As millions gear up to play one of the most anticipated games ever, staff at the Lincoln branch of the studio behind Red Dead Redemption 2 have spoken out about their working conditions.
Rockstar Games is the studio behind some of the biggest video games in the world, but not much is know about what it is like to work there.
As “crunch time” comes to an end and RDR 2 is officially released, staff at the Lincoln gaming studio have revealed what it is like to work as a tester.
The company employs thousands around the world and has its headquarters in New York. It also operates three big studios in the UK, which Lincoln is a part of.
One games tester, who wanted to remain anonymous, told The Lincolnite that their mental and physical health has suffered as a result of long working hours.
“The mandatory hours which we have been doing since this time last year have had a serious impact on people’s health,” they wrote.
“A constant threat of termination looms over us should we step out of line. The majority of staff here are on fixed term contracts, usually for years at a time.
“This is always something that is on people’s minds, and I genuinely think it will be used as ammo against them. It has been before.”
Several other staff from the Lincoln branch also told specialist publication Eurogamer that they have been in “crunch mode” since October 2017.
“I am tired. I don’t have time for myself, or to see those I care about,” another Rockstar Lincoln employee told the publication.
“I don’t remember the last time I went on a date with my girlfriend. My family live 30 minutes away and I don’t remember the last time I saw them in person.
“When there is a requirement to work six days a week, and longer hours within the week, you have to ‘sacrifice’ a day off to actually live your life.”
The Lincolnite reached out to Rockstar Games in Lincoln with claims of poor working conditions, but had no reply.
More than 300 people work at the Lincoln studio around the clock in shifts to test games again and again to make sure that there are no bugs or glitches.
The game testers who spoke to The Lincolnite and Eurogamer not alone in their opinion.
On a website where staff review their jobs, many mention long working hours and bad conditions.
In many of the reviews on glass door, people have said that the “work life balance could improve” and that management have “no respect for your life outside of work.”
A lot of reviews are already out RDR 2 with some calling it “a near miracle.” But was it worth the human cost?