It turns out that CD Projekt Red had jumped the gun when they said Cyberpunk 2077 development will avoid mandatory crunch, as they've now had to backpedal on the decision.
As reported by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier, the Polish developer informed their employees via email on Monday that six-day weeks are mandatory until Cyberpunk 2077 launches. Given that the launch is on November 19, 2020, we're looking at almost two months of crunch time.
Bloomberg's source is a company employee who wished to stay anonymous, and who claimed that some of the Cyberpunk 2077 team has already been pulling gruelling shifts for more than a year, nights and weekends included. Others have done so for months, and most apparently did so in shorter bursts.
In the email, CD Projekt Red's studio head Adam Badowski 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."
Badowski is, of course, referring to the interview with Kotaku, where CDPR spoke of their efforts in making the company known for "treating developers with respect."
While it's true that the employees will be paid in accordance with Polish laws, it's also true that they've announced their no-crunch policy to the entire world, only to break the promise at the last moment. For which, by the way, Badowski said he'll take the backlash.
Interestingly, a number of gamers rushed to defend CD Projekt Red and their development of Cyberpunk 2077, even though the case is pretty clear cut. It was CDPR who promised no crunch, and CDPR who broke the promise, i.e. this is entirely their fault.
While you could certainly argue that holding video game devs to such high standards, while remaining blissfully ignorant of how most electronics, clothes, footwear, etc. are made is a bit hypocritical, does this mean they shouldn't be held to them? Well, no. Especially when it's them who technically cast the first stone here.
You can find Bloomberg's report here .