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Rockstar San Diego Revolt

In a story reminiscent of the infamous "EA Spouse" outburst in 2004, a group of wives of developers from Rockstar San Diego has posted a lengthy open letter under the pseudonym "Rockstar Spouse" to Gamasutra decrying the conditions under which their mates work. The issues listed by Rockstar Spouse seem quite familiar from the EA Spouse incident, as they cite quality of life concerns relating to long working hours and high degrees of working stress, also complaining of benefit cuts, salaries not keeping pace with inflation, and abusive management. There is also an extensive discussion of the age-old problem of "crunch time" never going away, saying: "The managers at Rockstar San Diego continue in their dishonesty, pushing their employees to the brink promising temporariness fully equipped with the knowledge of another deadline just around the corner. The reigns whip again, and it becomes mandatory to work close to twelve hours a day including Saturdays, regardless if an employee has finished all his duties prior." They conclude threatening legal action if their complaints aren't redressed:

Conclusively, if these working conditions stay unchanged in the upcoming weeks, preparation will be made to take legal action against Rockstar San Diego. This is the course that naturally presents itself, as either these conditions were manufactured from unawareness and actions to improve conditions will prove such innocence. Or if no action is seen after this letter, it clear that other aspects are the cause of the deteriorated conditions of Rockstar San Diego employees and must be further addressed. Rest assure, all that is desired is compensation for health, mental, financial, and damages done to families of employees.

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43. Re: Rockstar San Diego Revolt Jan 13, 2010, 22:16 Sepharo
 
Sty wrote on Jan 9, 2010, 12:40:
Maybe [...] it's my military background, [but I] have no sympathy for folks who submit themselves to bullshit and complain without action.

Wait what?
 
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42. Re: Rockstar San Diego Revolt Jan 13, 2010, 09:09 xXBatmanXx
 
Reading this story, the comments, and similar garbage, reminds me of when the 35W bridge collapsed and they rebuilt it in less than a year, and the spouses of the workers were complaining about the long hours and forced OT, and apparently the 4x pay they were getting!!!!

Short lived stress for long term payout. Pussies. People today are weak. We aren't that removed from the generation that lived throgh the great depression. Pull up your pants and grin - you have a job.
 
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41. Re: Rockstar San Diego Revolt Jan 13, 2010, 09:04 xXBatmanXx
 
You guys have no idea how underpaid game developers are, do you?
They are also worked extremely hard. 2 years ago there was a TV documentary on 60 minutes or something similar. They were discussing jobs with the worst pay and conditions-- game developers were right up at the top. They are classically over used and under paid. I don't blame these men's wives.
The IT market in general tends to flog and abuse its employees. It isn't fair and those involved should stop accepting those conditions as "ok" and stand up for themselves.

Bullshit - go spend a day with a teacher.
I could probably list 10 more professions, mine included, before listing a desk job!
 
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40. Re: Rockstar San Diego Revolt Jan 13, 2010, 08:59 xXBatmanXx
 
1. You chose amd choose to work there.
2. Unions don't work in software.
3. Whiny bitches sitting at home spending the money.
4. Welcome to the corporate world - nothing has changed - you would have to be naive to think anything would be diff from what they are saying.
5. When in doubt - check rulle #1.

This comment was edited on Jan 13, 2010, 09:00.
 
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39. Re: Rockstar San Diego Revolt Jan 12, 2010, 00:30 RenownWolf
 
"The villagers are revolting!"

"Yes they are."
 
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http://www.renownwolf.com
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38. Re: Game Reviews Jan 10, 2010, 03:57 BobBob
 
Why does Rockstar San Diego make my blood curdle? Anger? Fear? Stupidity? Some deep churlish urging of its soul? The answer cannot easily be found, but its revenge fantasies do not pass muster by any objective standards. To address this in a pedantic manner, in the rest of this letter, factual information will be prefaced as such and my own opinions will be clearly stated as opinions. For instance, it is a fact that there is something grievously wrong with those homicidal, treacherous rotters who erode constitutional principles that have shaped our society and remain at the core of our freedom and liberty. Shame on the lot of them!

