An anonymous source close to Rockstar Games has confirmed to IGN that the Red Dead Redemption 2 company is next working on a new entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, as first reported by Kotaku.
Kotaku’s report, which places a larger focus on workplace changes allegedly happening at Rockstar following the massive discussions on crunch in game development that centered around Red Dead Redemption 2, also notes, however, that the next GTA is “early in development.” The report further goes on to explain that, due to the changing nature of conditions at Rockstar, the company is considering ways of altering production to avoid similar crunch issues. One such plan is to allegedly have the next GTA, whether it be called GTA 6 or some other title, be “a moderately sized release (which, by Rockstar’s standards, would still be a large game) that is then expanded with regular updates over time, which may help mitigate stress and crunch.”
Of course, given that the next Grand Theft Auto is early in development, it remains to be seen how the later parts of development could affect these plans to curb crunch, the process by which developers work frequent overtime in order to hit certain release dates and milestones.
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According to the new report, Rockstar has attempted to root out the causes of widespread crunch reported at the studio, including changes in leadership throughout many of its offices, outside management training, and plans to improve technology pipelines and scheduling for production on the next game. And while there’s still concern at the studio, according to the report, many anonymous devs speaking to Kotaku were cautiously optimistic about the future.
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IGN has reached out to Rockstar for official comment on the alleged changes at the studio, as well as further comment on the next GTA, and will update this story should they respond.
Conversation around Rockstar and the effects of crunch ignited after Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser, who has since left the company, commented about working 100-hour weeks on Red Dead 2. Though Houser later clarified his statement was about his specific writing team, discussion around crunch at the studio surged. Rockstar employees were speaking openly about their experiences at the studio, while reported surfaced that, in response to all of the discussion, Rockstar explicitly told employees overtime was not mandated.
Crunch and its impact on developers has of course been a discussion before Red Dead 2’s development, and one we’ve seen continue since, including a CD Projekt Red executive indicating crunch would be needed on Cyberpunk 2077. And recent reports suggested that The Last of Us Part 2’s delay from February to May allegedly led to more sustained crunch, rather than alleviating it.
GTA 6 has not officially been announced, and though we’ve seen plenty of attempts to fool us into believing GTA 6 has been announced for previous years, Rockstar has remained quiet about what will follow Red Dead 2, as well as its continued work on Red Dead Online and GTA Online.