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CDPR Studio Head, Adam Badowski, Addresses Concerns Over Crunch Near Release of Cyberpunk 2077

Via Twitter: "These last 6 weeks are our final sprint on a project we've all spent much of our lives on. Something we care for deeply. The majority of the team understands that push, especially in light of the fact that we've just sent the game to cert and every day brings us visibly closer to shipping a game we want to be proud of. This is one of the hardest decisions I've had to make, but everyone is well compensated for every extra hour they put in. And, like in recent years, 10% of the annual profit of our company generates in 2020 will be split directly among the team."

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stevej33619d ago

But but but these poor slaves being forced to work OT and be paid for a project they have spent many years working on. Has any actual employees involved said one word about it?

solideagle19d ago

As long as employees get double pay for that off day any dev wouldn't mind. When I am asked to work on Saturday or Sunday mostly we are told to take day off whenever I want. Double pay is during high value projects which will make 100 million pounds.

I wonder if they are being paid double or not

--Onilink--19d ago

Except they are not being asked, they are being told to, and its not just a random saturday or sunday, its every week until the game comes out.
And seeing how its like that, they are obviously not getting another day off instead, as that would defeat the purpose of actually having people work 6 days a week during crunch.

Also, though as far as I know CDPR does pay that extra day (cant say if its more than usual), there are many companies that do not pay those extras.

So yeah, while crunch in itself is not that uncommon in several industries, in gaming in particular it can be pretty bad depending on who you work with

Tapani19d ago (Edited 19d ago )

While I'm all for workers rights and always dislike crunch because it could be avoided by using more money to hire more workers, I also understand that this is a business. And I would not force my subordinates to work on Satursdays either. But the reality is that it's hard to work from home and be equally motivated, WFH doesn't automatically improve productivity, and in fact for some industries it can be quite a catastrophe.

I also know that in life, and business, and in war and love, nothing extraordinary was never accomplished without extraordinary effort. Sometimes we need to push ourselves to the limits.

I think these guys are motivated by that 10% and the promilles they would get of that would quite honestly be a life changer for many of them, plus it's a passion project for most of them. In fact, I'd be surprised if there's nothing more than a marginal minority who'd complain about this. It's four extra days for the biggest project of their lifetime, plus they get well compensated for it.

I don't like the way it's mandatory, but I'd be surprised if they didn't discuss this beforehand with the teams. They probably knew about this, said yes, and then it was announced. If it didn't go that way and they learned it from the media, then that's another discussion altogether.

RpgSama19d ago

I don't care about employees doing crunch when approaching a deadline, it happens in every industry, I had different degrees of "crunch" on basically every job I ever had and what I do has nothing to do with game development.

The only thing I mind it's the double standards, if X developer does crunch, then they are the devil, if CDPR does crunch then people say it's part of the business and part of the job and everybody defends CDPR, and like I said before CDPR ain't doing anything bad in my eyes, just the same as the other developers ain't doing anything bad

Christopher19d ago (Edited 19d ago )

Well, those other companies rarely pay for the extra hours worked and I think that's a major difference here. Let alone many of those other crunch periods are at least 3 months if not much longer. There are some differences other than crunch or no crunch to be had here.

Personally, I think this talk of crunch we're experiencing is just one journalist going on a rampage and trying to make it a big deal when crunch exists in most industries and at a rate that is considered "to be expected every day" rather than "at the end of the development cycle." Let alone he misuses what people tell him in interviews, such as the Naughty Dog employees saying they did it to themselves and then blaming Naughty Dog for employees being highly competitive.

I also think it completely ignores the much larger issue in the industry, which is exorbitant contract jobs that open the market for competitive pricing because of too much competition combined with a lack of employee benefits. The industry is becoming a place where people have to sell themselves short to get a job and then pay for their own health care and similar while getting paid less than they would as a full-time employee.

19d ago
Michiel198919d ago

CDPR has publicly stated that they wouldnt do mandatory crunch, because they like to be seen as the saints of the gaming industry, which they are to a degree, but that also comes with the blowback of when they don't keep their promises people will break down on it harder.

