Without a doubt, one of the most anticipated titles to release this year is CD Projekt Reds’ Cyberpunk 2077. We’re just a little more than six weeks away from the official launch date of November 19, and at this point, we’re all aboard the hype train and it’s full steam ahead. Unfortunately, it looks like the developers on the project are going into overdrive in order to get the product ready in time for the release. Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier reported that an email was sent out to the employees of the company which stated that they will now be working “mandatory” six-day workweeks ahead of the game’s launch, despite stating the previous year that they would try to avoid any type of crunch hours.
A Polish video game developer is making 6-day work weeks mandatory leading up to the November release of the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 https://t.co/NE19Tcm5ia
— Bloomberg (@business) September 30, 2020
On two different discussions with Schreier when he was still working for Kotaku, CD Projekt Red’s co-founder Marcin Iwiński addressed the potential crunch situation, stating that “we want to be more humane and treat people with respect.” While Iwiński didn’t outright state that crunch would never happen, his wording made it seem like they were going to do the best they could to stay away from it. Sadly, it looks like this never really panned out as Schreier also points out in his report that an unnamed employee from the company spoke to him and mentioned that “some staff had already been putting in nights and weekends for more than a year.”
CD Projekt Red Studio Head Adam Badowski responded to the mandatory crunch with a tweet. In his statement, Badowski says that the next six weeks will essentially be paramount for the final product. In what he calls “one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make” Badowski went ahead and approved the crunch time for the entire development team. Badowski also states that every employee will be compensated for the extra hours that they work, including 10% of the annual profit that the company brings in which is distributed among the staff. Bloomberg also spoke with the company’s Chief Financial Officier Piotr Nielubowicz, who mentioned that Cyberpunk 2077’s launch date “won’t be changed” with the main reasoning behind the crunch being to eliminate any major bugs that they find within the game.
— Adam Badowski (@AdamBadowski) September 30, 2020
Anytime a studio goes into crunch mode, there’s going to be some speculation as to whether they can deliver the title be the launch date. In most instances, the studio makes it to the finish line in time, but the cost and sacrifices that they make to get there are sometimes too much. In the worst-case scenario, the game needs to be pushed back, which is understandable and completely acceptable by most people’s standards. The main concern here is that that Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed twice already, once in January, and again in June.
While it is highly unlikely that the game will suffer this a third time, it doesn’t exactly help the fact that the company is going into crunch mode just to remove some bugs and fix the mechanics. Hopefully, the developers don’t overwork themselves just to get through this.