Cyberpunk 2077 Developers Will Be Crunching, CD Projekt RED Tells Investors

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Cyberpunk 2077 Developers Will Be Crunching, CD Projekt RED Tells Investors
Image: Cyberpunk 2077

Last year, with concerns raising about the hours being worked by developers, CD Projekt RED told Kotaku that the Polish studio had implemented a “non-obligatory crunch policy” so employees wouldn’t have to work extra hours if they weren’t comfortable doing so. Co-founder Marcin Iwiński jumped on Kotaku Splitscreen after E3 2019, making multiple public promises to minimise as much pressure on their developers as possible.

In the Splitscreen interview, Iwiński said “we can never be 200% sure that there won’t be some pressure”. In a conference call today with investors, CD Projekt RED confirmed that pressure has arrived.

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Asked directly about whether the studio would be pulling supremely long hours – known as crunch in the games industry – Adam Kiciński, joint CEO of CD Projekt Red, confirmed they would be:

“To some degree yes, to be honest, but this is … we’re trying to limit crunch as much as possible. But you know it’s the final stage. So we try to be reasonable in this regard, but yes, unfortunate.”

Kiciński added that the team was also only informed of the delay “minutes” before the conference call. “We and our team – which was informed minutes ago – think that this was
a good decision and that having an extra five months will enable us to deliver a perfect game,” he said.

Comments from Iwiński, Kiciński and other CD Projekt RED board members during the call indicated the game was feature complete, and that the delay would be related to polish and bug fixing, rather than retooling any of the game’s core systems or mechanics. The studio added that Cyberpunk 2077 would be sent out to age ratings agencies – which would include the Classification Board, although they weren’t mentioned directly – in the very near future.

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Update: Clarified that the comments came from Adam Kiciński.

Comments

  • CD Projekt Red are very good at being the villains in a cyberpunk story.

    It’s a shame they’re making one, instead of just starring.

  • Delaying to ensure the best first week review buzz: Necessary

    Delaying to give the development team treasonable work hours: Unfortunately impossible

  • I was awake for 24 hours the other day and working for 20 of them and on most other days I need to do overtime. I’m a nurse I work in theatre. Is that worse or better you decide.

  • I’m confused. They said “We’re gonna have some crunch” even though they extended the project by 5 months? Isn’t the whole point of extending to avoid and mitigate crunch rather than keep the original date and crunch to meet it? Or are they saying that basically they could only get 5 months though the amount of work left was expected to be more?

    • Take it as “even though we got 5 extra months for polish. there will still be some crunch, just not a crazy amount as what could have been if we did a day 1 mega patch instead”

    • I’m speculating of course, but I feel like the actual reason for the delay is more to do with the fact that only a few days ago, Final Fantasy VII Remake got delayed until April 10. Why would anyone want to compete with that release? The next big release window is generally around September, (most years there’s very little that comes out in June-August) and so far the only major release with a solid September release date is Avengers, which is another genre entirely. My guess is, while there’s potentially some truth to the whole “we need more time to finish this” argument, I feel like a lot more of it has to do with market posturing as well.

      If they were really worried about the crunch, then they’d delay it til next year or something.

  • Damn. Let’s be real, they were already in Crunch and now it’s another 5 months? That’s brutal and pretty disappointing. I’d personally rather see it come out next year with the developers’ mental and physical health preserved, and I doubt I’m alone, but that’s big business I guess.

    • It makes me think their initial statement on the delay was mostly PR spun bullshit.

      If the game is “finished” and “playable” why delay it a further 5 months, 8 months including the 2 before its original April release date.

      It’s either it’s suffering from some major “feature creep” or it’s not as far along as it’s statement made.

  • There is ‘crunch’ in almost every industry.

    The construction industry is by far the worst for it in my opinion.

    No one is willing to pay more or wait longer in this day and age, they all want return on their investment as soon as possible, I don’t see it ever changing, without a massive shift within investor (and consumer) mind set.

    Move along, nothing new here.

    • Just because it’s in other industries does it make it right?

      I don’t have much experience in construction but i have never seen anyone put in a 100 hour week or work 18 hours a day like video game developers do.

      • Agreed, it isn’t right, but it happens.

        Until the video game industry does
        something similar to other industries, (for example unionisation and this likely won’t end it due to outsourcing) it will continue to happen.

