juicegg writes "Wives of Rockstar Games employees in San Diego recently published an open letter on their Gamasutra blog. The authors say that Rockstar employees are seriously strained by unending crunch periods of 12-hour work days and 6-day weeks. High levels of stress are leading to serious psychological and physical problems for some of the employees. They charge that studio management uses arbitrary, deceptive and manipulative practices to get employees to work more unpaid overtime hours at greater intensity — despite over $1 billion in Grand Theft Auto revenue. Among the blog comments, some current and past Rockstar employees are confirming problems with the studio. 'Ex Rocker' writes: 'What makes R* crunch periods different then any other studio is that they tell you the game has to be finished in 6 months, so let's start our final push to get this awesome game out there! 6 months turns into 1 year, 1 year turns into 2.' Other comments reveal worker hopelessness and general mismanagement at the San Diego studio. This turmoil is affecting development on upcoming games as well."
Read on for responses from Rockstar itself and other members of the industry.An anonymous reader adds, "Everyone is talking about the fact Rockstar Games has addressed the accusations that it has forced developers at Rockstar San Diego into unpaid overtime to finish imminent titles. But I've noticed that a former GTA3/Manhunt designer (Chris Kruger) has a comment in this piece published Thursday about crunch in studios, suggesting the problem goes beyond Rockstar San Diego and is company-wide.
He says in Develop's Jury-style debate that the damage caused by excessive overtime can upend the out-of-work relationships developers have: 'Crunch is totally damaging, but much more so to the individuals involved. An almost failed marriage in my case. To the company the cost of crunch is very hard to define but any benefit at all is easy to measure. That's why it's such an easy decision to make for most companies. Unless there is a push back and the cost is made clear, it won't change. In my view self regulation doesn't work, and the only real solution is external regulation or utter agreement from the vast majority of staff on how to approach the matter.'
There's no easy way around the topic, but crunch is clearly damaging. When will the management at game studios address this troubling issue properly?"