This week, CD Projekt RED co-founder Marcin Iwinski publicly apologized for the state of Cyberpunk 2077, which included bugs on the PC, and huge problems on legacy consoles. In an apology, Iwinski stated that given the scale of Cyberpunk 2077, management was not aware of the bug situation prior to release. These words have been questioned by many, including us, and a new report from Jason Schreier to Bloomberg indicates that the studio staff was well aware of the problems of the game.
Schreier said that he spoke with 20 current and past CD Projekt employees to prepare the material. According to him, the coronavirus pandemic really led to problems in communication and development – for example, the team could not work on the girls in the office. In addition, external tests showed all the problems, and the bugs were not a surprise to Iwinski, whatever he said in the statement, noting that the tests did not reveal most of the release problems of Cyberpunk 2077.
As the release drew nearer, everyone in the studio knew the game was not finished and it was taking longer. The squeezed programmers rushed to fix as many bugs as possible.
Despite all the wishes, a smooth launch was ruled out.
Some developers said that they had to work 13 hours a day, five days a week. One notes that his friends have lost their families due to this pace of work.
The report also says that the problems began in the early stages of development of Cyberpunk 2077. In particular, there were difficulties in writing a new engine and simultaneously developing on it. There were also serious repercussions when Game Director Adam Badovski requested a significant redesign in 2016. Allegedly, a number of The Witcher 3 developers left due to conflicts with Adam’s vision. In addition, CD Projekt faced difficulties managing a team of 500 people, which is twice as much as when developing The Witcher 3.
But one of the main sources of problems in Cyberpunk 2077 is false belief:
We made The Witcher 3, so everything will be fine.
On Twitter, Schreier adds that while the Anthem team was talking about the magic of BioWare – the belief that enough strength and crunch will get the games in order, then CD Projekt had a similar philosophy. When management was asked about impossible deadlines, directors said that everything would be fine. After all, there was already The Witcher 3.
Veterans from other studios were surprised by CDPR’s disorganized approach to development. Example – if someone needed a shader, they developed it themselves. The studio did not have a system for determining if there was a similar shader with a comparable function.
Several developers said that colleagues spoke Polish, which made it feel like they had been expelled. Although studio rules prohibit this. Given the crunch and low salaries, some expats simply quit.
When CDPR said that 10% of the profits would be donated to employees, many thought that the developers would get a lot of money. One tester said that when he started in 2015, he made $ 400 a month. In 2018, as a junior programmer, he was making about $ 700 a month.
Until 2016, Cyberpunk 2077 was conceived as a third-person game. The developers wanted to add wall running, flying cars, ambushes from cars. All this and more has been cut out.
Schreier writes that police AI is so bad because it was done at the last minute. The employees did not understand why they were trying to make RPG and GTA at the same time, but without the resources and forces of Rockstar.
Jason concludes by saying that in fact, development on Cyberpunk 2077 began in 2016. In 2018, CDPR had a mostly fake demo ready. Many employees said the game was not ready for release in 2020, but management believed in the magic of CD Projekt.