CDPR devs will be 'forced' to work crunch hours on Cyberpunk 2077 despite promises to...

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,566   +591
Staff member
A hot potato: Crunch time among game developers has been something of a hot button issue over the last few years. CD Projekt Red has said on numerous occasions that it would not force developers to work crunch hours. With the Cyberpunk 2077 deadline looming, now its studio head is saying the company has no choice.

Initially slated for an April 16, 2020 release, CD Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077 has suffered two delays. The first pushed the game out to September 17 of this year, and the second seemed to finalize the release date as November 19. With slightly over a month and a half to go until that final due date, CDPR is reportedly finding the need to require crunch time.

Bloomberg reports that the developer has mandated that all staff work six days per week until release. Requiring employees to work overtime during the run-up to launch is not an uncommon practice for game developers. However, it is something that CD Project Red said it would never do.

In May of last year that CDPR co-founder Marcin Iwiński said that the company has a "non-obligatory crunch policy." There are times when extra hours are needed, but Iwiński made it pretty clear that crunch would not be forced.

"We want to be more humane and treat people with respect," Iwiński told Kotaku. "If they need to take time off, they can take time off. Nobody will be frowned upon if this will be requested." A month later, in another interview with Kotaku, Iwiński again promised that employees working on Cyberpunk would not be required to work overtime "no matter what."

However, in January of this year, the tune began to change. In an investor call, studio heads discussing the delay of Cyberpunk 2077 mentioned the necessity of crunch. When asked if employees would be "required to put in crunch hours," CEO Adam Kicinski said they would.

"We try to limit crunch as much as possible, but it is the final stage," said Kicinski, while adding, "We try to be reasonable in this regard, but yes. Unfortunately."

Bloomberg obtained an email from Cyberpunk game director and studio head Adam Badowski. In it, Badowski claimed that due to the bugs and glitches that are still in the game, the company has no choice but to shift into "overdrive."

"Starting today, the entire studio is in overdrive, [meaning] your typical amount of work and one day of the weekend," Badowski's email read.

Badowski indicated that he was well aware of what the company had said on multiple occasions and is willing to take full responsibility for the broken promise.

"I take it upon myself to receive the full backlash for the decision. 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."

It is not all bad news, however. For one, CDPR is based in Warsaw, Poland, and is required by law to provide overtime pay. It's worth noting that overtime occurring at night and on Sunday requires 100-percent remuneration (double time). Additionally, Badowski posted a tweet earlier today, noting that employees could still count on receiving bonuses equaling 10 percent of the company's annual profit.

That is no small sum. Analysts project CD Projekt Red to rake in over $520 million this year, which could equate to bonuses into the tens of thousands of dollars. So on top of overtime pay, employees will be seeing large lump-sum payouts for the inconveniences they suffered during the crunch.

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Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,566   +591
Staff member
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6 weeks of crunch to squash bugs after delaying the release by 7 months?

I'm definitely waiting for reviews before I spend my $70.
I already have a pre-order, but only because Amazon had it marked down to $50 back in March.
 
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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,474   +5,980
If they pay them OT or comp-time I don't see a problem, but if these guys are "on salary" I'd want to sit down and renegotiate my rate. I've walked away from employer's that try a fast one on that by telling you after your hired that there is this one "little" condition. And strangely enough, when I ask, each employer has been willing to put it in writing with a guarantee of paying the OT or Comp if necessary. Dosen't work for most, but then again, the high quality employer is the one I'm after .....
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 1,978   +2,420
If they pay them OT or comp-time I don't see a problem, but if these guys are "on salary" I'd want to sit down and renegotiate my rate. I've walked away from employer's that try a fast one on that by telling you after your hired that there is this one "little" condition. And strangely enough, when I ask, each employer has been willing to put it in writing with a guarantee of paying the OT or Comp if necessary. Dosen't work for most, but then again, the high quality employer is the one I'm after .....
This type of work is almsot always salaried, for this very reason, to get extra work out of you.

As an hourly guy, the concept of forced 6 day OT is shocking. Our employee contract states that OT is not mandatory, because work life balance is a thing and I'm hired in to do my 40 hours. Being allowed to force OT sounds ripe for abuse.
 

noel24

Posts: 633   +653
I don't get It. Until coronavirus strike, overtime was like my main source of disposable income. Thanks to light work on every second weekend I did annually like 140% of my contract money in 2019. But on the other hand, I'm single and love My job, so I was happy. Game devs must really hate Their jobs, if this "crunch" is something bad
 

Theinsanegamer

Posts: 1,978   +2,420
I don't get It. Until coronavirus strike, overtime was like my main source of disposable income. Thanks to light work on every second weekend I did annually like 140% of my contract money in 2019. But on the other hand, I'm single and love My job, so I was happy. Game devs must really hate Their jobs, if this "crunch" is something bad
"light work every second weekend" is a totally different animal from "12-14 hour days 6 days a week for 6+ weeks". "crunch time" in this industry can often mean more hours that that, sleeping in the office, doing nothing but bug fixing 16+ hours a day 7 days a week. Cmon now.

I'm guessing you did your overtime willingly, instead of being told "you will work these hours". Mentally there is a chasm of difference and the effect on one's psyche.
 

