Of Course They Chose To Be Corpos
Disappointingly, CD Projekt Red has confirmed that development on Cyberpunk 2077 is officially entering a crunch phase, despite assurances from studio co-founder Marcin Iwiński that extended work hours would be avoided. Staff were informed last Monday that six-day work weeks would become mandatory leading up to the game’s release in November. In multiple interviews prior to this announcement, Iwiński had all but guaranteed that crunch would not occur, as the studio wanted to “be more humane and treat people with respect.”
Game journalist Jason Schreier, via Bloomberg, claims that his anonymous source within CD Projekt Red added that some staff members “had already been putting in nights and weekends for more than a year”.
The decision to introduce mandatory crunch rather than delaying the game has been met with criticism from many in the gaming community, to which CD Projekt Red studio head Adam Badowski responded, via a post on his Twitter. “These last 6 weeks are our final sprint on a project we’ve all spent much of our lives on. Something we care for deeply. The majority of the team understands that push, especially in light of the fact that we’ve just sent the game to cert and every day brings us visibly closer to shipping a game we want to be proud of” Badowski wrote. “This is one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make, but everyone is well compensated for every extra hour they put in. And, like in recent years, 10% of the annual profit our company generates in 2020 will be split directly among the team”.
A subsequent email was also sent out to employees to clarify the contradictory statements coming from upper management throughout the year. “I know this is in direct opposition to what we’ve said about crunch,” Badowski reportedly said. “It’s also in direct opposition to what I personally grew to believe a while back–that crunch should never be the answer. But we’ve extended all other possible means of navigating the situation.”
Whereas many studios do not pay for overtime and crunch, CD Projekt Red employees will be paid, as per Polish labor laws. CD Projekt Red has previously come under the microscope for the high levels of crunch required during the development of 2014’s The Witcher 3. The effects of crunch in the gaming industry have been at the forefront of many consumer’s minds this year as more stories of mental and physical burnout have come to light.
Cyberpunk 2077 releases November 19th for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, with a free upgrade to next-gen becoming available down the track.