Cyberpunk 2077's release is on the horizon. Unfortunately, things aren't looking so good at CD Projekt Red.
The Polish company has reportedly told the employees to work six-day work weeks to anticipate Cyberpunk 2077. The employee, who shall remain nameless, has leaked an email regarding the company's crunch culture to Bloomberg.
"I take it upon myself to receive the full backlash for the decision," studio head Adam Badowski wrote.
"I know this is in direct opposition to what we've said about crunch. It's also in direct opposition to what I personally grew to believe a while back -- that crunch should never be the answer. But we've extended all other possible means of navigating the situation."
What Happened To Cyberpunk 2077?
Contrary to the leaked email, co-founder Marcin Iwiński told Kotaku in 2019 that he doesn't believe in crunch culture.
"We want to be more humane and treat people with respect. If they need to take time off, they can take time off," he said. "Nobody will be frowned upon if this (overwork schedule) will be requested."
Since then, fans have publicly voiced their disappointment and asked for the game to be delayed instead.
"I have cancelled my pre-order for Cyberpunk 2077 due to CD Projekt's Red continued use of crunch," one Twitter user wrote.
"I want Cyberpunk 2077 as much as any person on Planet Earth but I'd rather it be delayed than to see folks working crazy hours to meet a deadline," another user tweeted. "Quality of life is more important."
What Is Crunch Culture?
Crunch culture is a term used to describe the gruesome practice of working intensive hours, leading to a video game's release date. Several companies, including Rockstar with Red Dead Redemption 2 & Epic with Fortnite, had been accused of overworking their employees.
Crunch culture is a worrisome trend in the gaming industry. Hard work and dedication are one thing, but nobody should ever work against their will and sacrifice their family & mental health.
Over the past few years, game workers have unionized to tackle this alarming issue. International Game Developers Association (IDGA) revealed in a 2017 survey that over 64% of their respondents worked in the gaming industry for more than ten years. 53% of the devs also believed that 'crunch' was highly expected.
"Burnout is no joke. Burnout can happen to anyone, and the outcome can be loss of productivity at best, to things more serious like depression and anxiety and panic attacks and so on," Vlad A. Ionescu, chief architect at ShiftLeft, told SDTimes.
Until then, triple-A video games will continue on this practice for such a long time. At the end of the day, playing a game and developing it should be a wonderful experience, not a place where you get burned out.