Rockstar San Diego's secret police want to inject Rockstar San Diego's lethal poison into our children's minds and souls for one purpose and one purpose only: to incite young people to copulate early, often, and indiscriminately. Rockstar San Diego likes to compare its values to those that shaped this nation. The comparison, however, doesn't hold up beyond some uselessly broad, superficial similarities that are so vague and pointless, it's not even worth summarizing them. Rockstar San Diego makes free and liberal use of chicanery, deceit, intolerance, lust, persecution, and oppression. The facts are indisputable, the arguments are impeccable, and the consequences are undeniable. So why does Rockstar San Diego maintain that it is heinous to question its slurs? Perhaps the answer is best saved for another letter. Let me simply note that Rockstar San Diego keeps telling everyone within earshot that obtrusive blowhards are easily housebroken. I'm guessing that Rockstar San Diego read that on some Web site of dubious validity. More reliable sources generally indicate that no one likes being attacked by neo-twisted ignoramuses. Even worse, Rockstar San Diego exploits our fear of those attacks—which it claims will evolve as soon as our backs are turned into biological, chemical, or nuclear attacks—as a pretext to take control of a nation and suck it dry. If you think that's scary, then you should remember that my only wonder is, Why can't Rockstar San Diego value a diversity of approaches without needing to rank them as better and worse? The most appealing theory has to do with the way that if Rockstar San Diego thinks that it can ignore rules, laws, and protocol without repercussion, then it's sadly mistaken.

Certain facts are clear. For instance, the suggestion that the kids on the playground are happy to surrender to the school bully is wrong, absurd, and offensive. Nevertheless, Rockstar San Diego's zealots like to suggest such things to distract attention from the truth, which is that it seems clear that Rockstar San Diego's self-fulfilling prophecies are a relic of a frowzy past. But we ought to look at the matter in a broader framework before we draw final conclusions on the subject: We see that that which is built inextricably into the laws of the universe cannot be entirely mischievous. If you don't believe me, see for yourself. If we fail to subject Rockstar San Diego's harangues to the rigorous scrutiny they warrant then all of our sacrifices will be as forgotten as the sand blowing across Ozymandias's dead empire. The "decay of that colossal wreck," as the poet Shelley puts it, teaches us that Rockstar San Diego is frightened that we might arraign it at the tribunal of public opinion. That's why it's trying so hard to prevent whistleblowers from reporting that life isn't fair. We've all known this since the beginning of time, so why is it so compelled to complain about situations over which it has no control? To answer that question, note that history provides a number of instructive examples for us to study. For instance, it has long been the case that Rockstar San Diego seems to assume that it is a refined organization with the soundest ethics and morals you can imagine. This is an assumption of the worst kind because its goal is to paint people of different races and cultures as money-grubbing alien forces undermining the coherent national will. How loud is that? How self-deceiving? How dictatorial? As a parting thought, remember that Rockstar San Diego's speeches tend to be more phatic than illustrative.

http://www.pakin.org/complaint/
 
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37. Re: Rockstar San Diego Revolt Jan 9, 2010, 18:59 Tumbler
 
I never stated they had a legal leg to stand on, merely that they should quit threatening and do something.

This. I suggested making a Union but if you don't want to then figure out something you do want.

As far as the argument that your company won't produce games that are as good, etc, GTA4 and their add on content game have been outstand and red dead redemption looks great too...so management has got to be thrilled with this, you work all day for peanuts, making them tons of money, why are they going to stop doing this?

As far as consumers go I don't find myself looking at a game and wondering if the employees who made the game were treated well. And Rockstar games continue to be top notch so I wouldn't expect consumers to care either... I'm not trying to be heartless I just hope you're not expecting the public to come to your rescue.

This comment was edited on Jan 9, 2010, 19:01.
 
99gamers.com-Game trading site, PC digital trading!
Kickstarter "Game Developer"!
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36. Re: Rockstar San Diego Revolt Jan 9, 2010, 16:54 cogInDaMachine
 
-

This comment was edited on Jan 13, 2010, 14:47.
 
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35. Re: Rockstar San Diego Revolt Jan 9, 2010, 13:29 Sty
 
PHJF wrote on Jan 9, 2010, 13:12:
Like those stupid Jews under Nazi rule, amiright? amiright????

