Back earlier this month, Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD PROJEKT RED attempted to quell fan concerns over crunch by stating that they would not be forcing developers, artists and other staff to work too hard on the new game. That seems to have been undone as a new report from Bloomberg would suggest.
Iconic games journalist Jason Schreier helped break the story, making it very clear why this is an issue. We’re just weeks out from the launch of the new game and it’s going to be hell on the folks making that game. According to the report, some employees working on Cyberpunk 2077 have been pressured to put in six-day weeks and tons of overtime on the new title. It has now been confirmed that the company will be mandating this in policy, according to a studio-wide email from studio head Adam Badowski.
Adam Badowski has responded to Bloomberg’s report on his own Twitter, his “defense” such as it is was basically, “they’re being paid so it’s OK.” Polish labor laws require this compensation, so it doesn’t excuse a darn thing.
The obvious response would be to delay the game a few weeks at a minimum. That’s the common consensus from gamers and fans reacting to the news. According to previous reports on the game, it was fairly close to completion, so seeing this delay is a very big bummer.
As Schreier points out, there are more problems here than just the payment. “Crunch is too complicated and nuanced a subject for Twitter soundbites. It comes in many different forms and hits people in many different ways,” says the journalist on Twitter. “It’s pressure, it’s culture, it’s people giving you dirty looks because you’re not being a team player by going home to your kids.” Going further Schreier also pointed out that issues like this are pervasive and have tons of impact that goes beyond money.
This mentality is the kind of soft pressure common in games crunch and other development environments. And the psychological and physical toll of crunch is well-documented. The stories of people crying at their desks or suffering mental health problems have been common over the years. That has literally nothing to do with payment. To try and excuse this because the employees are being paid shows a stunning lack of care on the part of CD PROJEKT RED and whatever moron handed down this mealy-mouthed defense.
This goes against previous promises by the company to not do any of this, and it’s just sad that there’s nothing being done to prevent this.