The most heavily anticipated game of the year might be just as anticipated next year. With all the delays we’re looking at here, they might have to change the year in the game’s name to keep it futuristic. Still, the latest news comes out of the blue, without any formal statements. Apparently, developers and the public found out at the same time that Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed till December 10th.
This is a serious lapse in professionalism from Polish company CDProjekt RED. We get that it’s busy in there, but can’t they at least tell their own employees what’s going on?
One of the most beloved developers in the world for making The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, CDProjektRED is loved by gamers worldwide. And they’ve been magnanimous in the past with their fanbase, offering cheaper prices in poor countries. They’ve even given out free DLC to their games!
However, while CDProjekt RED spoils consumers with lavish gifts and Keanu Reeves, their own workers don’t get that kind of treatment. It’s tough love when you’re working on their products, especially like we’ve seen with Cyberpunk 2077. Let’s look at the latest in this story.
Cyberpunk’s delays make crunch worse than usual
We stoically accepted that Cyberpunk’s April 2020 release was too good to be true. We were all happy waiting till September, instead of the August date we were promised. But we were disappointed when the game had to be delayed from September to November because it was simply misleading to offer pre-orders so soon on a game that was clearly not anywhere near completion. Still, we held our tongues…
Until we heard that developers were being forced to work long, 80 hours, six days a week shifts with no clear end in sight. Now, we all know this isn’t unusual for the video game industry. Almost every game hires huge numbers of staff before launching a video game, works their fingers to the bone, and fires them after launch. Is that fair? Of course not! But it is a standard way to go.
Except with this game, the developers started crunching months in advance. Crunch usually doesn’t last that long. It isn’t possible to work 80 hours a week and be healthy and active.
Cyberpunk devs were never given an option to crunch or not
Game Informer released a podcast where it suggested that the developers took a unanimous decision to crunch. The podcast made it sound as though the higher-ups had no choice but to allow crunch, following an outcry by staff. Of course, that doesn’t sound like real life.
Turns out, that never happened. A trusted source for Cyberpunk leaks and news confirmed that devs had no say in whether they wanted excessively long work hours. They got commands, not options. That gives us a moral question of whether CDProjekt RED is abusing their employees, and whether this game is ethically sourced to buy.
The delays are probably because exhausted workers can’t work efficiently
It isn’t often that a video game gets delayed. Game developers spend long hours making sure their announcement is picture-perfect; they don’t overpromise often. Sure, Halo: Infinite got delayed, yeah, but that was due to COVID-19, not because a company overpromised.
Cyberpunk’s numerous delays might not be just because of the workload. The amount of work has been more or less the same since September. Developers aren’t getting as much done in the same amounts of time, it seems, due to exhaustion.
However, it is true that the finishing touches take the longest, too. In any case, this is just speculation, but we need to keep an ear to the ground to hear the developers out, not the executives on podcasts trying to cover their tracks.