Red Dead Redemption is well on its way to becoming one of the most successful Rockstar titles in the studio’s 12 year history – or 26 year history if we’re talking specifically about Angel Studio (which became Rockstar San Diego in 2002).
Despite selling 5.2 million copies of Red Dead Redemption in just 3 weeks, not to mention four costly DLC packs already en route, Rockstar San Diego has decided to reward 40 hard-working employees by laying them off.
While end-of development layoffs are certainly not out of the norm, considering the success of the game, the HR cuts come at an odd time – presenting a bit of bad press for a studio that is currently riding high on success.
With regard to the cuts, Rockstar studio manager, Steve Martin, released the following statement to IGN:
“As is typical with game development, our team sizes have always fluctuated over the course of the development cycle. As Rockstar San Diego transitions from the launch of Red Dead Redemption onto future projects, we are realigning our resources in order to continue to develop games as effectively as possible.
We are ensuring that all employees who are affected by these changes are being treated with care. While we have no announcements to make regarding a sequel to Red Dead Redemption, the team here are hard at work on the development of downloadable content for the game.”
In addition, the news doesn’t do much to help us forget the “Rockstar Wives” controversy from six months back – claiming long hours and unfair work conditions for the developers. While the layoffs certainly aren’t a direct result of the anonymous “Wives” letter, you can’t help but feel especially sorry for the people who slaved away to make Red Dead Redemption one of the best games of the year – only to be handed a severance check and a box to pack their belongings.
In the end, the biggest revelation is probably that anyone hoping for another Red Dead installment anytime soon shouldn’t hold their breath. If another game was already in the design/programming stages, it would have made sense to transition a good portion of these employees onto that project – as it is, despite solid work, is sounds as if there’s nothing for these people to work on.
Hopefully the employee responsible for the donkey-lady and flying bird people is still around.
What do you think of the Rockstar layoffs? What do you think the layoffs mean for the Red Dead franchise?