Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Exposé

Bloomberg's Jason Schreier reports (may require registration or subscription) on what he rightfully calls the "disastrous rollout" of Cyberpunk 2077. He spoke with current and former staff at developer CD PROJEKT RED, most of whom requested anonymity in exchange for their frank assessments of the missteps and mismanagement that led to the problems with the highly anticipated sci-fi RPG. This includes the impact of developing the game's engine alongside the game itself, which one developer likened to trying to drive a train as the tracks are being laid ahead of it at the same time. An interesting detail is development of the game didn't actually begin in earnest until late 2016 even though it was announced in 2012. The story also reports that the game's E3 2018 demo was faked, and that the staff was forced into crunch mode very early in the project, despite repeated promises from management that they would not be subjected to it:
Fans and journalists were wowed by Cyberpunk 2077’s ambition and scale. What they didn’t know was that the demo was almost entirely fake. CD Projekt hadn’t yet finalized and coded the underlying gameplay systems, which is why so many features, such as car ambushes, were missing from the final product. Developers said they felt like the demo was a waste of months that should have gone toward making the game.

Employees were working long hours, even though Iwiński told staff that overtime wouldn’t be mandatory on Cyberpunk 2077. More than a dozen workers said they felt pressured to put in extra hours by their managers or coworkers anyway.

“There were times when I would crunch up to 13 hours a day — a little bit over that was my record probably — and I would do five days a week working like that,” said Jakubiak, the former audio programmer, adding that he quit the company after getting married. “I have some friends who lost their families because of these sort of shenanigans.”
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33 Replies. 2 pages. Viewing page 1.
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33.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expose
Jan 17, 2021, 17:19
33.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expose Jan 17, 2021, 17:19
Jan 17, 2021, 17:19
 
Burrito of Peace wrote on Jan 17, 2021, 11:43:
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Jan 17, 2021, 09:46:
Frode wrote on Jan 17, 2021, 09:25:
Quinn wrote on Jan 17, 2021, 06:09:
this is just another cowardly lynch mob pouncing at the first sign of weakness. It's nothing. It means nothing. It isn't unique. Every company has to deal with the mob one way or another.
What country do you live in that has this as a work culture? Seriously, it sounds horrifying and I can promise you it is not a universal thing. Believe it or not, there are entire countries on this planet where the workplace is not a war between "management" and "workers". Where no manager would feel disgruntled workers are "waiting in the shadows". I pity you and hope you find yourself in a more healthy work environment in the future.

Agreed. Wherever they are from, it doesn't sound like a healthy culture.

It isn't a healthy culture. I have been managing technical people for more than a decade now. You get a toxic workplace from a toxic management structure. Employees that are disgruntled are so because, nearly universally, they feel that their voice isn't being heard. That's a pure management failure.

I have an open door policy for all my people all the way down to the level 1 techs. At any time, they are free to come to me and talk about anything in the strictest confidence. I have dealt with work related issues, marital issues, family issues, and substance abuse problems. My job isn't to judge them nor is it to make their lives more difficult. My first and primary duty is to get as many of the rocks out of my people's path as I possibly can. Happy people do great work. In turn, great work turns in to a great product.

Every quarter, I have an hour long meeting for all of my people. It's literally titled "Airing of the Grievances". It's an open floor and open forum for people to voice their ideas, criticisms, and suggestions on an equal footing. That includes criticisms of me as well.

Not patting myself on the back but the upward evaluations have shown a 73% jump in both management and job satisfaction. Turnover has nearly bottomed out. In turn, the image of our department has dramatically turned around within the entire organization.