Crunch doesnt happen in every industry, especially not mandatory crunch. Also crunch has a power dynamic aspect to it, maybe more so when its not mandatory. Crunch is also always the fault of the people in charge, not the devs, poor planning, wanting to meet deadlines, not enough room for changed plans during development etc.
Mandatory crunch is also pretty disgusting I gotta say, when I sign x hours per week my boss can force me to work 8 hours more for 3 months because they need to meet their deadline? but when i would be in financial issues and say to my boss, i want paid for a day extra per week for 3 months guess whats gonna happen?

neutralgamer199219d ago

solideagle

Exactly man these developers start from $75,000 plus and they make upwards of six-seven figures from game sales profits/bonuses

Michiel198919d ago

hahahaha you think all devs at cdpr make 75k +? they are located in POLAND, do I need to elaborate more? ALso they hire a lot of young folks fresh out of college for assets creation etc.

There is a youtube channel of a woman who worked at there and left, cant remember the name. She had some interesting insight in how the studio works behind the scenes.

neutralgamer199219d ago

i am giving you the average starting salary in game development. also the way CDPR games sell those bonus checks must be nice(or do they also not offer bonuses based on game sales which is standard industry practice)

stefd7519d ago (Edited 19d ago )

you know its not just devs that work on making games, i get fed up with people keep going on about the Dev's , im a QA tester and i never heard anyone sticking up for us, or the audio engineers, translators,producers or any other dept. When crunch time happens..and it happens more then you think then we all chip in, also some people get a monthy wage too.

Michiel198919d ago

there is no average wage for a job, since a lot of it is based on which country it is in. Also 75k even for 1st world countries is extremely high, that is about 6k a month. Especially since dev is kind of a broad word for a job.

I googled cdpr average wage/salary and what I found was 6-8k polish currency which is about 1.2-1.6k. no clue if those numbers are real, but they seem pretty realistic for a good job in Poland.

Michiel198918d ago

@Stef in my definition of devs, qa testers are included. Basically everyone who has anything to do with the creation of the game, and ofcourse testers are helping create the game. Games can have the most deep and interesting systems and deep gameplay, but if it doesnt play well, is buggy or isnt statisfying to play none of that matters.

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Bender650219d ago

Or just maybe, employee's are reluctant to speak out for fear of reprisals . Either way, some level of crunch seems almost inevitable in the video game industry. My concern is not limited amounts of crunch, but whether it's mandatory or optional. This can be the difference between, whey hey, more money or, conversley, mental breakdowns.

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RonsonPL19d ago (Edited 19d ago )

It's about time people stop believing this fairy tale that CDPR is still the company run by "the good guys". They're on stock market now. This means they will act like every other company which feels the pressure from shareholders.

They saw the opportunity to get yet another free PR push by milking the same "look at us, how good we are!" all over again.
They decided to lie about "no, no more crunch here, man, we're too good for this, we care for our workers" cause they knew nothing bad can come out of it. Free PR boost and a perfect excuse for inevitable delay about which they also blatantly lied multiple times.
Now it backfires a bit, but does it, really? With the media coverage it gets? i think they still gained on this lie overall.

Just stop. This is not your "good unckle Iwiński" and his small team of friends who live to bring you awesome games.
Start treating this company as the least evil among the scum. Not as the good company which they surely are not. There was too many lies since 2012 and with more and more money things only get worse.

When CDPR does good, praise them. When they act just like other corporate scum, CALL THEM OUT.
And when you see PR bullshit, try to remember it's PR bullshit. That's really simple.

stevej33619d ago

Shit happens. They are 6 weeks from launch and clearly have some stuff to work out. They are being paid for it so its not like they are all salary workers being forced to work 80 hours ans paid 40.

RonsonPL19d ago

That's not my point. I'm talking about a guy who had an idea "hey! We usually do crunch and it will probably be the same with this game, but I see people talking about this so there's an opportunity for free PR and free PR means free money".

They knew the game is not ready and they kept lying about it.
They are known for showing just empty shells and saying "we're showing a game". I was not sure about this one, when the rumors like this hit the internet a few years ago, after the first gameplay material shown. But if they took so much time, despite the HUGE wave of cash they surprisingly got from the unexpected W3 additional sales thanks to the Netflix series, and after they outsourced the shit out of this game to wherever they could, and they still delayed the game two (three?) times and they had the audacity to say what they said about them being so good hearted and caring about their workers?
No, man. This is too much. This should be a big news. Despite the fact I absolutely disagree about the outcry about the crunch. Those people are mostly very lucky. In here, in Poland, you usually work hard and you can't even afford to pay the bills and buy food. Those people will get huge financial compensation for this crunch. And many of those crying about burnout simply do the living/working stuff wrong, not caring about diet, exercize, sleep or not realizing the things about work like the things Carmack mentioned a few times "you can be more effective if you take a break compared to if you don't". So I guess this problem is vastly overblown and just picked by media cause it's a catchy topic.

