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CD Projekt Red talks  Cyberpunk 2077  crunch, vows to be 'more humane' to devs

CD Projekt Red talks Cyberpunk 2077 crunch, vows to be 'more humane' to devs

May 17, 2019 | By Alissa McAloon

“I think this is the commitment we’re ready to make today, and we’ll be listening to people. We definitely open a lot of lines of dialogue here, and we’d like to start with that.”

- CD Projekt Red leadership says speaking publicly about crunch acts as a public commitment to treat its devs humanely

CD Projekt Red’s co-founder Marcin Iwiński and studio head Adam Badowski approached Kotaku to discuss how the studio aims to tackle crunch as development of Cyberpunk 2077 enters its final laps.

Crunch is a persistent topic of conversation in the game industry, but stories about the practice are typically born out of burnt-out developers coming forward as opposed to studio leadership reaching out to the press. Iwiński, however, says the proactive approach aims to act as a public commitment that "we want to be more humane and treat people with respect."

On the topic of crunch, Iwiński vows that the final stretch of Cyberpunk 2077’s development will “be better than The Witcher’s finishing period,” in the very least. He tells Kotaku that the studio is pushing its existing “non-obligatory crunch policy” even harder this time around and ensuring developers know that crunch isn’t mandatory, even when they’re directly asked to work nights and weekends. (Though, as past stories on crunch often point out, there are many ways crunch can become an implied requirement even without a direct mandate.)

The full Kotaku article has a detailed account on which promises CD Projekt Red would and wouldn’t commit to during the conversation. For instance, Iwiński wouldn’t say much of the specifics of the crunch that has happened so far, or promise to limit crunch to set periods of time. Instead, he reiterates that opening up to the press aims to act as a public commitment to the team working on Cyberpunk 2077.

“We’ve created a lot of force functions for us to improve,” Iwiński told Kotaku. “Making this commitment, I hope it shows that we are treating this matter very seriously.”

Kotaku’s Jason Schreier points out that the proactive approach may aim to preempt a potential investigation similar to the one the site published on BioWare’s Anthem in April. Schreier notes that four former CD Projekt Red devs reached out to Kotaku following that Anthem story to say they’d seen similar labor practices while working on Cyberpunk 2077.

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