Following criticism over CD Projekt Red's broken promise that Cyberpunk 2077 dev team won't crunch, the company said that 10 per cent of their 2020 annual profit will be shared among the team and workers 'well compensated'.
Bloomberg's report put CD Projekt Red on the spot, criticising them for backpedalling on the promise. The company's CEO Adam Badowski, who said he will take the backlash for the decision, indeed did so, tweeting:
"These last 6 weeks are our final sprint on a project we've all spent much of our lives on. Something we care for deeply. The majority of the team understands that push, especially in light of the fact that we've just sent the game to cert and every day brings us visibly closer to shipping a game we want to be proud of. This is one of the hardest decisions I've had to make, but everyone is well compensated for every extra hour they put in. And, like in recent years, 10% of the annual profit our company generates in 2020 will be split directly among the team."
Now, let us make this unequivocally clear - we'd rather not see anyone, anywhere, having to crunch or even do overtime, ever. We love this industry and we'd love to see it as a shining example of a perfect world. Please bear that in mind, as we're about to swoop into the actual, real world.
First and foremost, holding Cyberpunk 2077 to promises they made before the world was hit by the pandemic, and not factoring it in the equation is unfair, to say the least. All other industries are getting the benefit of a doubt, so slamming CDPR really doesn't feel right here.
Speaking of other industries, you're reading this on a digital device, and that makes each of us an accomplice in an industry that's well known for inhumane exploitation of its workforce. Compared to semiconductor manufacturing facilities, CDPR's crunch is a joke.
Think about the health industry for a minute here, which has been crunching inhumane hours long before Covid-19. Heck, they've crunched for decades before crunch was even a word, let alone now, when they're sleeping on floors (when lucky to find the time or place).
The world is pretty much in shambles. People are losing jobs left and right, and many of them would kill for a chance to crunch. Legendary entertainment venues are closing. Even saying "the world is in a pretty bad place" sounds like a horrendous understatement.
Let us now go back to the video game industry, which is actually pretty privileged all things considered. The sales are booming, jobs seem aplenty and working from home has not disrupted the profits. Quite the contrary, in fact, as it seems one of the rare industries that is booming at this time.
Bearing this in mind, how righteously should one act upon Cyberpunk 2077 dev's actions? We're far from ecstatic over their decision, but when put in the context - how heinous is it really?
Many jumped on the bandwagon, insisting that crunch destroys lives, and they'd normally be right. Now, however, comparisons to other industries reveal the actual truth. It's not good, mind you, but it's not exactly the worst either.
In conclusion, CDPR's decision to institute crunch is not optimal. But let's not blow things out of proportion here and act like it's the worst thing it's happened this year. Far, far from it.