Anytime you manage to garner a specific amount of traction and attention in an online space, mouth-breathing individuals manage to slink their way in and somehow sour the entire scene with outlandish claims and a sense of entitlement that is awe-inspiring.
Perhaps we’re getting ahead of ourselves, though; yesterday CD Projekt Red announced that they are once again delaying the release of Cyberpunk 2077, now releasing on December 10, and the internet reacted in a wide variety of ways; understanding, frustration, with some users going so far as to denounce the studio because they’re tired of dates being rolled backward.
Meanwhile, developers that have been locked into a crunch for months are now looking at extending the crunch for a few additional months for post-release patches.
Look, a CDPR dev told me recently that they'd just clocked a 100-hour week. Another (former) dev just told me they saw some of their friends there and they looked "physically ill." So kindly gtfo with the "but but but I work long hours too" responses
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) October 27, 2020
Jason Schreier is a journalist for Bloomberg that has been reporting on the insane crunch that developers within CD Projekt Red are currently being subjected to over the past few months, and reports have consistently been direr as they progress ever-closer to the release date to the point that some are becoming concerned as to the health of the developers, with many accusing CDPR of mismanaging resources to the point that developers are working 100-hour weeks at the moment to ensure it releases at polished as possible.
"I personally had a blast working there until they decided the only way to finish the game was to do the death march," this person told me. I've heard this sentiment from a few people. (I've also heard it said about Naughty Dog and a couple other game companies)
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) October 14, 2020
Developers have been stating that the current tempo within the studio is akin to a ‘death march’, which posits a very difficult question for gamers.
One of the most anticipated titles within the past decade is being produced with allegedly blatant disregard as to the wellbeing of the developers within the project, much as Naughty Dog has been accused of having; at what point does the unfair work-conditions propose a more reserved approach regarding the current level of anticipation that surrounds Cyberpunk 2077?
Much in the same way that the Ubisoft scandal seemed to unfetter large swaths of the gaming industry, in which it was alleged that they drugged employees and threatened to rape them, somehow did little to deter fans of the upcoming Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, or the crude conduct of Riot Games that was blasted apart by a fantastic Kotaku expose did little to stymie League of Legends or Valorant, some critics are beginning to refer to the gaming industry as catering to the most unempathetic audience humanly possible.
Where the responsibility seems to fall regarding the ethics of consumerism, if not the developers themselves, seems to confuse many.
On the other side, however, we have the internet denizens with meager educations and a lack of empathy once again rearing their heads; on top of a frankly inordinate amount of crunch expected, developers are also receiving death threats.
Because won’t that help fix everything.
I want to address one thing in regards of the @CyberpunkGame delay.
I understand you're feeling angry, disappointed and want to voice your opinion about it.
However, sending death threats to the developers is absolutely unacceptable and just wrong. We are people, just like you.
— Andrzej Zawadzki (@ZawAndy) October 27, 2020
People can absolutely be angry; many have taken vacation time from work to ensure that they can experience Cyberpunk 2077 unfettered by normal restrictions, and one even went so far as to ask the official Twitter account to ensure it was safe.
That being said, it is absolutely unacceptable to threaten someone’s life over a video game. If this comes as a surprise to you, you might want to disconnect your internet for a couple of years.
The staff at CD Projekt Red discovered that there was another delay (via internal email) at the same time that the tweet went out yesterday. The current worker protections in Poland aren’t going much, but perhaps figuring out who the developers need to be protected from is what the industry should be figuring out first.