      • Entertainment industry worker here. Oh hell yes, mate. While i have dialled my hours and travel back as ive now got a family and im simply getting old, but touring with a music festival like when Big Day Out was a thing, it was 18hrs a day of seriously hard physical work, 3 days straight, then a day of packing your hotel room up, flying to the next state, check in, rest a bit then just (just lol) 6hrs work, with a full day off of maybe day 10 of the tour? My personal record is 110hrs in a week, was hallucinating without any chemical assistance. Some jobs are just tough, mate. But I absolutely love what I do.

    • There’s no way the construction industry has as bad a problem with it as the games industry.

      Don’t get me wrong, the liquidated damages clause is basically just used as a cudgel to fuck over workers in the construction industry, but they don’t do 18 hour days for months.

    • I doubt the construction industry has it worse. If it did then the unions would be getting up in arms about it. Unfortunately the games industry has no such protection thus crunch continues to be as bad as it is.

    • The construction industry doesn’t have “crunch”. Crunch would just mean a project runs over, employs two shifts or pays OT and additionally provides a mandatory RDO for workers doing greater than a 38 hour week. Those aren’t even the conditions under a site specific instrument either. A site agreement is generally strident on limiting OT per day for ohs reasons.

    • I love hearing all these people talking about the construction industry as if EVERY company and site is under union control.

      Unions don’t give a stuff for those that don’t fall under their jurisdiction. I’ve worked 18hr days for weeks on end, I’ve worked 12hr days in over 35hr temps for weeks on end, construction industry has crunch, just look at all the small businesses heading into EOFY or Christmas… Sure you get paid OT… But it’s not exactly “by choice”

      • Unions don’t give a stuff about non members? True!

        Non members don’t give a stuff about labour rules and OHS regulations being broken? Only you can answer that question! The rules I noted are the award and you’ve got OHS regs that are also not “the union”, but I guess you may be ignoring those too.

        • RDO’s only accrue IF you are not paid for the time you work.

          Example taken staright from the abcc: “A monthly RDO arrangement for a 40-hour week would enable an employee to have a day off every four weeks and spread the payment for that day over their whole pay. Each day an employee would work 8 hours and get paid for 7.6 hours to get one paid day off every 20 days.”

          So you work 40 hours, get paid for 38, and get a day off every 4 weeks.

          If your employer pays you for those 40hrs a week, you are not entitled to an RDO, and 95% of non-union companies would rather that, than having their employees take a day off, because they’d rather they work to get the jobs finished.

          Just as an example.

          The construction industry is nothing but crunch for most of the year.

          You’d know that if you worked in the industry

  • I dont know why people are shitting on CDPR for this. AFAIK they are the first game company ever to come out beforehand and say there might be crunch. Most companies only admit to it after the fact and promise not to do it again.

    Kudos to CDPR for being willing to admit it might occur but they dont want to encourage it.

    • I think we can just chalk this one up to entitlement from the consumer. It’s almost as if there aren’t thousands of other games to play before September.

      • I dont think its entitlement. I think people just have itchy trigger fingers due to other companies regarding crunch (Looking at you EA and Rockstar games)

    • i think people are shitting on them because it sucks. i’m not going to give them points just because they’ve said that it sucks if they’re going to it anyway.

      and, just to be clear, they have said that it will occur, not just that it might happen.

      Asked directly about whether the studio would be pulling supremely long hours – known as crunch in the games industry – Adam Kiciński, joint CEO of CD Projekt Red, confirmed they would be:

      “To some degree yes, to be honest, but this is … we’re trying to limit crunch as much as possible. But you know it’s the final stage. So we try to be reasonable in this regard, but yes, unfortunate.”

      • Like i get crunch sucks. But we should not shit on them to the same degree we have Rockstar and others.

        We should be encouraging transparency like this.

        Before the fact > After the fact.

  • Crunching exists in virtually everything and not just the games development industry.

    That does not mean that crunching should be exploitive though. People should be rewarded and limits should be set. It seems that there are significant variations in how workers are treated as a result of the crunch though. CPDR seem to at least get the pay right and we really don’t know what the current crunch environment is like. They have said in the past they want a more reasonable crunch environment.

    Perhaps the reason for the delay is because CPDR followed through on their words and made the crunch more humane? I would like to think so and hopefully that means the next 6 months is also going to be a reasonable period for their team.

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