The Consequences of Mandatory Crunch
Some people say that there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Those people are probably not game developers, and they definitely don’t work for CD Projekt Red, the little Polish studio which can’t seem to stay out of the news cycle. They’re in mandatory crunch. Devs are allegedly taking to Reddit in order to complain about the toxic work environment. One of the co-CEOs reported that the crunch situation wasn’t that bad, and then had to apologize. And on top of everything, Cyberpunk 2077 is being delayed again. It’s enough to make some of us suspect that the game won’t be all that we were promised–yes, really, stop laughing. At this point, it’s a genuine possibility. What a fall for the studio which once declared they were competing with themselves. And now, that fall has had real, tangible consequences. Sort of. Money is an illusion, but it’s an illusion we all generally agree to buy into, and CDPR is losing a lot of money.
According to GamesIndustry.biz, CD Projekt Red’s share price has decreased by 25% after reaching its peak at the end of August. Said peak was directly related to the announcement of a new Pokemon Go-style Witcher mobile game. Dualshocker reports that “the market cap for the company was PLN 42.4 billion, which equates to around €9.6 billion. This is based on a price of PLN 461 per share.”
Nine billion! That’s amazing. But as of this Thursday, that price is down to PLN 331 per share–the lowest it’s been since April.
We’re not happy about this. Nobody wants to see a developer succumb to controversy and fail to follow through on its promises. CDPR has produced some incredible games over the years and we’re sure that when Cyberpunk 2077 is finally released, it’ll be a huge success. But that depends on Cyberpunk 2077 being good, and frankly, we’re starting to have our doubts.
One thing is certain: the gaming community needs to have a conversation about the prevalence of crunch time in the industry. Fingers crossed that we get to have that conversation on our own time and not over the flaming wreckage of CDPR.
Cyberpunk 2077 is set to release on December 10 for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.