Last week, Cyberpunk 2077 caught fire once again for circumstances coming out relating to the game’s launch, thanks to an anonymous whistleblower. However, in the midst of that, one QA studio, known as Quantic Lab (not to be confused with Quantic Dream), was mentioned, and had essentially been lying about the studio’s given team seniority and team size. A video released by Upper Echelon Gamers soon followed, talking about these accusations, as well as a follow-up to it (linked above is the first, below is the second).
The story continued this past Tuesday afternoon, as, in an article from Forbes, Quantic Lab’s CEO Stefan Seicarescu commented on these claims made by the anonymous whistleblower, and it doesn’t exactly absolve them of any guilt in the matter in the slightest. To briefly paraphrase from there, Seicarescu had said that the above video had “incorrect statements” relating to their history and getting things about quality assurance (QA for short) wrong. Another source (being LegacyKillaHD on Twitter) posted a thread that was essentially corroborating that CD Projekt Red sources “refuted the claim”, as well as mentioning that even CD Projekt Red were aware of the mountain of bugs that the title had launched with.
Now that we’re caught up somewhat, onto yesterday’s update. Upper Echelon Gamers responded, exposing Quantic Lab’s far more nefarious internal working processes, and how much wrong they actually do behind the scenes, which you can now see below.
Uncovering Quantic Lab’s Tendencies
Quantic Lab’s lies about team seniority get worse, as they were also lying about the languages people spoke, and teams were about a third of the size that they would claim. One such case would be the game Wreckfest, where not only did Quantic Lab lie about its employees on the project, but outsourced development even further (yes, the outsourced source decided to outsource even further), to India. Some employees also got fired for requesting pay raises, and the average employee pay was around €350~€650 per month. Problems like this also extended to, of course, Cyberpunk 2077, and how that game launched. But let’s continue to focus on Quantic Lab, as this goes beyond just Wreckfest and Cyberpunk 2077.
Quantic Lab, very obviously, would want to keep this information under wraps, as it not only allows them to pay workers very little, but it also keeps them out of trouble for however long that it isn’t public knowledge. A source from within Quantic Lab (who wishes to remain anonymous) would also go and mention how the company lied about its employee size again in the case of Cyberpunk during negotiations, and even lacked proper equipment. Does anyone remember the very bad PS4 port of Primal? You’d be forgiven if not. But on the topic of Cyberpunk 2077 the company only had PS4 Pro models to work with (not a single model-1 PS4 or PS4 Slim), and in a nearby building working rotating shifts with actual CD Projekt Red employees.
Quantic Lab’s Revolving Door of Employees
It gets even worse when you factor in that the company’s essentially a bulk revolving door of around five to ten employees that come and go at the whim of Quantic Lab’s management, and new talent is taken on with every single project (and yes, that includes project leads). For a company that touts quality assurance as their job description, that’s not a very good look optics-wise. Even worse, is that when they’re actually, you know, doing their jobs, their priorities are all wrong.
For instance, in another anonymous statement, Quantic Lab’s team prioritized minor bugs and visual glitches (such as a texture not loading fully, for example), rather than major issues like a glitch that could force the entire game to shut down or gate you out of content you should have access to. If the latter happened to be reported, it would be very frowned upon by management, which is… a little odd, considering that bugs that would cause the game to be unplayable or not completable would and should take priority, as those keep you from actively playing the game.
More incidents at Quantic Lab, outside from the absolutely miserable monthly pay rates to employees, include an MMO project that the team was assigned, and not only did it have a relatively insane amount of crunch, but also had 30 team members working sixteen-hour shifts in a room that wouldn’t fit everyone, just to make ends meet. This process becomes even more laughable as the projects were, once again, given to brand-new employees fresh out of training (assuming they got any at all). Senior employees also didn’t last very long in the big picture, either.
Proper Firing Processes? Not for Them
Quantic Lab’s management has a history of pressuring these senior employees into leaving without explicitly firing them. As a matter of fact, a large number of the employees that have left Quantic Lab for other pursuits had been removed improperly, facilitated by the fact that many were newer faces and thus inexperienced with working protections. One such case comes from another internal source, who was forced out to get a cheaper, newer employee. Another such case would come in the form of an employee fired, through being forced to sign paperwork that circumvents Romania’s laws about “firing with cause”.
As stated above, Quantic Lab is very keen on playing dirty when it comes to cutting employees off without doing so legitimately. Some cases even end in getting fired before personal effects were collected, which shouldn’t be a thing you’re denied.
At the end of the day, the workplace culture at Quantic Lab is one that has many, many problems plaguing it. As much of this information was uncovered by Upper Echelon Gamers, a special thanks goes out to him, as this report wouldn’t exist without it. All of these efforts were made in the pursuit of exposing Quantic Lab’s practices and regulations that places employees in an isolated chamber, unable to do anything about the practices around them, and to be ejected when they’ve outlived their usefulness. The worst part about all of this, though? It’s not even the only case; these incidents within Quantic Lab ultimately bring widespread issues within the industry workplace to light that go beyond buggy games and botched launches.