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Rockstar reportedly orders GTA 6 developers to end hybrid working in the name of "quality and polish"

GTA 6 developers apparently not so keen

Rockstar's GTA 6 key art with both main characters sitting on a car bonnet plus the game's logo above
Image credit: Take-Two Interactive

GTA 6 developer Rockstar Games are reportedly ending hybrid working and requiring employees to return to the office full-time, with a view to being in "the best position to deliver the next Grand Theft Auto at the level of quality and polish we know it requires, along with a publishing roadmap that matches the scale and ambition of the game." That's allegedly from an email to staff sent by head of publishing Jenn Kolbe.

The report comes from Bloomberg, according to whom many Rockstar employees are unhappy with the decision. Some Rockstar staff have subsequently tweeted about (and thus, tacitly corroborated) the news in a less-than-enthusiastic fashion.

Kolbe reportedly justified the move as a security measure, while stating that there are "tangible benefits" from in-person work. Rockstar have reason to worry about security. GTA 6 has been the subject of frequent leaks - footage of a development version appeared online in September 2022, and Rockstar's first GTA 6 trailer was pinched and screened with a big dirty Bitcoin watermark the day before it was supposed to run.

Ending remote working for productivity reasons is more questionable. While the situation varies between people and between workplaces, there is plenty of evidence to the effect that fully remote or hybrid working makes people more productive, while also making jobs more accessible for disabled people.

Rockstar's plan to end hybrid working leaves employees who need or would prefer to work remotely in a difficult position. When Activision tried the same thing with QA staff last year, the ABK Workers Alliance branded it a "soft layoff" for anybody who can't return to the office. There's also the argument that managers want staff on-site simply because it makes it easier to overwork them - Rockstar have a track record for crunching on projects, though they have taken steps in recent years to avoid this.

As for GTA 6, it's out in 2025, and Bloomberg's report suggests that the game is, indeed, in the final stages of development. Speculation continues about the final GTA 6 release date (on console, that is). Ubisoft's Yves Guillemot is of the opinion that it'll fall after April 2025.

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