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'Cyberpunk 2077' Developer Mandates Crunch Ahead Of Launch, Despite Past Promises

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'Cyberpunk 2077' Developer Mandates Crunch Ahead Of Launch, Despite Past Promises

CD Projekt Red has informed its employees that they will be undertaking six day work weeks in order to complete Cyberpunk 2077 ahead of its launch in November.

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The report comes from Bloomberg's Jason Schreier. Sent by studio head Adam Badowski, the email to the team explained that developers will be paid for their overtime on the project. "Starting today, the entire (development) studio is in overdrive," he said, and this would mean they would be in the office for "your typical amount of work and one day of the weekend."

This is disappointing news. Last year, the company stated that it took its "non-obligatory crunch policy" seriously, and even if people were asked to work late or into the weekend, they were able to refuse. In early January, it broke the news that Cyberpunk 2077 would be delayed, and that employees would still crunch to finish the game within the new timeframe. This admission was worlds away from "the doom and gloom times of The Witcher 3," according to an anonymous developer. "If we manage to do our stuff on time and it gets approved by QA we can leave after eight hours. Nobody makes us stay or looks down at us for it," the source said.

Cyberpunk 2077 / Credit: CD Projekt Red
Cyberpunk 2077 / Credit: CD Projekt Red
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Now, CD Projekt Red has done a U-turn, and it's not a good look. "I take it upon myself to receive the full backlash for the decision," conceded Badowski in the email. "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."

Previously, the company had patted itself on the back because there is a "healthy pressure" to do well in the workplace. "We get a lot of new guys coming in, and they go, 'Oh god, this is like too much.' But then we have other guys come in from Rockstar Games, and they're like, 'This is not even crunch!'" said studio head John Mamais at PAX Aus 2019. This is sort of like jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire and somehow seeing it as an upgrade.

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In a post published to Twitter, CD Projekt Red head of studio Adam Badowski has responded to the report, and expressed that this was "one of the hardest decisions" he's had to make. "These last six weeks are our final sprint on a project we've all spent much of our lives on. Something we care for deeply," he said. "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."

Cyberpunk 2077 / Credit: Projekt Red
Cyberpunk 2077 / Credit: Projekt Red
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Cyberpunk 2077 will launch for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC on November 19, with next-gen versions on their way in 2021.

Featured Image Credit: CD Projekt Red

Topics: Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red

Imogen Donovan
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