot of good either. Much of the studio’s Midnight Club team was dismantled, and Red Dead Redemption may be coming out sometime in April, but only after an expensive six-year development hell.
When Rockstar San Diego completed Midnight Club: LA, many employees, some 10 year veterans, were either fired or quit due to the game’s mishandling by Rockstar New York. The sources say: “Anyone from the New York office is feared, because people in the San Diego office know that they are unstable and needy … in other words, if a comment comes from a person from New York, it’s a mandate that needs to be immediately addressed regardless of previous priorities.” The future of the Midnight Club series, despite decent profits in the past, is still up in the air, though it doesn’t appear that Rockstar San Diego will be handling it anymore.
Another source at Rockstar San Diego says that Red Dead Redemption “was a complete disaster for most of 2009 and previous … it has since turned around a little bit, but there are huge problems with it still.” The latest trailer looked pretty good to me, but ultimately trailers don’t mean a thing. Even if Red Dead Redemption does make it out, sources say “it’s been in production for six years (mainly because of horrible management/lack of direction due to fear of disrespecting Rockstar NY) and it will never get the money back in sales it cost to create for those six years.” One source’s estimate requires the game to sell five million copies to make back its development cost, but at this point it’s more about Rockstar San Diego proving it can make a top-tier title rather than a profit.
The trouble looks like it can be boiled down to improper management and conflict with Rockstar New York. Joystiq’s source continues: “The functional team that was Midnight Club was shattered. All the people who didn’t quit or get fired were thrown onto Red Dead Redemption, many of them being demoted. The completely dysfunctional team that is RDR was put to top priority. The people who had floundered on that project or outright screwed it up were promoted and are now in complete control of the studio, and they’re running it into the ground.” For all you videogame industry job hunters out there, it doesn’t look like Rockstar San Diego is a smart place to look at for employment.