Report: GTA developer Rockstar is getting serious about cultural reform
Grand Theft Auto developer Rockstar Games has been working to clean up its company culture, according to a new report from Bloomberg.
The studio, which is owned by Take-Two Interactive, has reportedly attempted to “reinvent” itself as an employer that champions the wellbeing of its workers.
The change comes a few years after numerous Rockstar developers chose to speak out about the studio’s troubling crunch culture, detailing gruelling six-day work weeks and instances of “voluntary” crunch that were mandatory in all but name.
As noted by Bloomberg, other staff also described a workplace culture rife with drinking, fighting, and trips to strip clubs — suggesting crunch wasn’t the only issue at the industry powerhouse.
Since those allegations were made public in 2018, Rockstar has seemingly worked to become more progressive. According to interviews with 20 current and former employees, all of whom chose to remain anonymous, the “boys club” has now been transformed into a “real company.”
Those who spoke to Bloomberg said the studio has restructured its design department to improve working conditions and pledged to keep overtime in check
It seems the studio wants the next entry in its immensely lucrative Grand Theft Auto franchise to reflect its new look, and is reportedly working to make the title — which will include a playable women protagonist for the first time ever — more respectful.
Those people with knowledge of the project explained Rockstar is being careful not to “punch down” by joking about marginalized groups, contrasting previous entries in the series where it seemed nothing was off limits.
The news of Rockstar’s shifting culture comes over two years after studio VP and co-founder Dan Houser departed the company.
Houser, who established Rockstar alongside Terry Donovan, Gary Foreman, and brother Sam Houser in 1998, left the company after over two decades on March 11, 2020.
Earlier this year, Rockstar confirmed that active development on the next Grand Theft Auto is “well underway.” Take-Two also announced that Grant Theft Auto V has sold over 165 million copies to date.