Resident Kotaku news editor and renowned journalist Jason Schreier has reported today that he’s exchanged words with several current and ex-developers about the improved working conditions across the board of Rockstar Studios.
This follows a tumultuous period following the release of RDR2 about the unfortunate reality of crunch time and toxic environments in the games development industry, and the effects it has on employees’ health.
The current and ex-developers apparently confirmed to Kotaku that Rockstar have actively been working to ensure employee wellbeing is their top priority, encouraging “flexitime” so developers have more choice over their hours, “slowing production” to avoid the need for overtime, and getting rid of “bad eggs” in management to encourage cohesion within their teams.
I can only remark here that improved working conditions for developers can only be a positive thing. They’re responsible for every movement we make in these virtual worlds, from the physical effects to the beautiful art, and though many of them will remain nameless to the average player, their hard graft and dedication is the beating heart of our favourite video games.
Alongside this news, said current and ex-developers have also apparently revealed some insight into the next Rockstar project, which is stated to be a new instalment in the Grand Theft Auto series. As you can see, we’re also told this project, likely GTA VI, is meant to be in “early development”, and that they may scale things back to include a “moderately sized release” at the beginning to give themselves more time to develop it on a bigger scale over time, instead of before it releases.
As far as assessing what these statements can mean for the GTA series and GTA VI… well it depends if you take them at face value as cold hard facts, or insightful wisdom. Could it mean we’re still 2-4 years away from a new game? Could it mean a smaller map on release with the return of story DLC as expansions?
Jason Schreier is a knowledgeable insider and you can trust in his credibility, but I’m not personally convinced that such information would be revealed first to fans from the words of a journalist. We know that Rockstar cares most about pulling off announcements on their own terms, that is; only when they’re ready and only on their own platforms. There’s no excuse to continue hounding them with excessive and relentless requests for GTA VI information on their Social Media channels, but I would still believe in the plausibility of today’s article being a smokescreen, a red herring, or a subliminal way of saying “sit down and give yourself chance to expect the unexpected”.
Time will certainly tell…
featured image snapped by KarimNTerr