Cyberpunk 2077, one of the most anticipated video games in the last decade, has already been postponed three times. Employees at CD Projekt Red, the Polish studio behind the game, reportedly have to work long hours, including six days a week, for more than a year. The practice is called the “crisis” in the video game industry and is unfortunately very common.
This is also something that the management of CD Projekt Red said will not happen to the people who do Cyberpunk 2077.
Video game developers rarely talk openly to the press about their work practices, but that̵
“We are known for respecting gamers,” Ivinsky told Kotaku last year. “And I would actually do it [like] to be known for respecting developers. “One month later, it doubled, without promising during a podcast that the mandatory crisis would not be imposed on its employees.
Shortly afterwards, signs began to appear that Cyberpunk 2077 the project was in trouble.
In January 2020, CD Projekt announced the first game delay. The release date has been moved from April to September. The multiplayer component was also replaced in at least 2022.
“We need more time to finish testing, fixing and polishing,” said Iwinski and studio manager Adam Badowski. “We want Cyberpunk 2077 to be our crowning achievement for this generation and postponing the start will give us the precious months we need to make the game perfect. “
The same day, during a public call with investors, CD Projekt revealed that a crisis would eventually be needed to make the game on time. It would also be mandatory for at least some employees.
“Is the development team required to devote hours to a crisis?” Asked an investor, to whom CD Projekt CEO Adam Kicinski replied, “To some extent, yes, to be honest.”
“We are trying to limit the crisis as much as possible,” Kicinski continued, “but this is the last stage. We try to be reasonable in this regard, but yes. Unfortunately.”
Six months later, the game slowed down for the second time, from September to November. Once again, Ivinsky and Badovsky said it was necessary to spend more time polishing the final game. The COVID-19 pandemic is at least partly to blame.
“The last few months have always been the biggest obstacle, so these are always the most important months,” they write, “and we know that from our past experience. We’ve been there a few times in the past, and of course it’s the first time we’ve done it remotely, so we learn as we go – but that’s as much as I can tell. “
In September, Bloomberg repeated what CD Projekt leaders had told investors months earlier. An expired email required six days of work. Crunch has become a requirement, and according to anonymous officials, some developers have worked on nights and weekends for “more than a year.”
In other words, delays do not mean relief for workers. Often this simply means working at the same grueling pace for extra weeks or months.
But the story doesn’t stop there. In October, CD Projekt announced this Cyberpunk 2077 were “golden”, which means that the almost final code of the game was sent to the major manufacturers of certification consoles to work on their devices. Then – a little over three weeks later – the game slowed down again. Instead of November 19, the game will start on December 10 instead.
This move undoubtedly further prolonged the period of crisis required by CD Projekt workers.
Let it not be a mistake that the practice of crushing is destructive. The fact is that those inside and outside the industry have been recognizing for decades. Human beings have not been made to work such hours, and the real cost of the crisis can be measured in the physical and mental health of the people who are forced to do so – as well as their families. CD Projekt claims to be a progressive company and maintains that employees will benefit from the success of the game they help make. Badowski says employees will share the profits that CD Projekt will make in 2020.
But let’s not sugar it: Crunch is cruel. This is the result of poor management and evidence of neglect of the people working to create the games we love to play. Crunch on this scale and for this duration casts a shadow Cyberpunk 2077 – and actively undermines some of the progressive and warning themes, no doubt present in the game itself.