Yeah, you tell em!

Yeah, there's an accurate comparison. Rolleyes Don't trip and fall off the stage.
 
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You know selling dlc before you patch the client doesn't impress upon me the need to support your shit. -massdev
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34. removed Jan 9, 2010, 13:12 PHJF
 
* REMOVED *
This comment was deleted on Jan 10, 2010, 13:36.
 
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Steam + PSN: PHJF
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33. Re: Rockstar San Diego Revolt Jan 9, 2010, 12:40 Sty
 
Danazer wrote on Jan 9, 2010, 00:07:
You guys have no idea how underpaid game developers are, do you?
They are also worked extremely hard. 2 years ago there was a TV documentary on 60 minutes or something similar. They were discussing jobs with the worst pay and conditions-- game developers were right up at the top. They are classically over used and under paid. I don't blame these men's wives.
The IT market in general tends to flog and abuse its employees. It isn't fair and those involved should stop accepting those conditions as "ok" and stand up for themselves.
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Jan 9, 2010, 00:11:
I get fed up with armchair critics who think they have everything sussed.

This is not exclusive to the game development careerfield. This is what is happening in corporate software development WORLDWIDE. I've been in the software development industry for 5 years and have numerous friends who are seasoned game developers. It boils down to who you work for and what your priorities are. Don't put up with the bullshit if you don't like it. Make a change, challenge it or DO something. Don't fucking sit on your ass and belly-ache about it. Maybe I'm getting too old or it's my military background, have no sympathy for folks who submit themselves to bullshit and complain without action.


ASJD wrote on Jan 9, 2010, 01:27:

Unfortunately, that's the way of the world. What legal action could they possibly take? The work system of the world is there to control people from early age, not empower them.

The only choice these people have is to quit, and then what? Join another company? It'll be the same there. Start their own indie developer? Good luck with that, although there is a small chance of success.

When you grow up you'll understand how trapped we all are. Maybe you'll be lucky and enjoy a cushy sinecure. Maybe you had a rich relative who will pay your existence in life.

If you're not one of those people you don't have much moving room in life.

I never stated they had a legal leg to stand on, merely that they should quit threatening and do something. Essentially, quit being the indecisive fat tick you just described. The entitled viewpoint that reverberates through our society is ridiculous.

Grow up? lmao We can take the conversation offline if you want to compare war wounds and stories. I'm sure it would be entertaining.
 
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You know selling dlc before you patch the client doesn't impress upon me the need to support your shit. -massdev
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32. Re: Rockstar San Diego Revolt Jan 9, 2010, 11:48 Muscular Beaver
 
Admirable that they get together and set up a letter like this.
I bet my left hand that there are lots more of similar bad working conditions out there, but people just take it and never say a word because they fear consequences.

I know it happens quite commonly here in Germany nowadays.
 
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Oh that is so lame... You will PAY for your use of inappropriate dialogue!
- Mojo Jojo
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31. Re: Game Reviews Jan 9, 2010, 11:35 BobBob
 
If the wife complains, isn't this all just pure hearsay? How do we know her husband isn't simply a drama-queen?

This comment was edited on Jan 9, 2010, 11:37.
 
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30. Re: Rockstar San Diego Revolt Jan 9, 2010, 11:08 Mashiki Amiketo
 
Zanthar wrote on Jan 8, 2010, 22:46:
Oh yeah... Unions... just look at all the good they did for the auto industry.
Don't worry ignorance and stupidity go hand in hand. Unions did plenty good for the auto industry and the jobs everyone else does. Here's a bit of unique irony for today. The guys who are unionized in the auto industry have taken large cuts. The guys at the top took large cuts. The guys at the top have already had everything restored with backpay.

Those who are non-union are still taking cuts, and the guys at the top are still getting more bonus'. Because everyone knows that 2weeks of summer vacation when you've been working for 20yrs for Toyota is a good thing. Yep.
 
