CD Projekt Red weighs in on crunch as Cyberpunk 2077 development gears up

    
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Development crunch is a hot-button topic in the gaming industry these days, and the latest studio to take a stance on the matter is The Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red. The studio has “cultivated a reputation for crunch,” often “asking its employees to work nights and weekends for weeks and months at a time,” but in a recent interview with Kotaku, CDPR co-founder Marcin Iwiński details how the studio is hoping to fight that stigma through its “non-obligatory crunch policy,” which is basically a fancy way of saying that even when management asks its employees to crunch, they are not required to do so.

Iwiński says, “We’ve been communicating clearly to people that of course there are certain moments where we need to work harder — like I think the [Cyberpunk 2077] E3 demo is a pretty good example — but we want to be more humane and treat people with respect. If they need to take time off, they can take time off. Nobody will be frowned upon if this will be requested.” However, as Kotaku notes, even an explicitly non-mandatory request from your boss can feel, well, mandatory, and when prodded by the interviewer, Iwiński “wouldn’t promise to limit crunch to certain periods or offer specific numbers,” saying only, “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.”

Source: Kotaku
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psytic

They could just take on more short term contracts? I guess maybe I don’t understand this industry. In my industry if I know peak production season is coming I take on contracts. If I need to use excessive overtime paid at 1.5x pay rate that’s considered a failure and costs the company more in my industry.. you would think with the glut of developers being layed off every week there would be a large pool of talent to chose from willing to just work period…

I believe there is a group that doesn’t want crunch, obviously the salaried workers. But there is a large group contracted hourly that would feed on the over time and fat checks that come with crunch. I read a story about one of these individuals making 100s of hours in a check. They are the ones that enable it to continue.. I can see the benefits and negatives for both sides.

Realistically they should just unionize. The only way to enforce non mandatory crunch is to have a body that protects the salaried workers if they say no. Otherwise their will always be that implied pressure to accept it for fear you will lose your job.

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Dane Ford

Like. I’m not explicitly against crunch. Sometimes things fall behind, or things need to get done. I think most everyone gets that.

I also think it shouldn’t just be baked in like it seems to be at a number of these studios. It should be an “exception not the rule,” type deal.

Also, looking threw a management lense, he couldn’t offer up specific periods or times for crunch, cause the man doesn’t have a crystal ball. Maybe it’s corporate doublespeak, but I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise.

xpsync
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xpsync

As far as the freaking bleeding hearts STFU! What kind of fantasy land you all live in, seriously, where were you all when i was working till midnight back up at 5am for months on crunches, it’s how sh!t gets done, for those whom have zero clue you need to live, eat and breath your project, it’s a f’ing fact, and if this is foreign to you then you know nothing of passion for your work.

Before that where were you when i was working 7 days a week 12 to 16 hours a day on massive neutrino projects, nuclear reactors, jobs have to be completed. Sorry detective you can only work your kidnapping case for 8 hours then shut it off, what a f’ing joke, he’s on that 24/7 i don’t know anyone who has a problem with that crunch, and the det would not have it any other way.

OMG really, people up in arms because OMG people are working for a living ffs wow! When crunch ends it’s like an amazing high, the satisfaction of a job well done, and you feel like you’re on vacation pfft a typical day is like doing lunch, and usually many take a few weeks off, you all act like crunch is a daily way of life, it’s not, every so many years it happens.

Look at Bree you think all that cox happens during a regular day of work, no, she was prolly going near 24 hour days, where was all the uproar about that?

It’s called passion folks, it’s how great things come to be.

xpsync
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xpsync

I love shooters! Specially the only story driven ones, but i dunno i’m in that mmorpg or nothing mood again and been here for awhile, got the latest doom, a few others and i can’t bring myself to play them let alone finish them.

I think the last game i finished was Soma, every gamer should play that at least once. Worst thing you could do is watch videos or read about it, just play it, it’d be like going into sw knowing Darth Vadar is Lukes father. To nothing about this game then play it and finish, will seriously mess with you!

Anyway, where about a year +/- ago, could not have been more pumped, was so on my radar, like could not wait, to now, i dunno, meh.

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Kayweg

Same run-of-the-mill statement we’ve heard before so many times.
Dunno why, but i would have thought CDPR might have done better than that, perhaps because they did before, for example when they took a very industry atypical stance on DRM.
Of course we also are part of the problem, with our impatience for our “next kick” and our focus on fixed release dates.
I know Diablo 3’s “it’s done when it’s done” epic is all but an old meme by now, but perhaps it’s a far healthier approach for those involved making games.
Personally, if CDPR came out and said “sorry, we need a few more months”, i wouldn’t be bothered at all, but i’m probably the exception from the rule there.
And a question, would it be impossible to “just” hire more staff temporarily for those hectic times approaching release, instead of working the current staff into the ground ?

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terminallynerdy

“Non Obligatory Crunch” aka “We are not putting a gun to their head and FORCING them to Crunch or anything!”

STOP ASKING FOR CRUNCH YOU BASTARDS. STOP MAKING YOUR EMPLOYEES AND DEVS BURN THEMSELVES OUT TRYING TO MEET INSANE DEADLINES. STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT.

Dantos
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Dantos

The way things seem to be, they might as well go back to the days of the old textile mills and build on-site living quarters for staff and pay them in company script.

Oh and yes, ‘voluntary’ but it just so happens that your deadlines aren’t possible to be met under normal working ours. I’ve danced that dance before, “oh we need you to get this done by tomorrow, yes we know its a full day’s worth of work, yes we know its 3pm, we still need you to get it done”.

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wratts

Again, this is endemic to IT as a whole. I’m one manager among a pool of development teams now, and our Director will walk the floor at 5:30 noting who has already left for the day and making comments, “oh, I sure hope they’re enjoying a nice dinner” if someone has left. Never mind that we have a number of travelers on the team who may have started their day at 5:00 am to make it to the work location.

I and some of the other direct managers refer to it as merit-badging. People get a “merit badge” if they’re seen to stay in the office until 7:30 or 8:00, never mind that after a certain point it’s more bullshitting at desks than actually getting productive work done. You were there, here’s your badge

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Phil Gillespie

Crunch is fine if the dev (not all devs should be on crunch) is on board, the pay reflects it, and the culture is humane (doesn’t push crunch or die).

Now that may seem idealistic, but Chris Wilson from GGG (Path of Exile) released a great post to the PoE community including these points.

It just takes less greed.

PurpleCopper
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PurpleCopper

Any company that says they don’t have crunch culture is probably lying.