Cyberpunk 2077’s developer, CD Projekt Red, is the latest company to face backlash over crunch development times and its treatment of employees.
Crunch development times have become an increasing problem in the video game industry, and CD Projekt Red is the latest developer to face backlash after a report surfaced that it is implementing mandatory crunch on its employees. Since then, CD Projekt Red developers have confirmed it’s true. All of this, apparently, is to get the company’s latest game, Cyberpunk 2077, out in time for its scheduled release date.
Cyberpunk 2077 is the latest video game from CD Projekt Red, the developers of The Witcher 3. The game has gotten a lot of positive publicity in the past and has some big names attached, including Keanu Reeves, who’s playing a rock star named Johnny Silverhand in the game. Excitement for Cyberpunk 2077 has increased as it nears its November release date, but now it appears the game has hit a major snag.
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Unfortunately, CD Projeckt Red is forcing mandatory crunch times on its development team. This means Cyberpunk 2077 is just the latest video game to face this problem. Mandatory crunch times are highly controversial and have led to backlash on a number of AAA projects. Naughty Dog faced immense criticism on its treatment of employees and crunch times prior to the release of The Last of Us: Part 2. After facing similar controversy for Red Dead Redemption 2, developer Rockstar Games changed the way it handled extreme overtime hours. However, the controversy surrounding Cyberpunk 2077‘s crunch times is a bit different.
Why Cyberpunk 2077’s Crunch Time Is A Big Deal
Crunch times for Cyberpunk 2077 are especially controversial because CD Projekt Red had previously promised it wouldn’t force crunch time on employees. The game was already delayed from September to November, as the company tried to avoid development crunch. Because of COVID-19, delays in development have become increasingly common, but that has led to other problems. The gaming industry has faced some major changes this year, as people who work in the industry have voiced complaints and concerns over extreme overtime hours and poor working conditions. However, companies have still been anxious to get their games to market, which has led to crunch times still occurring often.
By promising not to force crunch times on its employees, CD Projekt Red promoted itself as a humane company and helped boost Cyberpunk 2077′s good publicity. However, the company has since reneged on those promises. Since Cyberpunk 2077 will have free DLC releasing after its launch date, that means employees could be experiencing overtime hours for several months into the future. It’s certainly not a good image for the company, and it could hurt Cyberpunk 2077′s sales in the long run. Included below is a statement from CD Project Red Head of Studio Adam Badowski.
For now, Cyberpunk 2077 is still set to release on November 19th, 2020, for PC, PS4, and Xbox One. However, if development crunch sparks too much outrage, then CD Projekt Red may have to delay the game again. The alternative is to continue breaking a promise to its employees and its fans, which could end up hurting the company (and, more importantly, employee health and morale) in the long run.
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