In the lead-up to Cyberpunk 2077's November release, publisher CD Projekt Red has reportedly instituted mandatory crunch in order to get the game released on time. A staff email acquired by Bloomberg states that the company will be taking on a six-day work week. A source for Bloomberg also claimed that crunch has been an issue at the publisher for the last few months, despite CD Projekt Red's previous assurances that it would not be required for the game. In the company email, studio head Adam Badowski acknowledged the disconnect from previous statements, and stated that there were no other options.
“I take it upon myself to receive the full backlash for the decision,” Badowski said 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.”
Developer crunch has long been one of the most controversial elements of the video game industry. To get games released on time, publishers often task employees with working difficult hours, often without increased pay. Unfortunately, this seems to be a very common practice throughout the industry. It should be noted, however, that CD Projekt Red is based in Poland, where laws prohibit employees from working without overtime pay. At this time, CD Projekt Red has not issued a statement on the reports of crunch.
With the next generation of gaming about to start, the cost of video game development will only continue to rise. Gamers expect to see video games that truly push this new hardware to its limits, but these kinds of experiences are getting costlier for publishers. There has been a lot of pushback against rising video game prices, but the increasing costs and risk involved just might be the best argument in favor of $70 software. It remains to be seen whether or not this might provide enough cushion to dissuade publishers from leaning on the practice, but it's clear that something has to give.
Cyberpunk 2077 is set to release on November 19th for PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, and PC, with a Google Stadia release to follow. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the game right here.
Are you looking forward to Cyberpunk 2077? What do you think of the reports of crunch at the publisher? Let us know in the comments or share your thoughts directly on Twitter at @Marcdachamp to talk about all things gaming!