Cyberpunk 2077 studio head responds to mandatory crunch period allegations

Written by Chad Norton on Thu, Oct 1, 2020 10:00 AM
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Yesterday, it was reported that the developers over at CD Projekt Red are now in a mandatory “crunch” period in order to get Cyberpunk 2077 up to a standard quality before it officially releases, sparking lots of conversations around unethical workplace policies, especially after CDPR themselves stated that there would be a “non-obligatory crunch policy,” meaning it wouldn’t exactly be mandatory for employees.

As the release date for Cyberpunk 2077 gets closer and closer, the developers are now undertaking six-day work weeks in order to polish the game properly before launch, and the studio does not want to delay the game for a third time already. Since the allegations of the mandatory crunch period have come out though, Adam Badowski, the studio head of CDPR, wrote an official statement on the matter:

These last six weeks are our final sprint on a project we've all spent much of our lives on,” he said. “Something we care for deeply. The majority of the team understands that push, especially in light of the fact we've just sent the game to cert and every day brings us visibly closer to shipping a game we want to be proud of.

However, Badowski also claimed that whilst he made the decision, it wasn’t an easy one to make, and that all employees are well compensated financially at least:

This is one of the hardest decisions I've had to make,” Badowski continued, “but everyone is well compensated for every extra hour they put in. And, like in recent years, 10% of the annual profit our company generates in 2020 will be split directly among the team.

There was no mention whether the crunch was indeed mandatory though, which if it is, still poses a problem within the industry for developers potentially losing their jobs because they don’t want to work an extra day in the week. Hopefully everyone at the studio has agreed to the arrangement, as it sounds like they’re all really passionate for this project, but I hope no one there feels pressured about potentially losing their job.

What do you think? How do you feel about game development “crunch”? Is financial compensation enough? Should Cyberpunk 2077 just be delayed again? Let us know your thoughts!

Our favourite comments:

I'd rather them delay the game as long as it takes....... people have lives outside of their work, and they need to be allowed to live them.

TClawWolf

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17:51 Oct-04-2020

But guys, this game has already been delayed multiple times. If they keep delaying this game it could really hurt CDPR in the long run. In every job I've had there have always been times where we needed to do overtime to get stuff done.


EDIT: Nvm, I didn't realize that they already promised not to enforce a crunch period. But at least it's not expected to go on forever.

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21:56 Oct-02-2020

Personally, I think they had to give in to the pressure. CDPR is not privately owned after all. And I could totally see there being pressure to ensure game comes out with new consoles, before holiday season, both very big deal on maximizing profit. Don't get me wrong, CDPR is great for not doing a lot of worse stuff, but they still are company and they still want to maximize profits.

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21:59 Oct-02-2020

Also don't get me wrong either, I would definitely rather see them taking more time. But as is with creative projects, you usually got two opposites, either there is no deadline and nothing ever gets done, Duke Nukem Forever style. Or you have deadline and at some point you just have to put in that crunch. Later pretty much sums up my whole time I was at university.

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20:10 Oct-02-2020

They are eyeing for a good Christmas vacation so yeah 6 weeks crunch before a huge launch is expected

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00:41 Oct-02-2020

every profession has some level of crunch involved in them, i work in medical manufacturing and when push comes to shove we have to work extra to meet deadlines. Its the reality of the world we live in.

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22:06 Oct-01-2020

Well realistically they need to hit the november date THE biggest consumer holiday with the consoles and pc hardware makers banking on the release date. The stars have literally have alined for the release of cyberpunk 2077.

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03:27 Oct-02-2020

Hmm yeaa

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13:03 Oct-01-2020

It has been reported elsewhere that employees are expected to work one extra day at weekends for the crunch period. As there are only six weeks left why not just delay the game by one more week? It seems that maybe one more week of sales before X-mas is more important.

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04:31 Oct-02-2020

I assume there are a looooot of things to change and reorganize with the move of a launch like this. Doubt it's as simple as it looks.

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11:39 Oct-01-2020

well they get paid for overtime, its more than what most ppl get

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11:45 Oct-01-2020

NPC media and fake outraged people would disagree with you

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12:04 Oct-01-2020

Yeah because maybe some of us have been there and are sick and tired of "crunch"..... is the world going to fall to pieces just because a game gets delayed a little longer? No it's not..... and this argument "well atleast they're getting paid"? So bloody what! When we work for another person we agree to sell a certain amount of our lives to them. How much of our lives we choose to sell is ENTIRELY up to us..... your argument is entirely invalid!