But this millionaires (CDPR bosses) using people's empathy to boost their profits like this? This is pathetic and deserves the backlash.
They are doing whatever they see as profitable and the "good guys" image is mostly just PR at this point. I felt this slap on my face (by then, still a fan) many years ago after the disappointment coming from their lies about being basically PC guys who will never gimp the game down to consoles, and I observe a downward spiral while the media and gamer community pushes more and more to present CDPR as gods and angels.

yomfweeee19d ago

Curious, did you ask any employees how they felt? No? Then STFU.

Christopher19d ago

***This means they will act like every other company which feels the pressure from shareholders.***

Not even close for the company yet.

1. They don't do DRM for their games on their store.
2. They work to build tools to bring all storefronts and friends lists on PC together with no extra cost.
3. They do free DLC.
4. They don't do MTX.
5. They don't force you to rebuy games on a cross-gen year.
6. They only have 6 weeks of crunch with employees getting paid overtime as opposed to most major developers doing 3 to 6 months of crunch with no extra pay.
7. They don't do bonuses based on game success but company profits, an extremely rare occurrence in any company let alone software development.

RonsonPL19d ago

I never said you can compare CDPR to scum like Activision or EA.
But your list looks to me like a list of things I should thank a delivery man for not stomping on my package and not charging me premium for delivering it on time, just because all other companies do worse.

1. DRM - And I applaud them for it. This is the most important thing. But on the other side - it should be the norm. I know it's not. You buy a legit copy of the game, and DRM causes load times to be 3x as long, the game requires 6core CPU to run just like it does on 4C CPU without DRMs, you get problems and even can be asked to agree for spyware. DRM should be forbidden in gaming world, but we don't live in such a fairy tale.
2. With all that money they earn? And also because their own GOG Galaxy platform kinda tanks? Nah. Not a thing to praise them. Nice of them to do that, sure, but not a big deal
3. That's also nice. Not that nice that Cyberpunk is made in Poland and the game will cost over 200% of the price they've asked for their big games before. Also, it's not free. The HUGE amount of free marketing coming from their PR image is something you should count in. Imagine a sleezy corporate guy who knows by acting as a good guy they can earn 10 millions when a DLC gives you 5 millions. Not that hard to imagine that "giving" the DLC for free is more profitable. Also, note that the free part is not the only part. I do like them doing the DLCs oldschool way - pay less than a full game, get a lot of good content. But then again, that's like thanking someone for allowing you to breathe. It should be the norm
4. MTX? They already stepped into microtransactions, you know. Just you wait for the company to get less profitable or after their PR mirage falls. I fully expect them to go progressively more and more evil with each passing year. 2025 and full microtransaction-like bullshit? Yup. Not a thing I would call impossible. Remember. For the PR/marketing scheme to work, all they have to do is keep their scum practices behind the "leaders". So if EA and Acti raise the price of each game to 100€ and release a game with "pay 1$ to save game now", current MT bullshit would seem "less aggressive". And by coincidence, go read which words they used the last time they talked about MT in this game. See? :D
5. And that's a good thing. But then again, they release the game in the nextgen launch window. The game should be ready on both gens day-1 and buying it should allow you to play it on both gens of respective market (PS, Xbox)
6. As I just wrote, I know they will compensate. 10% of the profits given to the team must be a LOT of money and I would gladly work my ass off for a year to catch such a bonus. But again, I don't see how not being evil is something to be praised for
7. They are drowning in money. They can do whatever they want. Let's see what future brings.

That said, I still put CDPR in "top 5 huge game corporations in the world" in terms of being consumer-friendly. I am fully aware even comparing them to EA/Activision etc. would be insulting. It's just that I watched YongYea's youtube video just now and I remember my disgust after his previous video-praises and love letters to CDPR. I think the guy does a great job covering the gaming industry stuff, but this is where I am angry at him. He's not the only one. It got to the point where even saying "I don't love CDPR" usually gets you a ton of downvotes and gaming media use CDPR as an example, as they should. But the thing is, the trust and love is not deserved. Not when you see them cashing out on trendy topic half a year ago when they knew it's bullshit.

Christopher19d ago (Edited 19d ago )

***I never said you can compare CDPR to scum like Activision or EA.***

...

******This means they will act like every other company which feels the pressure from shareholders.***

...

***will act like every other company***

...

***every other company***

.\
.
.
.

