Rockstar hiring for an "asymmetrical cooperative stealth experience"

Head over to Rockstar's job page and you'll currently see 162 jobs being advertised across San Diego, Toronto, New York, New England, Lincoln, London, Leeds and Rockstar North. Admittedly some of the positions are repeated for multiple location but there's clearly a fair bit of hiring going on.

But for what for I hear you cry? Well, that's a good question. Another GTA seems unlikely just yet. Rockstar has mentioned that the core GTA 5 team are focusing on Online for the time being. Plus the positions listed are for programmers, tools, engines, artists and VFX, suggesting a step beyond the pre-production a GTA follow up would be at right now (if at all). They're actually making something.

The stand out line from all the jobs (yes, I went through the lot) is this gameplay designer position that asks for "advanced physical and digital prototyping skills to establish the pillars of the asymmetrical cooperative stealth experience required." Going through the other 161 roles shows a focus on human animation and physics, and talk of big open worlds. There's an animation systems R&D programmer expected "to help us in developing advanced animation systems for large open world character based games". There's mention of physics based destruction and a lot of talk about things like "physical impact reactions against characters using physics" and "physics based destruction". In fact a high degree of skill in physics is mentioned a few times as well as things like a "basic understanding of human motion and biomechanics".

Creating something with a high level of animation and procedural/physics based action seems to be the thrust overall. There's talk of weapons rigs, third person stuff and "creating the illusion of densely populated worlds". All of which ties in with the idea of some kind of third person shooter. However, throwing in a few curve balls are a vehicle artist job asking for a "deep understanding and love of car culture" and a character artist with "an appreciation and understanding of fashion and street style".

A proviso here: there could be more than one game and, as a rule, developers can be terrible when it comes to housekeeping old job ads. But according to this Canadian job search engine the position that mentions stealth was last indexed in July, so it can't be that old. Plus all Rockstar's resources have focused on GTA 5 for ages so, unless these date way back into its development, they're likely for something new. I also can't find any reference of a Rockstar asymmetric stealth game. Ever. Anywhere. Agent would be an obvious choice here but co-op would be a new twist on the little that was ever announced (ie 'spies, logo, aaand we're done here').

There also does seem to be a lot of focus on environmental stuff, with only one interior artist advertised. One environmental artist position is looking for experience in World Machine , a 3D terrain generator. That looks a lot like the picture below, and it does feel like there's more of an outdoorsy vibe overall to the jobs advertised.

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