-Employees have been in massive crunch since March, 2009 due to poor management and manipulation of deadlines.
-Raises are not keeping up with inflation.
-Promised bonuses and royalties are being purposefully withheld and benefits are being scaled back.
-Management is strong-arming staff into working obscene hours and has denied things like time off at Christmas.
-Even employees that are showing signs of depression are being guilted or threatened if they call in sick.
This letter is anonymous and very poorly written so take it with the skepticism that it deserves but judging from some of the comments, this seems to be real. Gamasutra is also not known for publishing random crap without validating it. If true, this is shameful from a company that has such a high-profile image and frankly, how could they not have expected this to happen at some point? Honestly, I can't imagine the thought of treating employees this way. Granted, I don't manage a large studio but given how long Red Dead Redemption (their only announced project) has been in development, if they're crunching like this, it appears this is a result of poor planning and bad leadership (something which I touched on in one of Elysium's story threads a while back.) Many developers have been saying for years that most of the current crop of Producers out there are inexperienced and don't know how to manage a project properly. If managed right from the start, crunch shouldn't be necessary at all or only at a minimum. If these guys have been crunching for almost a year, someone's head should roll. It appears as though their managers are using the bad economy and current shortage of jobs in the industry to treat their teams like crap because they know few will leave.
I've read articles talking before how the Houser brothers' lack of experience in the game development industry prior to tripping over backwards into good fortune with Rockstar has hurt the company before and why so many non-GTA Rockstar titles have only had niche appeal or been outright flops. Yet Take-Two has had to pay them millions to keep them on staff when they clearly don't seem to be able to provide proper project planning or in the case of Rockstar San Diego, put people in charge who know what they're doing. Given this development, I wonder what's going to happen to Rockstar San Diego after Red Dead Redemption ships because I can't see people lining up to apply there or indeed at any Rockstar studio if they know this is what they're walking into.
A lot of new industries have quality of life issues but most eventually manage to find a balance whereas the video game industry always has stories like this creeping up and as a whole, never seems to learn anything. I know that unlike many industries, the technology keeps advancing at such a rapid pace that it's hard to keep up (something which is the industry's own fault) but surely by now, a balance can be found no?