Agreed with all you said there. The company I've worked for so very long is Teleperformance. It's a name that you might recognize. It's a behemoth, international customer service company. It wants the best performance from its employees for the worst employee benefits and salary. I do feel like I work for the devil sometimes. Anyway I am blessed with having dozens of connections due to my profession (from managers within Samsung to Epic Games to Coolblue, an online store market leader within the Netherlands) and they share my below mentioned observations. The culture here is more open than the general reputation of the US, actually. I think the difference is that I have to deal with more of the "street kids" and students, and not really the well-paid professionals. So yeah, maybe my experience doesn't apply to CDP. Either way I don't think it's too much to ask to take this shit with a grain of salt and wait for more insight on the matter. CDP, to me, has gained too much goodwill to just throw them in front of the bus.
Avatar 57334
32.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos�
Jan 17, 2021, 13:34
32.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos� Jan 17, 2021, 13:34
Jan 17, 2021, 13:34
 
Quinn wrote on Jan 17, 2021, 06:09:
Getting triggered much, peeps?

As a business unit manager and 6+ years experience as an office supervisor prior, I could theoretically call myself an expert in office mentality. Few facts: 1.) the most disgruntled employees are more often than not also the ones performing the worst. 2.) disgruntled employees band together like a lynch mob, and like all lynch mobs, they pounce at the first sign of weakness among leaders/leadership. This is so common its funny, actually. 3.) said disgruntled employees don't complain. They wait. In the shadows. And if you don't spot them, they infect other employees with their discontent. They don't intend to fix the problems that disgruntle them. They just complain about them behind the back of those who can change them.

Point 3 is the most important, here. Unless a deep investigation into all of this shows that employees opened their mouths about the problems they encountered and proposed their ways to fix them, this is just another cowardly lynch mob pouncing at the first sign of weakness. It's nothing. It means nothing. It isn't unique. Every company has to deal with the mob one way or another.

LOL, really. As a software developer / project lead for 35 years and as a department manager for two years, I can say easily that the most productive employees I've had were also the most honest, and also not the happiest. They didn't "hide in the shadows" but were willing to speak out because they knew of their value and that other people would listen. They also cared about the company and the direction things were going, which is why they tended to not be the happiest with a bad status quo. The least productive developers wouldn't say anything because they were just happy to have a job. They really didn't care about much else. So I call BS on your "expert" opinion.
31.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Exposé
Jan 17, 2021, 12:15
31.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Exposé Jan 17, 2021, 12:15
Jan 17, 2021, 12:15
 
I worked professionally as a programmer in the game industry for 17 years.

I've seen this exact thing many times. Here's the real problem: Game industry is a CREATIVE industry, and as such there is always INFINITE amounts of work to do. Even on a product that you consider "done", there's still infinite work to do, bug fixes, "stretch goal" features, etc. How do you do infinite amount of work? Why work infinitely of course!

Oh and the DEMO thing? I've gone through that exact situation before. Usually called a "vertical slice". Management just sees this as "We don't need the whole game, just this little part to show". That might be ok for the art department; but guess what, for programmers that still means that major systems have to function and not be buggy, so basically, the game. Now everyone has to crunch.

I put in my time in the slave pens of the game industry, and it needs to change. It almost ruined my life and marriage too. I remember walking into a bosses office and saying (at like 7pm!) "I have to go home now... my wife is threating to leave me." and his reply was a simple huff and a "Well, I guess if you have to."

So advice for any of you youngins that want to get into the game industry. Do it before you get married or have serious relationships. You must have NO LIFE in order to survive, and when you get one; its time to get out. Would I go back and not do it? Hell no. Working on games as a job is magical and awesome. I wouldn't give up those years for the world; but it almost cost me the world.

30.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expose
Jan 17, 2021, 11:43
30.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expose Jan 17, 2021, 11:43
Jan 17, 2021, 11:43
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Jan 17, 2021, 09:46:
Frode wrote on Jan 17, 2021, 09:25:
Quinn wrote on Jan 17, 2021, 06:09:
this is just another cowardly lynch mob pouncing at the first sign of weakness. It's nothing. It means nothing. It isn't unique. Every company has to deal with the mob one way or another.
What country do you live in that has this as a work culture? Seriously, it sounds horrifying and I can promise you it is not a universal thing. Believe it or not, there are entire countries on this planet where the workplace is not a war between "management" and "workers". Where no manager would feel disgruntled workers are "waiting in the shadows". I pity you and hope you find yourself in a more healthy work environment in the future.

