Cyberpunk 2077 isn’t being delayed again, but the mandatory crunch reported on five days ago hasn’t gone anywhere
CD Projekt Red proudly announced today that work is officially done on the highly anticipated release in the usual parlance – “gone gold.” It will definitely be released November 19.
This reassurance to fans is packaged with an image of Johnny Silverhand (played by “you’re breathtaking” Keanu Reeves) holding up a golden disc. It’s enough to make you think you have Deus Ex filter vision.
It will no doubt be a huge relief to those anticipating it since the game was already delayed twice; once pushed back from its April 16 date, and again from September 17. It’s all about the bugs. Of the September date, they said: “Cyberpunk 2077 is finished both content and gameplay-wise. The quests, the cutscenes, the skills and items; all the adventures Night City has to offer – it’s all there.”
Yet, it was only five days ago we were talking about CD Projekt Red reneging on their ‘non-obligatory crunch policy.’ An employee talking to Bloomberg said that ‘some staff had already been putting in nights and weekends for more than a year’ and yet in the final weeks there will be obligatory six-day work weeks. This outright breaks the pledge to their workers they announced to Kotaku over a year ago.
CD Projekt Red studio head Adam Badowski was apologetic about the reversal, saying: “I take it upon myself to receive the full backlash for the decision. 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.”
It can only be described as a systematic failure of project management that this happens. Badowski’s liberal use of ‘never’ here seems like it applies more to another delay than treating their workers with the promised consideration and respect.
They didn’t magically manage to crunch their way in five days to a finished product, then, but have simply shifted from working on what’s to be shipped on the disc to what’s to be on a release day patch. As said to Bloomberg, ‘the studio is working to eliminate most bugs at “the last straight.”’
This means that whilst the announcement is great marketing and reassurance that the release date is set in stone, it’s probably semantics in terms of the actual state of the game and the dev team.
We shouldn’t let such loud announcements distract from the ongoing struggles the industry faces in its need to unionise and fight cultures of crunch. It’s the only way our own world won’t resemble the corporate dystopia of Cyberpunk 2077.