After the roaring success of Witcher 3 the developer CD Projekt Red started working on a new game, Cyberpunk 2077 and as approaching the release date is ensuring that the employees will experience less “crunch” than in the past.
In video games industry, the concept of “crunch” refers to mandatory overtime, usually couched as a part of a final push to finish a game and is the point at which the developers’ team is thought to be failing to launch the game on a specific release date. In fact, the quality of life and work of video game workers is a recurrent theme in discussions regarding the state of gaming industry at large. In many cases the employees are afraid that refusal to work overtime will lead to direct or indirect consequences. According to the contract developers are in the overtime hours may or may not be paid, and if paid sometimes is poor compensation for the long hours anyway. People cannot talk about it openly as it might affect their current or future job opportunities.
Two years ago, in 2017, few former members of staff of CD Projekt Red complained about tiresome long hours and the pressure they had at work. Although the studio co-founder Marcin Iwinski and studio head Adam Badowski not only that they did not deny it , they confirmed it and also defended its implementation by saying that such pressure “creates innovation and makes it possible for us to say we’ve worked really hard on something, and we think it’s worth your hard-earned cash.”
This situation is not unique, many other companies like Rockstar Games, NetherRealm Studios, Riot Games and the now-bankrupt Telltale Games. All of them pledged to improve their employees working conditions, except Telltale Games who continued to declare until its bankruptcy that crunch was a good thing.
This year CD Projekt Red appears to work on elevating its employees’ labour conditions stating that the studio wants to be more “humane” in its approach.
It is expected to get a release date of Cyperpunk 2077 sometimes in June, this year.
Chris Mcfadden is the lead editor for Swerd Media. Chris has written for several online publications including the Huffington Post, Vanity Fair and Bleacher Report. Chris is based in Los Angeles and covers issues affecting California. When he’s not busy writing, Chris enjoys traveling and hiking.