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12:38 Oct-01-2020

Imagine comparing working 48 hrs instead of 40 for a few weeks to what BioWare, ND and many other US companies did, where employees worked overtime with no pay for months up to a year (in Bioware's case),where some had mental breakdowns and some quit their jobs
Yea, excuse me for supporting a company that treats its employees and customers as fair as they can and not joining the fake outrage mob

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11:26 Oct-01-2020

I am still very disappointed by all this. It doesn't matter if they get paid, Crunch time should never happen.


It's disgusting.

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11:31 Oct-01-2020

Soy

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22:20 Oct-01-2020

Excuse me?

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23:03 Oct-01-2020

Your comment was emitting soy. For real, don't get baited by journos that easily man.

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01:13 Oct-02-2020

Oh really? My comment was soy huh? Like i would believe any ****ty journos. The guy who spoke out basically confirmed that they are doing mandatory crunch time. So realistically, I believe him.


The only real soyboy would be you who would be ok with crunch time regardless of what journso say. Of course, someone else from CDPR would say this would be blown out of proportions, only saving face to try to keep a promise.


Don't stick up for anyone or any company. They all can do wrong.

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01:18 Oct-02-2020
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12:31 Oct-02-2020

What a reddit moment. Please read jaerek comments in this comment section on explaining CDPR's "crunch"

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12:33 Oct-02-2020

Also, that CDPR employee didn't try to "save the face of the company", he just cringed at the outrage mob

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13:26 Oct-02-2020

I will post a series of comments, because we're allowed only 400 characters, so bear with me.
This will probably get lost in the comments, but if need be, I will post it in the main comment section, because it needs to be said.
I will provide full context just to make everything crystal clear.
I see every headline (including Jason's hit piece) mentioning this "broken promise".

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13:27 Oct-02-2020

I'm really curious when did CDPR "promise" the no crunch thing, because I can't find it.
Wonder why? Because it doesn't bloody exist!
Jason is reffering in his bloomberg article to his interview with the CDPR CEO, when he VAGUELY asked if there will never be crunch, if devs are going to "be okay with working from 10am to 6pm every day [...] untill the very end", which the CEO replied with "yes"

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13:27 Oct-02-2020

While it was stupid of him (imo) to fall for Jason's generalized, vague question , nowhere did he say "we promise there won't be crunch/there wouldn't be request for overtime" and this is where Jason spun this whole ****show.
Might I add, this interview was made on the 6/14/2019! when, you know......COVID WASN'T A THING

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13:27 Oct-02-2020

Later (in January/20/2020) the CEO was interviewed by Gamespot after the game was first delayed to September, when asked about crunch he said:
"To some degree, yes--to be honest," Kicinski said. "We try to limit crunch as much as possible, but it is the final stage. We try to be reasonable in this regard, but yes. Unfortunately."

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13:27 Oct-02-2020

So, naturally, Jason "I'm blocking everyone who disagrees with me" Schreier left those two quotes out of his bloomberg article, because it didn't fit his narrative (imagine my shock).
He weaponized that word (broken promise) and now you have NPCs acting outraged, blindly quoting articles that have pulled that whole "promise" thing from their asses.

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13:28 Oct-02-2020

And to end my rant, you said "Don't stick up for anyone or any company. They all can do wrong" and I agree with the statement, it goes doubly so for the mainstream "game journalists" who are more activists than journalists.
PLEASE, when quoting next time an article from the mainstream "journalists" do a bit a research beforehand, because behind almost every article of theirs is a secret agenda!

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16:48 Oct-02-2020

I agree with Jaerek here, even the news sites I trusted to some degree used the "broken promise" bait, it seems you need to do your own research now, when..

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16:49 Oct-02-2020

... journos just copy paste news instead of fact checking what they are reporting.

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23:30 Oct-02-2020

I never read the Bloomberg article tbh


And i hate the guy that's a 'journo'


So i can understand all this. Regardless, my statement on crunch time remains the same. It shouldn't exist in any form regardless if they get paid or not. People have lives outside of work and the reason why they haven't delayed the game again is for the holiday sales.


Still, to say I was soy must be funny. There was no outrage from me. What am I? A mob on twitter? Pfft.


Fair enough. You're correct about this whole thing. But i'll let my original comment stay the way it is.

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10:36 Oct-01-2020

Working overtime for 6 weeks and getting paid for it unlike the US companies? Wow, this company is a stain in our society

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11:12 Oct-01-2020

Some people value their free time much more than just a little extra on their salary. Cd projekt red promised no crunch time, yet they broke that promise. Im personally not very happy with this.

