CD Projekt Red will be crunching to finish Cyberpunk 2077, despite it recently being delayed until September.
In a question-and-answer conference call, CD Projekt's co-CEO Adam Kiciński admitted that the development team will be required to put in longer hours as the game's launch approaches. In it, he says "[they] 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 required to crunch]."
CD Projekt Red has been criticised for its working conditions before. In a report by Kotaku's Jason Schreier last year, it was said a goal of Cyberpunk 2077's development was to be "more humane" after it emerged developers were expected to work long hours and weekends during the making of The Witcher 3. Part of this was the introduction of "non-obligatory crunch", although the effectiveness of that was questioned at the time.
The studio's Glassdoor page also shows that things haven't improved much. Most of the negatives given by employees on the page include things such as a poor work-life balance, poor pay and incompetent management. One former employee summed it up succinctly as "too much pressure and no life", while another pointed out the poor pay, "...even compared to what other gamedev companies in Warsaw pay."
Crunch isn't something unique to CDPR, of course, as other studios like Rockstar and BioWare have also been accused of unreasonable working hours. However, it's more than a little bit ironic when a dystopian cyberpunk game where the value of a person has been reduced to nothing is being developed by a studio that allegedly treats its workers the same way.
When Cyberpunk 2077 was delayed until September, there was hope that this was a sign things had indeed changed in the studio. More time to polish would reasonably mean less crunch required, after all. It's a shame that that's seemingly not the case, and instead it just means more time for developers to burn themselves out for the sake of a videogame.