Cyberpunk 2077 developers face mandatory crunch, 6-day working weeks to finish the game

In a major U-turn from the company’s executives, CD Projekt Red will be crunching its way to the finish line on Cyberpunk 2077.

by Rob Leane
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There’s no denying that Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the most hyped games around right now – but now we’re hearing that this hot title will involve a lot of overtime behind the scenes.

“Crunch”, the act of game developers working extra hours in a last-ditch attempt to finish a title before it ships, is a hot-button topic in the gaming world right now. And it’s something of a shame to hear that Cyberpunk 2077 is going to involve some crunch, especially when CD Projekt Red previously stated an opposite intent.

READ MORE: The ultimate pre-order guide for Cyberpunk 2077

Keep reading for the full story, which involves quite a big U-turn from the Cyberpunk 2077 bosses…

Crunch is on the cards…

In a report from the legendary games journalist Jason Schreier, Bloomberg has revealed that six-day working weeks will be mandatory at CD Projekt Red as development on Cyberpunk 2077 nears the finish line.

The increased workload for staff was reportedly described in an internal email as “your typical amount of work and one day of the weekend.”

CD Projekt Red’s studio head, Adam Badowski, said this in the email: “I take it upon myself to receive the full backlash for the decision.” And, of course, it’s easy to see the negatives in a story like this – staff are being forced to work one day every weekend, which is when they would traditionally be spending time with their families.

Badowski has shared a statement on Twitter to confirm that employees will be “well compensated for every extra hour they put in.” So at least it isn’t unpaid overtime we’re talking about here.

… which is a huge U-turn

Back in 2019, Marcin Iwiński of CD Projekt Red told Kotaku that his team was “committed” to the idea of its staff working a normal amount of hours and not a minute more.

At the time, Iwiński explained that this worker-friendly approach was being taken “because we really care about the people that are making this game. It’s not me coding personally or painting something, it’s the super-talented folks that decided to join us, and I want to make sure they feel taken care of and respected.”

Flash forward to September 2020, though, and every member of staff is being made to work one extra day every weekend.

In the aforementioned internal email, Badowski said: “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.”

The Cyberpunk 2077 release date is currently set for 19th November 2020 – that’s a big launch window, positioning the game as the perfect title to help you transition onto PS5 or Xbox Series X just before Christmas.

It’s easy to see why Badowski wouldn’t want to delay the game again and miss those important points in the 2020 calendar, but still, it’s a shame to hear that so much crunch will be required to make that happen.

READ MORE: Cyberpunk 2077 custom headsets revealed

Rob Leane