Agreed. Wherever they are from, it doesn't sound like a healthy culture.

It isn't a healthy culture. I have been managing technical people for more than a decade now. You get a toxic workplace from a toxic management structure. Employees that are disgruntled are so because, nearly universally, they feel that their voice isn't being heard. That's a pure management failure.

I have an open door policy for all my people all the way down to the level 1 techs. At any time, they are free to come to me and talk about anything in the strictest confidence. I have dealt with work related issues, marital issues, family issues, and substance abuse problems. My job isn't to judge them nor is it to make their lives more difficult. My first and primary duty is to get as many of the rocks out of my people's path as I possibly can. Happy people do great work. In turn, great work turns in to a great product.

Every quarter, I have an hour long meeting for all of my people. It's literally titled "Airing of the Grievances". It's an open floor and open forum for people to voice their ideas, criticisms, and suggestions on an equal footing. That includes criticisms of me as well.

Not patting myself on the back but the upward evaluations have shown a 73% jump in both management and job satisfaction. Turnover has nearly bottomed out. In turn, the image of our department has dramatically turned around within the entire organization.

"No matter where you go, there you are." Buckaroo Banzai

There are two types of computer users: Masochists and Linux users.

If you would like help or further details on a technical discussion we're having, email me at bnhelp (at sign) keepusiel.net .
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29.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Exposé
Jan 17, 2021, 10:45
29.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Exposé Jan 17, 2021, 10:45
Jan 17, 2021, 10:45
 
It's unskilled managers that create a toxic workplace.
Lying to employees always increases morale.
- I refer to it as BC, Before Corona, and AD, After Disaster. -
Avatar 58135
28.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Exposé
Jan 17, 2021, 10:27
28.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Exposé Jan 17, 2021, 10:27
Jan 17, 2021, 10:27
 
With everything going on in the world, if any of you are concerned about a game development crisis, you should seriously consider getting help. There is a pandemic raging.
27.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos�
Jan 17, 2021, 09:46
27.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos� Jan 17, 2021, 09:46
Jan 17, 2021, 09:46
 
Frode wrote on Jan 17, 2021, 09:25:
Quinn wrote on Jan 17, 2021, 06:09:
this is just another cowardly lynch mob pouncing at the first sign of weakness. It's nothing. It means nothing. It isn't unique. Every company has to deal with the mob one way or another.
What country do you live in that has this as a work culture? Seriously, it sounds horrifying and I can promise you it is not a universal thing. Believe it or not, there are entire countries on this planet where the workplace is not a war between "management" and "workers". Where no manager would feel disgruntled workers are "waiting in the shadows". I pity you and hope you find yourself in a more healthy work environment in the future.
Agreed. Wherever they are from, it doesn't sound like a healthy culture.
"The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."
Avatar 22891
26.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos�
Jan 17, 2021, 09:25
26.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos� Jan 17, 2021, 09:25
Jan 17, 2021, 09:25
 
Quinn wrote on Jan 17, 2021, 06:09:
this is just another cowardly lynch mob pouncing at the first sign of weakness. It's nothing. It means nothing. It isn't unique. Every company has to deal with the mob one way or another.
What country do you live in that has this as a work culture? Seriously, it sounds horrifying and I can promise you it is not a universal thing. Believe it or not, there are entire countries on this planet where the workplace is not a war between "management" and "workers". Where no manager would feel disgruntled workers are "waiting in the shadows". I pity you and hope you find yourself in a more healthy work environment in the future.
25.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos�
Jan 17, 2021, 09:24
25.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos� Jan 17, 2021, 09:24
Jan 17, 2021, 09:24
 
Midnight wrote on Jan 17, 2021, 07:27:
Quinn wrote on Jan 17, 2021, 06:09:
Getting triggered much, peeps?
As a business unit manager and 6+ years experience as an office supervisor prior...

