Yesterday, CD Projekt RED announced plans to push Cyberpunk 2077’s release out of April and into September. This delay of several months means much more time to see the project through to completion, to ensure the team delivers the best product possible. The extra development time does not necessarily equate to things slowing down, however. In fact, the studio will still engage in crunch in an effort to finish the game on time for its launch later in the year.
Joint-CEO Adam Kiciński delivered the news during an investor call about Cyberpunk 2077’s delay. When one investor asked if the team is “required to put in crunch hours,” Kiciński said, unfortunately, that is indeed the case. “To some degree, yes–to be honest,” he confirmed. “We try to limit crunch as much as possible, but it is the final stage. We try to be reasonable in this regard, but yes. Unfortunately.”
Kiciński’s statement raises questions about the studio’s previously revised stance on what’s referred to as crunch culture. In May 2019, CDPR co-founder Marcin Iwiński told Kotaku the company would implement a “non-obligatory crunch policy.” To be fair, such a policy may indeed remain in place, since Kiciński explained the studio will only put crunch in practice “to some degree.” There’s a lot of gray area there in terms of meaning, however. The mere suggestion that crunch is required could make some developers feel obligated to partake in the practice, even if they aren’t explicitly being forced to do so. Hopefully, the studio is handling the manner delicately.
Over the last year or so, stories of crunch culture have raised awareness about horrific working conditions at some studios, such as BioWare and Epic. At present, there is work being done to potentially combat the issue, with major worker rights organizations trying to assist in the development of games industry unions.
Cyberpunk 2077 will now hit PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox One on September 17th.