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Cyberpunk 2077 developers will be paid bonuses regardless of review average, according to leaked email

A corpo in Cyberpunk 2077
(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)
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Bloomberg (opens in new tab) reports that a leaked email from executives at CD Projekt informed developers they would receive full bonuses for their work on Cyberpunk 2077 (opens in new tab). Prior to that, the bonuses apparently required Cyberpunk 2077 achieve specific goals in terms of both its critical reception and release date.

"We initially had a bonus system that was focused on the game's ratings and the release date, but after consideration, we believe that measure is simply not fair under the circumstances," studio head Adam Badowski apparently informed his staff. "We underestimated the lengths and complexity involved to make this a reality, and still you did everything you could to deliver an ambitious, special game."

Bloomberg explains that CD Projekt's bonus system involved rewarding developers with tokens depicting the studio's logo, handed out each month by team leaders to those staff members they considered deserving. Those tokens would then be converted into bonuses after release—if Cyberpunk 2077 achieved a threshold of 90+ on Metacritic (opens in new tab).

It's well-known that Obsidian weren't paid royalties for Fallout: New Vegas, instead being promised a bonus if it received an average score of 85 or higher on Metacritic (its final metascore was 84 (opens in new tab)). But after widespread condemnation of the idea that workers should be paid different amounts based on something as subjective as review scores, it's surprising to hear it claimed a company the size of CD Projekt persisted in following the practice. Perhaps that's naive.

As of today, Cyberpunk 2077 has a metascore of 90 (opens in new tab) based on critic's reviews, and an average user score of 6.6.

Jody Macgregor
Jody Macgregor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was published in 2015, he edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and actually did play every Warhammer videogame.