I am so glad you're not my boss.

I'm a really nice and selfless person in real life, or so they say. Online hostility brings out the bitch in me is all. <3
Avatar 57334
24.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos�
Jan 17, 2021, 07:27
24.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos� Jan 17, 2021, 07:27
Jan 17, 2021, 07:27
 
Quinn wrote on Jan 17, 2021, 06:09:
Getting triggered much, peeps?
As a business unit manager and 6+ years experience as an office supervisor prior...

I am so glad you're not my boss.
23.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos�
Jan 17, 2021, 07:07
23.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos� Jan 17, 2021, 07:07
Jan 17, 2021, 07:07
 
Read the article, let me provide a condensed version. Technical people repeatedly not listened to. Marketing people driving things. LOL
Avatar 24272
22.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos�
Jan 17, 2021, 06:09
22.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos� Jan 17, 2021, 06:09
Jan 17, 2021, 06:09
 
Simon Says wrote on Jan 17, 2021, 05:34:
NKD wrote on Jan 16, 2021, 23:03:
BIGtrouble77 wrote on Jan 16, 2021, 20:32:
Quinn wrote on Jan 16, 2021, 19:32:
Cancel Culture is too malicious and hungry for me to take this stuff at face value. People just love to set fire to stuff just to watch it burn these days.
Who's getting cancelled here? I do agree with your second point, I'm not interested in seeing CDPR burn, I just want devs to be treated better.

Haven't you heard? "Cancel Culture" is when you complain about anything instead of just taking it and asking for more.

But seriously, if we're now labelling "Consumers complaining about how a company treats its workers and its customers" as "cancel culture" then we have a big problem.

How dare you debunk echo chamber propaganda buzzwords! SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!

Getting triggered much, peeps?

As a business unit manager and 6+ years experience as an office supervisor prior, I could theoretically call myself an expert in office mentality. Few facts: 1.) the most disgruntled employees are more often than not also the ones performing the worst. 2.) disgruntled employees band together like a lynch mob, and like all lynch mobs, they pounce at the first sign of weakness among leaders/leadership. This is so common its funny, actually. 3.) said disgruntled employees don't complain. They wait. In the shadows. And if you don't spot them, they infect other employees with their discontent. They don't intend to fix the problems that disgruntle them. They just complain about them behind the back of those who can change them.

Point 3 is the most important, here. Unless a deep investigation into all of this shows that employees opened their mouths about the problems they encountered and proposed their ways to fix them, this is just another cowardly lynch mob pouncing at the first sign of weakness. It's nothing. It means nothing. It isn't unique. Every company has to deal with the mob one way or another.
Avatar 57334
21.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos�
Jan 17, 2021, 05:34
21.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos� Jan 17, 2021, 05:34
Jan 17, 2021, 05:34
 
NKD wrote on Jan 16, 2021, 23:03:
BIGtrouble77 wrote on Jan 16, 2021, 20:32:
Quinn wrote on Jan 16, 2021, 19:32:
Cancel Culture is too malicious and hungry for me to take this stuff at face value. People just love to set fire to stuff just to watch it burn these days.
Who's getting cancelled here? I do agree with your second point, I'm not interested in seeing CDPR burn, I just want devs to be treated better.

Haven't you heard? "Cancel Culture" is when you complain about anything instead of just taking it and asking for more.

But seriously, if we're now labelling "Consumers complaining about how a company treats its workers and its customers" as "cancel culture" then we have a big problem.

How dare you debunk echo chamber propaganda buzzwords! SHAME, SHAME, SHAME!
20.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos�
Jan 17, 2021, 05:12
20.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos� Jan 17, 2021, 05:12
Jan 17, 2021, 05:12
 
This is just a witch hunt now. The have come put with a remedial plan, just let them get on with it. Refunds were offered, noone is forcing people to buy it. Just come back later.

