A recent report suggests that the company has undergone major positive transformations.
The titles that Rockstar Games produced have often been appreciated by the audience and also brought the company financial success. However, the quality of those games often came at a human cost. For instance, the working process on games like Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3 was referred to by some employees as "death marches" as staffers had to work mandatory 14-hour days and weekends for months.
Nonetheless, according to a recent Bloomberg report, the working culture and working conditions at the company have started to change. Bloomberg's Jason Schreier spoke with several current and former Rockstar employees. Here's what he has found out.
While in the past, according to Schreier's sources, Rockstar employees described the company's working culture as "full of drinking, brawling, and excursions to strip clubs", now, as one staffer said, "a boys' club transformed into a real company."
The report reads that, among other things, the company removed transphobic jokes from the updated version of GTA V for current generation consoles and significantly reduced the pay gap between male and female workers.
The transformation of Rockstar also includes changes to scheduling, moving contractors to full-time positions, firing several managers who were often complained about by employees, adding additional benefits for employees, and introducing a "flexible schedule" that allows employees to immediately take time off for each additional hour of work.
In addition, the company has hired more producers to ensure that the development is on schedule, which has a positive impact on the overall workflow. However, some employees said that this has also led to confusion that they have to communicate with producers through middlemen. Besides, Rockstar employees shared that they started to feel like there were multiple people responsible for the work, and therefore they did not always understand who should make the final decision.
Some employees are also not sure that in these new conditions Rockstar will be able to continue to release games like the ones that came out before. According to many staffers, morale is currently high in the company, however, the development of GTA VI is slower than expected.
According to analysts' forecasts, the release of GTA VI will take place in the fiscal year 2024, that is, from April 2023 to March 2024. However, some developers interviewed by Schreier are skeptical. They noted that they do not know the release date and expect that it will happen at least two years later.
Still, many employees are satisfied with the current working conditions at the company, citing, among others, the fact that they do not feel pressure on them anymore. According to one of the employees, the updated corporate culture will help the studio attract and retain specialists.