CD Projekt Red has gone back on a no-crunch promise, mandating a six-day workweek. Some staff say they’ve been working overtime for over a year.
An inside source says that Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red is beginning mandatory crunch, despite previously promising not to. CD Projekt Red’s last game, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, is one of the most acclaimed games of this console generation, and the studio’s upcoming game is one of the most hyped projects in years. After going dark for years following the game’s first teaser, Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed a handful of times, and fears rose it would be pushed back further until CD Projekt Red declared the game would not be delayed again beyond its mid-November release date. Fans were able to forgive these delays, since CD Projekt Red claimed that its employees would not be subject to crunch.
Click the button below to start this article in quick view.
Crunch has plagued the games industry for years, from AAA studios to indie outfits. Rockstar Games instituted a company culture shift after criticism following the extreme overtime hours required to make Red Dead Redemption 2, and a similar controversy surrounded Naughty Dog’s The Last of Us: Part II. CD Projekt Red announced that employees would not be subject to crunch while working on Cyberpunk 2077, despite it having an even more massive scope – albeit with a slightly shorter campaign – than The Witcher 3. Now, reports indicate that the studio has gone back on that promise.
According to a report from Bloomberg‘s Jason Schreier, who reported extensively on the Rockstar crunch scandal, six-day workweeks are now mandatory at CD Projekt Red. A company email discussed the need to work on bugs and glitches after having just sent the game to be certified for release; there’s no mention of the reported complete rework of melee combat. The email acknowledges the broken promise, with studio head Adam Badowski stating “I know this is in direct opposition to what we’ve said about crunch,” but claiming that the studio has “extended all other possible means of navigating the situation.” All overtime will be paid, as mandated by Polish law. Screen Rant has reached out to CD Projekt Red for comment but has yet to receive a response.
While the email admits to the necessity of crunch leading up to release, an anonymous employee claims that some staff members have worked nights and weekends for over a year. It’s likely that this wasn’t enforced overtime, but crunch is rarely directly mandated, often instead ingrained in a culture where employees are pressured into working long hours. With free DLC on the horizon, along with inevitable patches and multiplayer updates, crunch on Cyberpunk 2077 could continue for months.
The broken promise from a studio that has positioned itself as “humane” will disappoint fans who have so eagerly awaited the last major release of this console generation. Developers claim that crunch is unavoidable to get major releases out on time, and with increasing furor over each delay, the gaming community at large does little to encourage otherwise. Hopefully, CD Projekt Red employees will be able to keep crunch at a minimum despite Cyberpunk 2077‘s massive ambitions and quickly approaching release date.
Cyberpunk 2077 releases on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on November 19th, 2020.
Pokémon GO: How to Rank Up to Level 50 (Tasks, Requirements, & Rewards)
About The Author