As we lead up to release on 19 November, time is running out to get any outstanding bugs squashed and that may be a problem for CD Projekt. Today it’s alleged that CD Projekt Red studio head Adam Badowski has written to the development team stating that they will be expected to crunch and work a six day week. I think we can all agree we don’t want to see Cyberpunk 2077 developer crunch.
Over the past few years, there’s been a backlash to the idea of development crunch leading up to a game’s release. It puts a tremendous amount of stress on any team prior to launch. They are often expected to work long hours with little time off.
CD Projekt had stated previously that they were opposed to the idea of crunch, but according to Bloomberg, an email to staff from CD Projekt Red studio head Adam Badowski stated, “Starting today, the entire (development) studio is in overdrive”, adding that it would include “your typical amount of work and one day of the weekend.”
He apparently also added in the email, “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.”
CD Projekt has so far not commented or verified that an email was sent out to staff but it’s disappointing if CD Projekt has had to take this route.
With the game having already been delayed a couple of times, they know that a further delay would not go down well, even if it would have little impact on final sales numbers. I think we can all agree we would rather be playing a game with as few bugs as possible but also know that the staff were being looked after, and we have to assume they will be.
I have visited a few studios during a period of crunch in the past and it’s extremely stressful for staff who can be away from families for long periods and in some cases often sleeping at the studio to get as much work done as possible. The image below is from Blizzard North when they were crunching to get Diablo 2 out the door.
As you can see, developers can find themselves trapped in a situation where getting the game out the door on time takes precedent over everything else. Thankfully these days we’re seeing less of this but it’s obviously still going on. Of course, each country will have laws that prohibit workers from working over a certain amount of hours. In Poland, workers can’t exceed an 8 hour day and can only work 40 hours over a five-day working week.
If we see a follow-up on this from CD Projekt, we’ll let you know.