By now, you probably heard about the recent news about Cyberpunk 2077. With the game coming in next month, it is seemingly all hands on deck at CD Projekt Red to get the game ready for November 19. The problem that we have come to find out though was how a previous promise of “not enforcing crunch” has now become a situation of enforcing six-day workweeks to prepare for the game’s launch.
The issue of “Crunch Time” within the game industry is sadly nothing new, but we are reaching a point where it feels like developers are literally driving themselves to a breaking point. It is a pattern that we’ve seen pop up more often than naught with a wide variety of games seeing crunch periods pop up left and right. Whether if the game is Red Dead Redemption 2, The Last of Us Part 2, Fortnite, Mortal Kombat 11, or The Witcher 3 (just to list off a few examples), games nowadays find themselves seemingly worked on right up to the last minute (and then even longer afterward with day one patches and other post-launch support).
And what is the end result of these Crunch Periods? While the games (mostly) launch to wide acclaim, the stress it puts on those making the games can reach a point where they may find themselves stepping down or looking for work elsewhere. Each case can be different in terms of how we wish to gauge success while other titles can leave some feeling sorry for those who launch a game in a sub-par status.
In the case of Cyberpunk 2077, one can’t help but wonder if they can afford to delay the game any further at this point.
A quick look through at Cyberpunk 2077‘s devlopment
It might seem hard to believe how long Cyberpunk 2077 has been in development. Most people would say the development time is about seven years since we got the “Teaser Trailer” for the game back on January 10, 2013.
We didn’t hear much about Cyberpunk 2077 for some time it would pop up five years later at E3 2018 and then once more the following year when we had Keanu Reeves come out on stage. the world was as big as it was immersive and we were going to get our hands on this game at long last on April 16th 2020. That was until we got our first delay at the start of the year around January 16 for the game getting pushed to September. CD Projekt Red did come out to talk about this in a tweet, but did try to assume everyone they weren’t going to crunch their team.
Well, alright then. Just a few extra months, not like that’s a big deal. Not like the game would be delayed a second time, right? If only… Not only did the world face a particular ongoing crisis at around that time, but at around June 18th, we would get one more tweet talking about the game’s delay to the current date of November 19. We did get the Night City Wire episodes to show how the game’s coming together, but with the game seven weeks out, we find ourselves in this predicament of crunch time.
One more delay couldn’t hurt, could it?
This does leave one wondering what will happen with Cyberpunk 2077. It is commendable that working overtime will bring additional pay for those working on the game (something in which several other video game studios don’t do and is required by Polish Labor laws), but that doesn’t make this situation any better for those who are going to be going all out to be ready for Cyberpunk 2077‘s November release. This was a choice by CD Projekt Red‘s studio head Adam Badowski has he wrote in an email. Even he knew that this decision was going to bring alot of backlash. To quote the article from Bloomberg.
“I take it upon myself to receive the full backlash for the decision,” he wrote. “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.”
One would think that perhaps they could just delay the game one more time to have all the issues squared away and have it ready probably sometime in 2021, right? As hopeful as an idea that would be, it does seem as though time is running out on Cyberpunk.
Consider the following:
If you recall the original date for Cyberpunk 2077‘s release, we would have had our hands on this game back in April. Meanwhile, had they met their previous delay date, Cyberpunk 2077 would have come out two weeks ago. Not to critique the release dates, but back in January, they did say “We are currently at a stage where the game is complete and playable.” They did need to finish the playtesting, polish it up, and finish putting in everything else, but if we take them to their word, they did make it sound like they were nearly final stages. A stage in which seemingly 8-9 months later, the game would be ready to roll.
Even at the time of the Bloomberg report, Jason Schreier did point out the shares for CD Projekt dropping 3% to close at 418.4 zloty (which is about $108.24). And why did it drop? According to Trigon analyst Kacper Kopron, the news about crunch could have weakened the sentiment to stocks. Something to which could become a bigger issue if they were to postpone the game’s launch even further.
So in a sense: one could say we are at a point where Cyberpunk 2077 can’t afford another delay.
This isn’t to justify Crunch by any means. However, it is clear where things stand, and the game has to be ready in November. One more delay and that would cause red flags to raise high (if they weren’t already). Hopefully, when that time comes, Cyberpunk 2077 will be all ready to go. But from here going forward, many will be looking towards CD Projekt Red with less than favorable optimism if they continue to follow a crunch culture.
Thanks for Reading
Do you think Cyberpunk 2077 will see another delay? Will we ever move away from Crunch periods? and what other challenges will await developers as we move into the next generation of gaming? Leave your thoughts down below and be sure to follow us here at Culture of Gaming for more articles covering the gaming world.