Usually, a game’s delay not only usually means that the title is given opportunity for extra testing and polish, developers are also gifted with a lesser necessity for crunch: often unpaid amounts of extra hours on the job that many development teams have had to face in the past, to get the game out of the door.
Despite yesterday’s announcement by CD Projekt Red that Cyberpunk 2077’s release date was delayed until September 2020, a Q&A conference call with co-CEO, Adam Kicinsk, says otherwise. When asked by a participant of the conference call if the development team will have to put in crunch hours, Kicinsk replied:
To some degree, yes – to be honest. 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 [the team will be having to work crunch].
It’s especially a shame to see this be the case given CD Projekt Red’s history with crunch. The development of The Witcher 3 saw many staff being expected to work long hours and weekends to get the job done, missing out on precious time with their families, as revealed in a report by Jason Schrier from Kotaku. A goal CD Projekt Red had upon reflection was to be “more humane” towards crunch in the development of Cyberpunk 2077. It looks like that goal is a bit further off than we thought.
It goes without saying that we’d rather wait until September next year for Cyberpunk if it meant its team could get the job done whilst also being paid for all the hours they put in, get to spend adequate time with their families and not have working conditions take a huge toll on their physical and mental well-being.