In May 2019, CD Projekt promised a “more humane” approach to crunch, as if such a thing was possible. Time has proven that to be a huge lie. This week, as the console versions of Cyberpunk 2077 ostensibly caused a three-week delay in all versions, the company backpedaled even harder. And now co-CEO Adam Kicinski is trying to make up excuses. CD Projekt Red co-CEO Marcin Iwiński recommitted to that claim of no crunch, but now they’re completely in damage control mode.
The studio heads later came out and said that all employees would be required to handle “your typical amount of work and one day on the weekend.” So much for that policy. But it only gets worse when we roll around to this week and their making excuses aplenty. In a call to investors this week, however, CD Projekt co-CEO Adam Kiciński said crunch at the studio is “not that bad—and never was.”
“Of course it’s a story that has been picked up by the media, and some people have been crunching heavily, but a large part of the team is not crunching at all since they have finished their work,” Kiciński said. You know, I don’t think these executives really struggled all that hard with this, seeing as how they claim it was “one of the hardest decisions” they had to make, I really don’t believe that now.
And it seems like some fans don’t believe it either, but are taking their anger way too far. It seems that some members of staff at the company have been receiving death threats and other abuse. This kind of behavior is wholly unacceptable and has been a problem in the industry for far too long. Despite all the issues that CD Projekt is causing, all this is never justified.
Going further, he tried to downplay the noted psychological and physical toll crunch takes by essentially saying it’s not affecting everyone. “It’s mostly about Q&A and engineers, programmers—but it’s not that heavy. Of course, it will be extended a bit, but we have feedback from the team, they’re happy about the extra three weeks, so we don’t see any threats regarding crunch.”
The upcoming cyberpunk game was pushed from November 19 to December 10, and it was also previously announced that the studio would be crunching after all. Imagine seeing all of this in a time when crunch is the most visible in the games industry has ever been.
It’s also important to point out that this same executive owns a huge amount of stock within the company, so vested interest in defending the brand kicks in, but it gets worse. As sources have pointed out, the leadership team at the studio sent out an e-mail at the same time as the announcement of the delay this week. Within that e-mail, the studio was apologizing to everyone’s spouses/partners because it “often means [the devs] cannot participate on the home front.”