Cyberpunk 2077 was heavily criticised following its 2020 launch for containing numerous bugs and glitches. But a new leak from a supposed whistleblower suggests that developer CD Projekt Red may not be entirely to blame, as it was misled by third-party quality assurance company Quantic Labs.
In a video posted by Upper Echelon Gamers, and originally reported by Forbes, an anonymous whistleblower – who contacted Upper Echelon directly – shares a 72-page document outlining how Quantic Labs, which has previously delivered QA services on games like Wreckfest, and CDPR’s own The Witcher 3, made false claims about the seniority of the QA team working on Cyberpunk 2077, and created a quota system which incentivised employees to focus on trivial rather than significant bugs.
Upper Echelon claims to have received workflow charts, production maps, and spreadsheets documenting worker productivity that were all created within Quantic Labs between 2019 — when it was first approached by CDPR to work on Cyberpunk — and 2020.
The whistleblower outlines how in the fourth financial quarter of 2019, Quantic Labs originally met with CDPR which wanted to use the company’s third-party QA services following the work that it had completed on The Witcher 3. According to the whistleblower’s report, CDPR believed that the Cyberpunk team would be comprised of the same QA-industry veterans that had worked on The Witcher, when in fact Quantic Labs assigned junior staff, some with less than one year of experience, to oversee quality assurance on the sci-fi RPG.
After being contracted, Quantic Labs allegedly created an in-house quota system to motivate QA testers, expecting each tester to find and report at least ten bugs per day. According to the whistleblower, this led testers to seek out small visual and performance-issue problems, rather than larger bugs, as these were easier to identify and would more quickly contribute to their daily total. It is claimed that CDPR eventually became overwhelmed with these small-scale glitches, and redirected Quantic Labs to focus on Cyberpunk’s larger issues.
In response, in the summer of 2020, Quantic increased the size of its Cyberpunk QA team from 30 to 60 testers. The majority of these new testers, however, were allegedly new hires who either received two to four weeks of initial training, or were otherwise trained while also actively working on the game. The whistleblower claims that, as a result of its committment to Cyberpunk, Quantic Labs started to make false claims about the size of the QA teams it had assigned to its other projects — in order to assure and maintain relationships with clients besides CDPR, Quantic Lab would exaggerate the number of testers that it had committed to their projects.
We have contacted both CD Projekt Red and Quantic Labs for comment on this story, and will provide any updates as they arrive.