The developer walks back on promises made to avoid crunch about a year ago.
Crunch has been an issue plaguing this industry for years, and in recent years, there’s been significant pushback against it, with major developers and publishers across the industry – including the likes of Rockstar, BioWare, Epic Games, Naughty Dog, and many more – coming under fire. Another developer that’s been known to engage in crunch frequently is CD Projekt RED, which it seems to be doing once more in the lead-up to Cyberpunk 2077’s November launch.
In a report written by Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, it’s been revealed that CD Projekt RED has mandated overtime for all employees as the developer looks to race to the finish line ahead of its upcoming RPG’s release. As per an employee’s account as well as an email sent by CD Projekt RED studio head Adam Badowski, the entire studio is now “in overdrive”, referring to CDPR devs’ “typical amount of work and one day of the weekend.” Overtime is, of course, being paid appropriately as per Polish labour laws.
This mandated crunch is notable for several reasons, but the most notable is the fact that it goes against CD Projekt’s promises that such a situation would be avoided going forward. Early last year, the studio said that it would like to be known for “known for treating developers with respect” and as such would be making any and all crunch non-mandatory.
Badowski addresses this in his aforementioned email to the studio. “I take it upon myself to receive the full backlash for the decision,,” he wrote. “I know this is in direct opposition to what we’ve said about crunch. 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.”
Earlier this year, CD Projekt CEO Adam Kicinski said while speaking of Cyberpunk 2077’s development that the studio would be facing “some degree” of crunch to get the game ready for launch.
Cyberpunk 2077 releases for PS4, Xbox One, and PC on November 19. A Stadia version is also due out this year, while dedicated PS5 and Xbox Series X / S releases will come some time in 2021.