Like many game studios, The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red engages in crunch – forced overtime – especially in the weeks and months leading up to a title’s final release. CD Projekt recently announced to employees that everyone would be required to work six days a week leading up to the Cyberpunk 2077 release date, and then delayed the game.
In comments during an investors call recently, co-CEO Adam Kiciński said that crunch on Cyberpunk 2077 is “not that bad – and never was”. Kiciński acknowledged that some parts of the team “have been crunching heavily”, including testers, engineers, and programmers, but said that “a large part of the team is not crunching at all since they have finished their work”, and downplayed the toll of the forced overtime on the rest of the studio.
“It’s not that heavy. Of course, it will be extended a bit, but we have feedback from the team. They’re happy about the extra three weeks, so we don’t see any threats regarding crunch.”
“From the bottom of my heart, I would like to apologise to everyone for what I said during Tuesday’s investor conference call,” Kiciński says in a new email to employees, which Bloomberg News received a copy of. “I had not wanted to comment on crunch, yet I still did, and I did it in a demeaning and harmful way.”
Kiciński adds that “I have nothing to say in my defense. What I said was not even unfortunate, it was utterly bad. For that, please accept my most sincere and honest apologies.” He concludes the email by inviting employees to speak with him directly.
Here's CD Projekt Red co-CEO Adam Kiciński talking to investors about crunch yesterday (left) and him apologizing to his employees for those comments today in an email obtained by Bloomberg News (right). Quite a turnaround pic.twitter.com/YaYNtPDphY
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) October 29, 2020
Crunch and forced overtime are bad, no matter what industry you’re in, and no matter what financial incentives you’re receiving to encourage you to stick through it. Two years ago, we published an article titled ‘How can we be gamers in an industry that is hurting its developers?‘, in which we spoke with industry advocates about what players can do to help developers forced into absurd hours.
The answer isn’t boycotts. Developers are still proud of their work and deserve support. But you can look forward to and enjoy Cyberpunk 2077 without trivialising the experience of crunching developers or trying to sweep those issues under the rug.