I got my money worth for entertainment, patch 1.06 was stable enough to play (less than a month after), the game simply didnt live up to my expectations. As for bugs, it wasnt released with paradox or bethesda level bugs on launch.

As for working conditions, software development is pretty cut throat. Game development even more so. This sort of practice is fairly normal and was similar back in 90s. I remember when the working time directive was introduced in the EU, we all got letters to opt out of it. It wasnt mandatory but EVERYONE who didnt sign it was redeployed and eventually gotten rid of, all above board, all legal under company restructuring.
Never argue with an idiot. They will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.
19.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Exposé
Jan 17, 2021, 04:25
19.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Exposé Jan 17, 2021, 04:25
Jan 17, 2021, 04:25
 
Kxmode wrote on Jan 17, 2021, 00:41:
Called it
You did. Illusion vs reality is a favorite literary theme for me and happens all the time in real life situations.
18.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos�
Jan 17, 2021, 04:22
18.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos� Jan 17, 2021, 04:22
Jan 17, 2021, 04:22
 
All the content of the E3 2018 demo is in the game, in a better form.

It's not the case of the Half-Life 2 E3 2003 demo where the AI was faked. By example, if you try to reproduce this in the game: https://youtu.be/yxYviVfwAHA?t=184 the enemy will open the door as usual, no matter how many objects are placed in front of it.

I am not criticizing Valve. That's the way it is for almost every game. It's the principle of most demos...To present this as outrageous is ignorance or bad faith.
17.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos�
Jan 17, 2021, 01:02
17.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Expos� Jan 17, 2021, 01:02
Jan 17, 2021, 01:02
 
Quinn wrote on Jan 16, 2021, 19:32:
Cancel Culture is too malicious and hungry for me to take this stuff at face value. People just love to set fire to stuff just to watch it burn these days.

Such an ignorant statement. But, then again, ignorance is so in vogue these days.
16.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Exposé
Jan 17, 2021, 01:01
16.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Exposé Jan 17, 2021, 01:01
Jan 17, 2021, 01:01
 
GothicWizard wrote on Jan 16, 2021, 23:58:
That said and more on the point, the whole 'fake trailer' is laughable. Every trade show demo a year+ out from release is a tech demo/slice. Nothing was "promised" to you feature wise (hence the watermark WORK IN PROGRESS SUBJECT TO CHANGE or whatever the exact verbiage they used was in said videos) things come and go through development. Especially with the development this ambitious. They bit off more then they could get done in the time they had. Just like what happened to NMS or FO76 or even daikatana.

That's general protocol with early previews, yes, but you're missing the point here. Some stuff from the demo slice didn't make it, of course, but most of it did. All the content and deeply scripted NPC interactions are actually in the game with minor changes, and you see it all in the first few hours of the campaign. Things like destructible environments and complex branching quest paths are there and playable, but ONLY in those early missions they showed off back then. The first 5-10 hours of Cyberpunk are mind-blowing, and then the real game begins... It's still pretty good, IMO, but the fact that they couldn't give it that same level of polish throughout is tragic.
15.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Exposé
Jan 17, 2021, 00:41
Kxmode
 
15.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Exposé Jan 17, 2021, 00:41
Jan 17, 2021, 00:41
 Kxmode
 
Called it
"What is the most resilient parasite? Bacteria? A virus? An intestinal worm? An idea. Resilient... highly contagious. Once an idea has taken hold of the brain it is almost impossible to eradicate."
Avatar 18786
14.
 
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Exposé
Jan 17, 2021, 00:39
Jivaro
 
14.
Re: Cyberpunk 2077 Development Debacle Exposé Jan 17, 2021, 00:39
Jan 17, 2021, 00:39
 Jivaro
 
I think it's possible to both enjoy the games the industry produced and at the same time acknowledge that the industry needs improvements made in its employment culture. Call me crazy I guess...
Avatar 55841
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