Cyberpunk 2077 Has Been Delayed, But The Devs Will Still Have To Crunch
Cyberpunk 2077's developers are being made to work long hours.
As part of a CD Projekt Red press conference following Cyberpunk 2077's five-month delay, the Polish developer confirmed that it will be asking its employees to work extra long hours to finish the much-anticipated role-playing game ahead of its scheduled release in September. The team is not planning on sticking to regular hours, despite now having more time to complete the game.
During a Q&A session, CD Projekt Red was asked if the development team would need to "crunch" to finish Cyberpunk 2077. Adam Kicinski, who is CD Projekt Red's joint CEO, confirmed that he expects the team to need to work long hours to finish the game, though he said there is a plan in place to attempt to lessen the periods of crunch.
"To some degree, yes--to be honest," Kicinski said. "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."
"Crunch" is the video game industry term for working for an unreasonable and unhealthy amount of time on a project. Typically, but not always, periods of crunch happen near the end of development.
CD Projekt Red is developing Cyberpunk 2077 across its studios in Krakow and Warsaw offices. At PAX Aus in October 2019, CDPR Krakow boss John Mamais told GameSpot everyone at his studio was working "really hard," and that while the staffers can feel rejuvenated by showing the game at tradeshows, this also puts the team "in a vice, in a way."
Mamais also spoke about how CDPR's culture of hard work is not a good fit for everyone. He said CDPR does what it can to limit crunch, but this isn't always possible.
"You sacrifice some things to do that and be part of that. There are a lot of people who come into the industry that are fresh; they don't really understand what it takes to do it," he said. "So we get a lot of new guys coming in, and they go, 'Oh god, this is like too much.' But then we have other guys come in from Rockstar Games, and they're like, 'This is not even crunch!' We're doing the best we can to keep the work under control. But sometimes when you're doing some big-ass game like this, it's not always possible to do that. It takes really hard work to make it really awesome."
It was also confirmed during the Q&A that the Cyberpunk 2077 delay has shifted other projects back as well, as the Cyberpunk 2077 multiplayer game will now release in 2022 at the soonest. Additionally, although Cyberpunk 2077's new September 17 release date is closer to the releases of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, CDPR still has no plans to support those systems.
CDPR also confirmed that Cyberpunk 2077 has been playable from start to finish for months, but "there's still work to done," which is why the company's board of directors unanimously voted for the delay.
"Night City is massive--full of stories, content and places to visit, but due to the sheer scale and complexity of it all, we need more time to finish playtesting, fixing, and polishing," the company said. "We want Cyberpunk 2077 to be our crowning achievement for this generation and postponing launch will give us the precious months we need to make the game perfect."
Kicinski clarified during the Q&A that some parts of Cyberpunk 2077 were on schedule while others were not. He added that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the game, only that the studio needs more time for polishing and other efforts related to the size and complexity of the project.
The executive also confirmed during the Q&A that the Cyberpunk 2077 development team was only informed of the delay "minutes" before the official announcement came through.
This is not the first time that CDPR may be crunching on one of its big releases. In 2014, the company was aaccused of crunching for more than one year to finish The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt.