CD Projekt Red Boss Again Promises That Cyberpunk Devs Won’t Have To Crunch

CD Projekt Red Boss Again Promises That Cyberpunk Devs Won’t Have To Crunch

Following an impressive showcase from Cyberpunk 2077 this week at E3 in Los Angeles, CD Projekt Red boss Marcin Iwiński joined Kotaku Splitscreen to talk about crunch, recent controversy over transgender issues, and whether GOG is in trouble.

A few weeks ago, CD Projekt Red had reached out to talk about their “non-mandatory” crunch policies on Cyberpunk, promising that they wanted to avoid the brutal periods of overtime that staff had to face at the end of development on The Witcher 3.

This week, they wanted to follow up. So a couple of days after watching Cyberpunk’s impressive new hour-long demo, in which the company showed off the different ways in which one mission can be tackled, I met with Iwiński for a 25-minute interview about many different topics.

He again said some interesting things about crunch, and I again said that we’d be keeping an eye out to hold him to these promises.

Here’s a brief excerpt from our conversation:

Jason: If I’m a designer at CD Projekt Red and I say you know what I have kids, I have a family, I’m going to work from 10:00AM to 6:00PM every day, and that’s it. Even until the very end. Am I going to be OK with that?

Iwiński: Yes. Yes.

Jason: No matter what.

Iwiński: Yes.

Jason: So you can commit to that?

Iwiński: We’ve committed to that already.

Jason: That’s good to hear, because oftentimes it feels like there’s these social pressures and subtle pressures —

Iwiński: We can never be 200 per cent sure that there won’t be some pressure, but it’s actually our management’s work to make sure people are OK with that, and I think I’d like people to tell other people within the company that that’s OK, because that’s when we are successful when introducing it. But so far so good.

Jason: I was actually glad to see that you guys announced the game for April 2020, because I had heard from some people, “Oh, we’re going for 2019, it’s unrealistic, what are we going to have to do to ourselves?” Is that one of the reasons you guys delayed it?

Iwiński: (laughs) You’re digging way too deep, Jason.

Jason: (laughs) That’s my job.

Iwiński: The production plans are discussed with people, and of course we had to set a certain date, because as you know, we could develop every single game we’ve been developing endlessly because there’s always something you can tweak, make it better. So a set date is important.

But it is lots of planning and we take into account a lot of variables, first and foremost the production capabilities, the time we think is needed, the stage at which we are, but also the market environment. We are trying to hit a certain good window. And I think it’s a good window. And it aligns with our production plans.

Jason: Is it fair to say that you guys wanted to hit that target to make sure people didn’t have to kill themselves to make this?

Iwiński: (laughs) It’s a direct result of our production planning and we’re trying to make it realistic, and not make it a ginormous burden on the team. Why we’ve been making this public commitment is because we really care about the people that are making this game.

It’s not me coding personally or painting something, it’s the super-talented folks that decided to join us, and I want to make sure they feel taken care of and respected.


  • No matter what happens, that last 6 months, 3 months, 1 month, last week, there is going to be extra pressure for the simple fact that you’re trying to get things finished before a deadline. A point of no return. To expect no crunch time at all is just unrealistic, and why companies can do what they can to soften the stress of crunch time, crunch time is still going to be there. That’s in all industries to an extent, not just video game devs, but it is more pronounced in video game development due to the way the making of a video game happens. If that changes, then things might change, but that takes time to do.

    • The problem isn’t that people crunch,

      The problem is some companies expect it and heavily punish employees who don’t crunch. And there is also the fact a lot of companies don’t have mandated overtime pay. So they force their workers to essentially work overtime, Potentially harming their worker’s health and then not paying them any benefits for doing so other than keeping their job.

      People voluntarily of their own accord crunching is not an issue.
      Companies forcing it is.

      • Both sides are parts of the same problem. You’re right, there are companies that expect and push it without much of a choice, and thats a big part of the problem. The other side is the community who naively expects zero crunch at all, blindly believing it shouldnt be there.

        I think it was RDR2 last year where a story did the rounds about 100 hour weeks, and the backlash across the various sites (not really that bad here though) was horrendous. “Never buying a Rockstar game again!” “Boycott Rockstar!” and things like that were popping up all over the place. Then it turned out that those 100 hour weeks were about 5 of the lead writers doing the final lines to be voice acted. Or something like that. Stories around here somewhere.

        To me, thats not an industry issue that needs sorting. Thats the sort of crunch that @jagji is talking about. The stuff that might be delayed earlier, but still has to be done as they get close to release. Or things that need to be done at the last minute as they need other things to be finished first.

        But some people still see it as crunch, and demand it goes away. As Jagji says, crunch happens in nearly every industry. If I was still working, right now would be a crunch period for me as the end of financial year approached, and I was preparing for yearly reports and the like. And quarterly, and monthly at the same time. It cant be avoided.

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