Uncle Al

Posts: 7,474   +5,980
"light work every second weekend" is a totally different animal from "12-14 hour days 6 days a week for 6+ weeks". "crunch time" in this industry can often mean more hours that that, sleeping in the office, doing nothing but bug fixing 16+ hours a day 7 days a week. Cmon now.

I'm guessing you did your overtime willingly, instead of being told "you will work these hours". Mentally there is a chasm of difference and the effect on one's psyche.
As long as they pay, I'm there to work ......
 
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Peter Farkas

Posts: 452   +239
How disappointing it will be if even after this players will feel they are beta testers... though we are not talking about EA this time so there is hope ;)
 

Krackan

Posts: 53   +61
So they're getting paid OT, it's one extra 8 hour day for the next 6 weeks, and they get a cut of the profits? What's the problem here, exactly? If you're not happy with that kind of setup, I'd highly suggest you look into self employment, because you will not find many businesses period that will offer anything close to that.
 

Evernessince

Posts: 5,402   +5,992
This type of work is almsot always salaried, for this very reason, to get extra work out of you.

As an hourly guy, the concept of forced 6 day OT is shocking. Our employee contract states that OT is not mandatory, because work life balance is a thing and I'm hired in to do my 40 hours. Being allowed to force OT sounds ripe for abuse.
That's in the US. The EU is much stricter when it comes to overtime, especially for salaried workers. There are also limits in place to the number of overtime hours worked.
 

Squid Surprise

Posts: 3,440   +2,334
This type of work is almsot always salaried, for this very reason, to get extra work out of you.

As an hourly guy, the concept of forced 6 day OT is shocking. Our employee contract states that OT is not mandatory, because work life balance is a thing and I'm hired in to do my 40 hours. Being allowed to force OT sounds ripe for abuse.
It isn’t salaried.... and they’ll get double pay for the overtime worked.... not to mention fairly substantial bonuses... did you read the article?
 
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SixTymes

Posts: 60   +27
I hope the "forced"work does not end up compromising the finished game. That said, I need a job, I wouldn't mind being "forced" to work on a cool game like this, and the forced work isn't forever, put the extra effort in and be thankful you had the chance in life to work on something so epic.Hire me, ill gladly put in crazy hours until its perfectly impressive.
 
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GeforcerFX

Posts: 961   +447
For a 6 week window, with the pay they can expect I think most on the team will find it fair, and if they can't for a important reason I see CDPR being the company that will work around that at this time. I have heard of dev teams being in crunch for 3-4 months and that's pretty insane. Having it be a little sprint at the finish I think a lot of people can find acceptable, again especially knowing they have some extra cash heading their way for sure.
 
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Nobina

Posts: 2,659   +2,289
It's sad how nobody cares whether these people would get to see their homes and how this will negatively affect their physical and mental health. Extra money is great until a certain point where you're overworked as hell. Just hope the game turns out good, right?
 

Ben1978

Posts: 82   +67
So they're getting paid OT, it's one extra 8 hour day for the next 6 weeks, and they get a cut of the profits? What's the problem here, exactly? If you're not happy with that kind of setup, I'd highly suggest you look into self employment, because you will not find many businesses period that will offer anything close to that.
I think I agree. These guys aren't working in a chicken factory. They're working on a state of the art videogame in a very nice office. Sure, there shouldn't be constant overtime, but in the lead up to a massive release like this it doesn't seem crazy.
 
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Burty117

Posts: 3,860   +1,750
It's sad how nobody cares whether these people would get to see their homes and how this will negatively affect their physical and mental health. Extra money is great until a certain point where you're overworked as hell. Just hope the game turns out good, right?
It's for six weeks with double pay, they're adults not children, I'm sure they can cope...

Remember they still get a day each weekend off, this really isn't news worthy, it's only in the news because the boss said a year ago this wouldn't be needed.
 

orbital

Posts: 9   +7
There are a few points to be considered here and game developers' one is just one of them. This is a highly competitive field where only one little mistake/glitchy title could ruin a long-term successful business.

Cyberpunk 2077 must be a success for CDPR and its entire future now depends on it. I am sure the management there highly appreciates the people working on the game but at the same time it is also about stakeholders, investors, distributors, electronic platforms, etc. all linked together in an exceptionally complicated net of deadlines, releases, promises, losses for breaking them and so on. At the same time, game developers like everyone else who feels confident they can do a fortune on their own and could not be forced to do crunch hours are free to do so and even create a new CDPR and manage it, eventually reaching similar decisions at certain stages of its own development. Competition here is fierce so as you are big, tomorrow you may be gone, forever.

Although, to be honest, being part of a leading game company enjoying the fruits and the prestige of your work all the time having to push yourself on for a few weeks only - being paid OT + bonuses (so nothing to complain really) - is not much of a sacrifice, especially in this lonely covid19 environment where physical interaction and socialising takes place on remote communication platforms only.
 
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McMurdeR

Posts: 201   +161
That's a generous bonus scheme in fairness. Having said that, the extra day is problematic due to the precedence it sets. The gaming industry will struggle to retain talent under those conditions, which will only exasperate the problem. Parents with small children, for example, can rule out working for any organisation that does that.