Skip to main content
If you click on a link and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our editorial policy.

Rockstar: "Overtime is not mandatory"

Red Dead Redemption developer responds to increasing number of stories about studio's intense working conditions

Rockstar Games has spoken out against the numerous allegations that it forces its staff to work excessive hours for little to no reward.

Speaking to GamesBeat, the company's publishing boss Jennifer Kolbe insisted that "overtime is not mandatory" and acknowledged that while some staff do work beyond their contracted hours, Rockstar does not punish those that don't.

"We have absolutely asked people in all locations to work beyond regular hours at times in order to help achieve certain milestones on what is a very large project, and plenty of people in all locations have done overtime," she said.

"For that we are very grateful. At the same time, plenty of people have not worked meaningful overtime, and they are also highly valued members of the team. That has been reflected in the average hours worked numbers we have already shared publicly."

The figures Kolbe refers to were issued to The Guardian last week, claiming the average working week comes in at just shy of 46 hours, but has peaked earlier this year at 50.1 hours. Additionally, Rockstar was admitted that 20 per cent of employees worked 60 hours or more.

However, since those figures were released numerous former Rockstar staff have disputed that this is the case, culminating in our own report on the studio's 'culture of fear' this morning.

Kolbe maintains that the emphasis on overtime has been misunderstood, stressing that it "has always been optional" and that the company is striving to clarify this with its current employees.

"We acknowledge that we need to communicate clearly with the teams about our plans, and to take responsibility for situations where the teams were confused or received a confusing message from us," she said. "We did get the Lincoln [QA] team together last week to make sure it is clear to them that the schedule is requested, not mandatory."

Throughout the piece, Kolbe addressed additional claims - such as that staff were sleeping overnight in the New York studio - and assured the Rockstar management is keen to hear from its employees so it can resolve any issues going forward. And she maintained that many of the stories that have emerged are no indicative of expected behaviour.

"There is not a pervasive pattern of sustained unreasonable overtime," she said. "There have been specific teams, including teams in New York, for whom the workload was at times really heavy, and we will continue to do everything we can to grow our capacity and streamline our processes over time to manage that better going forward.

"We are definitely not perfect in our process, but we believe we have a great environment and happy team in general, and we are committed to continuing to listen, learn and evolve."

Read this next

James Batchelor avatar
James Batchelor: James is Editor-in-Chief at, and has been a B2B journalist since 2006. He is author of The Best Non-Violent Video Games
Related topics