[UPDATED] Rockstar Worked 100 Hours Weeks Several Times in 2018 to Make RDR2; NPCs Have 80-Page Scripts Each
Dan Houser clarified what he meant in the below interview by providing a statement to Kotaku.
There seems to be some confusion arising from my interview with Harold Goldberg. The point I was trying to make in the article was related to how the narrative and dialogue in the game was crafted, which was mostly what we talked about, not about the different processes of the wider team. After working on the game for seven years, the senior writing team, which consists of four people, Mike Unsworth, Rupert Humphries, Lazlow and myself, had, as we always do, three weeks of intense work when we wrapped everything up. Three weeks, not years. We have all worked together for at least 12 years now, and feel we need this to get everything finished. After so many years of getting things organized and ready on this project, we needed this to check and finalize everything.
More importantly, we obviously don’t expect anyone else to work this way. Across the whole company, we have some senior people who work very hard purely because they’re passionate about a project, or their particular work, and we believe that passion shows in the games we release. But that additional effort is a choice, and we don’t ask or expect anyone to work anything like this. Lots of other senior people work in an entirely different way and are just as productive – I’m just not one of them! No one, senior or junior, is ever forced to work hard. I believe we go to great lengths to run a business that cares about its people, and to make the company a great place for them to work.
Rockstar Games used to release other titles in between their big, sprawling open world franchises (Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption). Some of those included Max Payne 3, Bully, Manhunt, Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis, the Midnight Club games.
However, since Grand Theft Auto V launched more than five years ago, all of the Rockstar studios scattered across the world focused squarely on Red Dead Redemption 2 (beyond supporting GTA Online, of course). With the release date now less than two weeks out, Rockstar co-founder Dan Houser (Creative Director on Red Dead Redemption 2) discussed the enormous effort of making the title in an interview with Vulture.
We were working 100-hour weeks several times in 2018. For each RDR2 trailer we probably made 70 versions, but the editors may make several hundred. Sam and I will both make both make lots of suggestions, as will other members of the team.
Writer Jeffrey Crawford "Lazlow" Jones said:
[...] even the peds have 80-page scripts each.
Additional impressive figures include 1200 actors employed for the game, 700 of which lent their voices; 192 interactive mission scores; 2000 pages for the main story script, with an overall script 'pile' that could be about eight feet high all considered according to Dan Houser.
All of this gargantuan work translated, Houser said, to:
[....] this seamless, natural-feeling experience in a world that appears real, an interactive homage to the American rural experience. A vast four-dimensional mosaic in which the fourth dimension is time, in which the world unfolds around you, dependent on what you do.
Red Dead Redemption 2 is out on Friday, October 26th for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. It's going to feature over 200 distinct animal species and over 50 unique usable weapons with deep customization options as well as different ammunition types. Weapons will perform better if used more often, but they'll also degrade over time and require maintenance.