--
"For every human problem,
there is a neat, simple solution;
and it is always wrong."
--H.L. Mencken
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29. Re: Rockstar San Diego Revolt Jan 9, 2010, 11:03 DG
 
I've chatted with two people (one a QA temp and another an employee in game design) working at Rockstar North, separate people on separate occasions. This was during GTA IV crunch time.

Both were putting a LOT of hours in. Lots - 12hr a day 6 days a week I believe. This suited the temp's situation; the employee was clearly overworked but fully accepted that this is the industry, and mentioned that he was getting a long holiday (I think it was 4 weeks, on top of regular holiday) as part of a bonus when they gold. Something like that anyway, this was over a year ago and both conversations were in pubs).

Both seemed satisfied with the pay. The QA said his hourly pay which I forget but at the time I thought very good for temp position that doesn't require qualifications - not a lot of money but well above the minimum wage which they certainly could have gotten away with. The employee was clearly happy with his pay, and said that although it was hard work he enjoyed working there. The temp wasn't expecting to be taken on afterwards, but was going to apply anyway.

While this is a year ago, and not San Diego, this letter really doesn't fit with my conversations.
 
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28. Re: Rockstar San Diego Revolt Jan 9, 2010, 10:52 Tom
 
There's always a market for talent. I would hardly assume that if you quit a place like that, the next one would be the same. You have a responsibility to yourself and your family to find a better job. But it does sound like game development is worse than most industries overall. It's sad, but you should probably look outside game development if you want better working conditions. I've always told people that I wouldn't consider working in game development again because of the low pay, crazy hours, and most importantly, the huge number of people who are willing to put up with it just because they want to make games. That last problem is huge.

There are plenty of places outside of game development that need skilled developers. I work 8 hours a day on average, never on weekends, have the respect of my peers, and a huge variety of interesting challenges that will keep me busy forever. And I'm probably getting paid more than most of these guys. I work on a lot of the same stuff that a game developer might work on, but applied to solving real-world problems in industry.

Just get out of game development, that's my message to those who are suffering... Use your network. You can do it.
 
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27. Re: Rockstar San Diego Revolt Jan 9, 2010, 09:00 Reitsuki
 
Going into this with the "anyone can say anything on the internet" reality pre-acknowledged...

I know a couple people in the video game Industry. Including one who works at Rockstar (different branch, however). Their working conditons are awful. They do not get paid the ridiculous sums a lot of you seem to think they get in exchange for it. In both cases, they are married... In one case, their spouse works, in the other she stays home to take care of small children (and still works, from home), but in neither case are they "sitting on their fat asses eating icecream and bon bons while watching Oprah".

And yeah, given the job market at the moment, employers know they have employees over a barrel... Nobody is going to quit right now short of outright physical torture... And most other game studios are the same way anyways. Game developers have a rather limited skill set.
 
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26. Re: Rockstar San Diego Revolt Jan 9, 2010, 08:32 Innocent
 
Unfortunately, that's the way of the world. What legal action could they possibly take? The work system of the world is there to control people from early age, not empower them.

The only choice these people have is to quit, and then what? Join another company? It'll be the same there. Start their own indie developer? Good luck with that, although there is a small chance of success.

When you grow up you'll understand how trapped we all are. Maybe you'll be lucky and enjoy a cushy sinecure. Maybe you had a rich relative who will pay your existence in life.

If you're not one of those people you don't have much moving room in life.


Why does Billy drink? he reads super depressing statements like the one ASJD has written here.
but just so my post has something to do with the actual topic at hand: vote with your feet. if your job sucks, leave it.
 
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25. Re: Game Reviews Jan 9, 2010, 07:32 BobBob
 
Hidden cameras or didn't happen.

BTW: Aren't the managers concerned about the employees going 'postal'?

This comment was edited on Jan 9, 2010, 07:38.
 
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24. Re: Rockstar San Diego Revolt Jan 9, 2010, 06:28 Sempai
 
The 10-12 hour work day 6-7 days a week has become commonplace in America and its a well known fact that people and families suffer for it.

We all want jobs and security but at what price? Sounds like Rockstar, like so many companies are cashing in on the "your lucky to have a job in this economy" practices.
Rockstar(like most companies)could give two shits about its workforce in general.

Sounds like business as usual in America.
 
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