***But your list looks to me like a list of things I should thank a delivery man for not stomping on my package and not charging me premium for delivering it on time, just because all other companies do worse.***

Yeah, that's not how life works and you know it. It sounds like you just want to complain and not realize the good in the business world.

A better comparison would be to compare them to a person who delivers your mail as expected versus the guy who takes time to hide it from package thieves or even helps you to get it in your house or wraps the box in plastic not because it's raining now but because it might rain later that night and they don't know when you'll get it.

franwex19d ago

Jeez. Sound a little angry there. We get that it sucks, but they did say they will try not to crunch-however that there may be time where they might have to achieve certain milestones-like launching the game!

They are being transparent about it too. They aren’t pulling a Rockstar and keeping a secret and retaliate against employees that talk about it.

So yes, I agree with you. Call them out when they do bad, but also good.

DerfDerf19d ago

Being well compensated for that extra day still makes them the good guys. Most people with meaningful jobs outside of your standard fare have to crunch sometime. It's life.

RonsonPL19d ago

@Christopher
About the comparison to others. They will act like them, but I should've clarify I meant "more and more times". It's not an ON/OFF switch, there's a lot of space between "not at all" and "exactly like them, on every step", but I will apologize for not being clear and for repeating that so many times, which your quotes helped me realize. ;)

About the rest, we'll have to agree to disagree. I have nothing against recognizing good, but people tend to wish for more of it. They want to see good and we are starved for good in corporation's decissions, so people really, really want to use the rose tinted glasses.
Best of evil =/= good.

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sourOG19d ago

Wow look at him whipping his slaves with profit sharing. What a monster.

Christopher19d ago

Certain more than 90% of employees in the world wished they got whipped with potential bonuses based on profits and not being non-existent or at the whim of an individual. Him saying that isn't to remind his employees but to correct the record on whether or not these people were being compensated for their time and effort.

Is he also whipping his slaves by paying them for the overtime they work?

sourOG19d ago (Edited 19d ago )

I was being sarcastic, that’s awesome that they do that. Yeah saying he’s whipping his slaves with generous overtime bonuses would add the same level or sarcastic irony.

sourOG19d ago

Oh c’mon that was way obvious lol

franwex19d ago (Edited 19d ago )

I was suspecting that the game may actually get one last delay. I am hoping it doesn’t happen, but I would understand if it does.

Their investors however would probably not be too happy. I hope the final product turns out well without needing too many patches later or glitches.

Redemption-6419d ago

Here is the sad truth about crunch, some gamers only take issue with crunch when it's a company they don't like. But when a company they like is in the spotlight for the same thing. You will find nothing but a list of excuses. I have been seeing people say, as long as those devs are paid it's ok, I mean the devs at Naughty Dog were paid as well. Being from a very poor village in West Africa, I view crunch differently from most westerners, but I see a lot of hypocrisy from many gamers when it comes to this topic.

loftlanser19d ago

I get what you're saying and people are hypocritical about it, you're right.

However, at this point, can we even call this crunch? Why is it not simply overtime?

It's a game that been in development for almost 4 years, roughly, and they're only now making overtime mandatory for the last 6 weeks.

I'm not even sure this counts as crunch to be fair.

Michiel198919d ago (Edited 19d ago )

it was teased in 2013.
So its been 4+ years and higher ups cant even manage how to finish this project without mandatory crunch while they did promise that publicly and gained public apraise for saying that. Ofcourse they should get flak for that, you reap what you sow. What crunch comes down to, is that the higher ups suck at planning and cant manage a project this size, either cut content or delay the game (both suck), but now the devs are the ones paying for that mistake. If the devs mind the crunch or not doesn't really matter, fact is that they dont even get a say in the matter.

loftlanser17d ago (Edited 17d ago )

@Michiel1989

Game development only started in earnest after Blood&Wine. This has been clarified many times.

They never promised anything. It was repeated many times that they said they'd avoid mandatory overtime as much as possible. They're making a final push for the day one patch for the last 6 weeks out of an approx 208 week development - and even then it's six day week, not a 7 day 80+ hour week as we sometimes hear.

They could have delayed the game just over 1 week and not had to ask for mandatory overtime and then this conversation wouldn't even be happening. So how big a deal can this really be?

It's a storm in a teacup, with journos attempting to make it a bigger story than it is. It's nothing like the horror stories we hear so yeah, I stand by what I said.

I don't think this qualifies as tyrannical, scandalous crunch.

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