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11:39 Oct-01-2020

And I don't recall COVID being a thing when he made that "promise".
You can be disappointed with this decision, i'm not telling you what to think, but if you think overtime doesn't happen in almost every job where you have to meet a deadline, you are delusional.

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12:02 Oct-01-2020

I value my free time. But if I really have to meet a deadline,as a professional that's what I'll do, even if I have to drag myself and swear a lot. Every project need to have a deadline, and a deadline need to be fulfilled. 20 years exp

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12:46 Oct-01-2020

@Bluesblabber i agree, however if company takes multiple delays for their project at least choose reasonable deadline and not at your employees expense.

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13:05 Oct-01-2020

Ideally it's like what you said. But unfortunately,it's almost never going to be ideal. The pressure must go somewhere,and most of the time it's gonna end up on the employee's hands.

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04:54 Oct-02-2020

And with this particular project, there's certainly a lot of pressure.

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20:17 Oct-02-2020

Of course,just look how scary people's expectations are.To make it short,every great thing often comes at a very high price.I can't stop wondering why this became such an issue.Facepalming excessively

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10:25 Oct-01-2020

I'd rather them delay the game as long as it takes....... people have lives outside of their work, and they need to be allowed to live them.

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10:45 Oct-01-2020

Just how much polishing does a game which was "ready" since April get?

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10:53 Oct-01-2020

I mean the game's been in development for years though, I think people can wait a little longer if it allowed them to avoid "mandatory crunch"..... IMO a better option would be just to release it as "early access" and put the finishing touches on the game as we play it....... but a large portion of gamers would disagree with me there.

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10:59 Oct-01-2020

I mean they shouldn't have said in April that the game is ready, but it's getting a delay to polish it. Then another delay to polish it more. Now they're working overtime like mad to finish this polishing. I just think the game was a complete mess back then and it's not even guaranteed this November release date is final, which is sad. Losing the hype.

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11:00 Oct-01-2020

The way I see it, knock $10 off the price, release as early access for digital distribution on all platforms, when the game's finally done, tack that $10 back on, and start releasing physical copies for console...... I'd personally be more than happy to get in on that..... save a little money on the game while agreeing to play a less than polished version of it for a while, and then can revisit it again when it's 100% complete.

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11:05 Oct-01-2020

I get what you're saying Havoc92..... and I agree, don't say it's ready if it's not..... One thing I liked and at the same time hated about Blizzards old policy is that they would tell you "it's ready when it's ready", removing any release time expectations and disappointments, but the reason I also hated it, is because it didn't tell us anything at all about a release time frame.

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18:15 Oct-01-2020

No i totally disagree with that "fix later " mentallity , if i pay for something i want that thing to perform as best a possible, now i dont know how much can be done by adding an extra 6 days of polishing considering they got plenty of time to iron those bugs out, and to think the game was set to release on april.

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03:31 Oct-02-2020

Yes me too. First impression is the one for me in terms of games. And as a singleplyer AAA game it should be released in the most grand form. It's ok by me even if they dealt again (I hope they don't) but early access no never for a sp game

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16:01 Oct-01-2020

Tell it to the idiots riding the hype train... I've seen plenty of comments from people saying stuff along the lines of "if they delay it one more time I'll lose all interest"... Imagine being a developer/studio/marketer and reading this type of stuff. Ideally - you'd just ignore them, but it's not an ideal world.

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17:46 Oct-04-2020

Only problem I see with that is that this game has already been delayed multiple times. "Crunch" in the gaming industry has always been seen as bad but in almost every field of work there is a time when overtime is necessary to get work done.

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10:11 Oct-01-2020

Unless the people that are being crunched say otherwise I dont believe them.

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10:23 Oct-01-2020

Even then I wouldn't believe them...... Plenty of times I've worked at companies that pushed overtime onto its employees, and even when it's not "mandatory", they try to guilt trip you into it, and most of the employees will fall for it because they don't want to be "that guy", the guy who's seen as not being a "team player", so they will agree to do it even though they would rather be living their lives, all to prevent being seen as "the weak link"..... it's a psychological game employers play.

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11:29 Oct-01-2020

I saw a comment from a CDPR employee who said that journalists blown this story out of proportion.

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11:58 Oct-01-2020

yeah, and I'm sure that one employee speaks for all.......

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13:54 Oct-01-2020

I'll trust him more than I trust journos that blew up this situation for clicks.

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