Yesterday we reported that the head honchos at Rockstar Games had made a decision to order all staff back to office working conditions five days a week. The premise for the move is that as GTA6 gets closer to launch it would allow security to be ramped up and minimize leaks, as well as increase productivity.

The games industry has been making objectionable decisions for well over 12 months as far as its workers are concerned, and with every new straw added to the camel’s back, it feels as though something major will happen soon.

Eurogamer is reporting that the Independent Workers’ Union of Great Britain has “blasted” Rockstar for its return to office order with seemingly very little intention of allowing exceptions.

Quoting a petition signed by Rockstar employees in 2022, the new edict marks “a U-turn from previous statements in which the company insisted flexible work options would remain available “Employees have been quick to voice their dismay to the Union with one saying, “After so many broken promises we now fear management may even be paving the way for a return to toxic ‘crunch’ practices. Senior leadership needs to rethink their reckless decision-making and engage with their staff to find an arrangement that works for everyone.”

The Union itself is not holding back, releasing a strongly-worded statement from chair Austin Kelmore.:

“The workers in the IWGB Game Workers Union at Rockstar are pushing for transparency over pay and promotions, a healthy and inclusive workplace culture, and work-life balance centered around what each worker needs,” 

“Workers across the industry are done with letting executives make reckless and harmful decisions and the Rockstar workers are showing us the start of what’s to come if they’re continually ignored. There’s no better time than now to join our union and push for this to be the healthy and sustainable games industry we know it can be.”

We spoke to a Rockstar UK employee yesterday who did not want to be named who said, “People are speculating that it’s a soft mass layoff” and “by making conditions worse” people will quit “so there wouldn’t be any severance.”

It is difficult to see how this is the culture and atmosphere that Rockstar is hoping will bring about one of the most hotly-anticipated games of all time. 

Supporters of a move to unionize across the games industry are becoming more vociferous and it feels as though we are heading to an industry-wide watershed, with workers getting fed up of the lack of job security in an industry that makes its shareholders billions of dollars every year.

Paul McNally

Gaming Editor

Paul McNally has been around consoles and computers since his parents bought him a Mattel Intellivision in 1980. He has been a prominent games journalist since the 1990s, spending over a decade as editor of popular print-based video games and computer magazines, including a market-leading PlayStation title published by IDG Media.

Having spent time as Head of Communications at a professional sports club and working for high-profile charities such as the National Literacy Trust, he returned as Managing Editor in charge of large US-based technology websites in 2020.

Paul has written high-end gaming content for GamePro, Official Australian PlayStation Magazine, PlayStation Pro, Amiga Action, Mega Action, ST Action, GQ, Loaded, and the The Mirror. He has also hosted panels at retro-gaming conventions and can regularly be found guesting on gaming podcasts and Twitch shows. He is obsessed with 3D printing and has worked with several major brands in the past to create content

Believing that the reader deserves actually to enjoy what they are reading is a big part of Paul’s ethos when it comes to gaming journalism, elevating the sites he works on above the norm. Reach out on X.

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