CD Projekt Red has been under a lot of discussions these past weeks due to rumors spreading that the company is treating its employees poorly and puts them under a lot of strain. It’s only natural for a studio that created a game like Witcher 3 to have a development team that is working under a lot of pressure but is CD Projekt Red really in such fault regarding working conditions?
During Madqueen Show on Youtube, the hostess gave an extensive look at how the employees in CD Projekt Red were treated and what their issues were before leaving the company. After listening to a lot of different opinions, some were positive like this one:
“In my 10 years of career, I’ve been in companies that make you do overtime without pay, give you a month’s notice to be fired before asking you to do more overtime. That pushed fresh students from school to suicide due to pressure and bullying from their boss. But, of course, you never heard of them, because they’re insignificant. CD Projekt Red is in the high tier, my best company in 10 years in the industry in terms of working conditions.”
On the other hand, there were those employees that were extremely disappointed during the development of Witcher 3. As some stated there are managers and persons in high places that have little experience in making games and are there just because they are trusted on a personal level by the owners. Those managers would give tasks to the developers to implement features in the game that sometimes contradicts one another. Specifically, a developer stated that they sent time and work to waste just because some orders were given on a whim:
“Some days it was a lottery: You were afraid what managers played or saw the day before, as they would come to you with random ideas that were not efficient and didn’t seem well thought. And you know what that meant? Overtime. One batch of overtime to implement a useless feature and a second batch to make it disappear again.”
After Witcher 3’s release, many employees left the company to continue their carriers on different projects and others continued on to Cyberpunk 2077 development:
When in Bioware they said they had a 3 months’ crunch. We laughed. during the Witcher 3, a lot of people crunched for over a year, some of them for 3 years. The Witcher 3 development kept getting worse by the month. The morale got very low and everyone ended up complaining during crunch supper. Some of us were still looking forward to being moved to Cyberpunk and having a fresh start with a ‘new’ project. when we finally started switching to Cyberpunk… things got even wilder, even more chaotic. At that time, almost everybody in my team wanted to leave.
Some employees revealed that there was a clash between managers of Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. In 2012 CD Projekt Red has just finished developing Witcher 3 and both team managers were at disposal.
One team’s managers have been working on Cyberpunk 2077 for a long time but didn’t deliver any specific progress and the other managers were efficient and productive in their earlier work but didn’t know the content and need of this specific title. Adam Badowski called out both teams to “show what they can do” so the whole of the company started playing against each other, harming the project in general.
As to Cyberpunk 2077’s development right now, things are looking optimistic despite the uproar that was going on all this time. The most solid and respective opinion about the company is this one:
CD Projekt is not an evil company. From a production and business standpoint, they might have fallen into the impression that this is how things should be done. And we crunch, not because we’re told to –it’s because we care. We had to do this to deliver something we could be proud of. It paid off.
I want to stay at the company and keep doing what I do. This really is one of the last bastions of hope amongst the corporate greed and control we can see from the likes of EA or Activision. But it’s also a company that has to make money and meet the budget constraints.
And now it’s getting even bigger, needing more money to sustain itself –it would be only natural for a company like this that fewer months spent developing equals quicker revenue gain if the game is just “good enough”. Don’t get that wrong either, CDPR is not like that. But the process of making a game here seems like pure chaos.