Cyberpunk 2077 development was long and controversial, but after delays and crunches, the game released eight years after the first tease.
Cyberpunk 2077 released on Dec. 10 to the masses after a very long development period that saw crunches and delays. The work certainly didn’t stop there for CD Projekt Red Developers, who received a lot of backlash for Cyberpunk’s performance on last-generation consoles and on PCs that were supposed to be able to run the game according to CDPR’s official system requirements. This was the culmination of a 7-year development.
Many people were extra upset about the performance due to how long that the game has been in development for. The game was officially announced on May 30, 2012. That was when CDPR first revealed that a game based on the long-running and beloved tabletop RPG game. From there, eight long years of development concluded in the release date.
It was 2013 when The Witcher 2 finished its big “Enhanced Edition” update and CDPR began to move on to Cyberpunk 2077, showing a vague trailer. It wasn’t until E3 2018 where Cyberpunk 2077 showed off some gameplay and more teases that built up a ton of hype. E3 2019 saw Keanu Reeves help market the game and his role as Johnny Silverhand.
Expectations quickly grew for CDPR and fans across the globe were hyping the game up a bunch. The game was finally set to release on April 16th, 2020. CDPR didn’t meet that goal and instead delayed the game to September 17th. As the Covid-19 pandemic began to shut down a lot of life as we know it, things became a little more difficult for CDPR in their already long journey of Cyberpunk 2077 development.
The September date was pushed to November 19. The two delays in one year was met with a lot of fan frustration, but it was understandable given the circumstances of the year. When the game was delayed again, it was only three weeks though and the game finally released on December 10th to much praise as well as backlash over bugs and performance issues.
The Crunch Problem
The Polish game studio told employees at the end of September that 6-day work weeks would become the norm in order to reach the November release date. This is a part of a practice known as a “crunch,” where developers are often overworked and asked to work long hours, sometimes even without overtime pay. A Bloomberg report shared an email to CDPR employees from studio head Adam Badowski, who wrote that he was optimistic for the game but that the developers would have to work extra.
CDPR did pay employees for overtime, the extra day of the weekend that they worked, in compliance with Polish labor laws. “I know this is in direct opposition to what we’ve said about crunch,” Badowski wrote. “It’s also in direct opposition to what I personally grew to believe a while back, that crunch should never be the answer. But we’ve extended all other possible means of navigating the situation.”
Crunches generally receive a lot of just backlash from the gaming community. For example, some spoke out against Naughty Dog Studio’s various wins for best studio at different awards for putting employees through their own crunch for Game of the Year “The Last of Us Part II.”
Cyberpunk 2077 had a long development that culminated in a game that a lot of people already have fallen in love with, despite the major bugs and performance issues plaguing many gamers. Updates are expected to come to smooth over some bugs.