The director of the upcoming Witcher game (opens in new tab) has tried to quell concerns of crunch culture at CD Projekt Red.
Jason Slama—who's been serving as the director on standalone card game Gwent for the last few years—announced in a tweet (opens in new tab) that he would be taking up the helm as director for the newest game in the Witcher saga (thanks, Gamespot (opens in new tab)). Along with announcing his new role, Slama was encouraging people to apply for an array of roles that are currently going at the studio.
Understandably, some replies weren't particularly thrilled at the idea of working for a company that was notorious for its crunch conditions during the development of Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3. After all, despite promising "more humane (opens in new tab)" working conditions for staff during the development of Cyberpunk 2077, the team was then pushed into an obligatory crunch (opens in new tab) period in early 2020. Following the game's final delay in September 2020, co-CEO Marcin Iwiński told investors regarding crunch at the studio: "actually, it's not that bad (opens in new tab)—and never was." Iwiński later apologised to CDPR staff for his comments, saying "I had not wanted to comment on crunch, yet I still did, and I did it in a demeaning and harmful way."
Never on my watch!March 21, 2022
All of this led to some healthy scepticism in the replies, with one person quote-retweeting to say "you forgot to mention the sign-on bonus of horrible crunch and being treated like a dog." Slama responded to the tweet, simply saying "never on my watch!"
His reply didn't seem to have people completely convinced, but it seems as though CDPR is attempting to distance itself from the negative crunch culture that has surrounded its previous two games. Who knows if that mantra will continue as development plods along, but a commitment to minimising it is a start.