“GTA 6”: Cultural change at Rockstar Games delays development

According to Bloomberg, Rockstar Games is trying to improve its working environment. “GTA 6” therefore takes longer – and gets a protagonist for the first time.

There has been a lot of discussion in the games industry in recent years: about sexism, about crunch and about salaries. Rockstar Games, probably the most important developer studio in the world, was repeatedly the focus of criticism. According to a report by Bloomberg, however, management was recently trying to remedy the grievances. This should be reflected in a more positive working atmosphere – but also cause delays in the development of “GTA 6”.

According to the Bloomberg report, for which well-connected games journalist Jason Schreier interviewed 20 Rockstar employees, Rockstar is said to have reduced crunch, among other things. This is how overtime is referred to in the industry, which can accumulate, especially before release. Rockstar is said to have promised employees that they would not have to accumulate massive overtime for “GTA 6” – and if they do, they should be able to reduce them at the next opportunity.

Further changes are intended to professionalize the working atmosphere: According to Bloomberg, many temporary workers have been given permanent jobs, and additional benefits are to be introduced for the mental health of employees. In addition, several managers whose behavior was criticized by employees were reportedly fired. The pay gap between men and women is said to have been reduced, transphobic jokes have been removed from the next-gen release of “GTA 5”. An employee is said to have described Rockstar as a “boys club” that has now developed into a “real company”.

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This internal change of heart is already said to be affecting Rockstar Games’ notoriously cynical games, Bloomberg reports. A planned game mode called “Cops ‘n’ Crooks” for “GTA Online”, in which players compete in two teams as police officers and criminals, has already been discontinued because of the debates about police violence in the USA.

The upcoming “GTA 6” could contain the satirical tone that the series is known for, Rockstar employees said in an interview with Bloomberg. For example, there should be fewer jokes at the expense of minorities. In addition, the upcoming action game will be the first in the series to have a female protagonist. According to Bloomberg, she has a Latino background and will be playable as one of two characters.

Because of the new structures, the development itself is said to have been delayed: internally, employees are surprised at the slow progress. According to Bloomberg, “GTA 6” has been in development since 2014, and there shouldn’t be a fixed release period internally either.

The game concept is said to have changed since development began in 2014: Originally, a much larger game world with large parts of North and South America was planned. In the meantime, the decision has instead been made to present a fictional version of Miami and its surroundings. In addition, the game should be regularly supplemented with new missions and even cities after the release. This should defuse the development effort for the release.

After the release of its latest game “Red Dead Redemption 2”, Rockstar Games made the headlines mainly with controversy: Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser said in an interview that several employees from the story department regularly worked over a hundred hours for weeks . He was accused of downplaying the consequences of the widespread crunch in the industry. In 2020 Houser left the games company.

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