GTA 6 Crunch

GTA 6 Devs Fear Return to Toxic Crunch Practices

Just yesterday, Grand Theft Auto 6 developer Rockstar Games informed its employees they would be returning to the office full-time and scrapping remote work. Those employees have responded to the mandate, and they’re not happy. Some GTA 6 devs are even stating they fear a return to the “toxic ‘crunch’ practices” for which Rockstar was known during the development of games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and GTA V.

GTA 6 devs accuse Rockstar of broken promises

Rockstar has been trying to encourage its employees to return to the office since last year. When the developer tried to enforce a transition to a three-day office week in 2023, Rockstar claimed “this isn’t our first step to 5 days a week. No one wants to go back to the old way of working.” Now the GTA 6 devs are accusing Rockstar of breaking their promises following yesterday’s mandate that employees return to office full-time.

An anonymous employee told VGC that Rockstar is removing a remote working lifeline that allowed them to “balance care responsibilities, manage disabilities, and relocate as we need.” They continued:

Rockstar is snatching away that lifeline without a second thought for the workers who’ll be impacted most. After so many broken promises we now fear management may even be paving the way for a return to toxic ‘crunch’ practices. Senior leadership need to rethink their reckless decision making and engage with their staff to find an arrangement that works for everyone.

Rockstar had gained quite a reputation for its “toxic crunch practices” during previous games. Many of the accusations against the company involved 100-hour weeks, mandatory overtime, and fear tactics. As such, previous reports had claimed GTA 6 would be delayed until 2025 to avoid those crunch conditions.

However, mandatory overtime was a concern for another anonymous employee who said “just one of my concerns is being forced to work late hours in the office to maintain contact with global teams when before we could log on from home to attend late meetings.” The concerns have meant that the IWGB Game Workers Union has also issued a statement condemning Rockstar’s actions:

The workers in the IWGB Game Workers Union at Rockstar are pushing for transparency over pay and promotions, a healthy and inclusive workplace culture, and work life balance centred around what each worker needs. It is unacceptable that Rockstar leadership have gone back on their word time and time again and have ignored the workers’ requests for basic working conditions.

Workers across the industry are done with letting executives make reckless and harmful decisions and the Rockstar workers are showing us the start of what’s to come if they’re continually ignored. There’s no better time than now to join our union and push for this to be the healthy and sustainable games industry we know it can be.

IWGB Game Workers Union chairman Austin Kelmore

Rockstar is yet to comment.