After years of CD Projekt Red preaching that they wouldn’t subject its employees to the “Crunch Time” practices employed by most development studios (themselves included) across the industry, a Bloomberg report claims that the studio has broken its promise as we approach Cyberpunk 2077’s November 19th release date.
On Monday, the renowned Polish developer (The Witcher video games series) told its employees that six day working weeks would be mandatory all the way up to the game’s release. While Red has been known for employing these tactics before, last year CD Projekt Red co-chief executive officer Marcin Iwinski told Kotaku that they would no longer be subjecting their talent to such grueling work weeks, and overtime hours.
An official email sent to employees confirmed the implementation of the crunch time measures. However, as per Bloomberg’s report, an unnamed employee (who asked not to be named) came forward to the outlet and stated that Crunch time hours had been enforced for some of the staff for over a year now.
The company email sent to employees claimed that the game had already been approved/certified for release by both Microsoft and Sony. However, the game even at this late stage, required much work in order to fix numerous bugs and glitches that currently plague it.
“Starting today, the entire (development) studio is in overdrive. Your typical amount of work and one day of the weekend. The extra work would be paid, as required by Polish labor laws. Many other video game studios don’t pay for overtime. I take it upon myself to receive the full backlash for the decision. 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.”-Adam Badowski, Red Studio Head.
The employees will also get paid company bonuses, which can amount to 10 percent of the company’s annual profit.
Other major studios have faced controversy over their crunch methods, and some times exploitative behaviours towards their work force. Rockstar was the focus of much scrutiny in prior years, especially during Red Dead Redemption 2’s development.
The problem has been that long working hours (in any profession) can lead to health problems, some which could be permanent. There have been news of employees suffering from strokes, depression, and family issues while working under crunch time.
The more I read stories about game development, even dating back to the days of the Nintendo 64, the more I realize that maybe crunch time is inevitable for Programmers, Artists, and Designers. Games are too complex these days, and they are only getting more complicated by the passing of hardware generations.
Cyberpunk 2077 is expected to be a massive Action RPG (Perhaps Open world), as such it is bound to have many bugs, and issues that will undoubtedly even manage to slip through the cracks beyond the game’s release date. Such is the way of the open world game genre (ask Bethesda).
CD Projekt Red does not foresee another delay of its upcoming and much hyped game, even then it has to be noticed that the company’s stock fell by 3% after the news of the “Crunch time” spread like wildfire on the net.