The real issue for Cyberpunk 2077 wasn’t the delay itself, but the follow-up. Cyberpunk had claimed in the past that they would plan out and ensure that less pressure was placed on developers. Co-founder Marcin Iwiński spoke to that effect, but said they can’t be “200 per cent sure that there won’t be some pressure”. However a different story has emerged from a CDPR conference call. Adam Kiciński, joint-CEO of CDPR, had a different point to share when he was asked if the studio would be crunching after the delay announcement. His response can be seen below.
“To some degree, yes – to be honest. We 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.”
But how could this be? Isn’t the whole point of pushing the game back 5 months to relax crunch? Why, pray tell, would a company push back the release of a product, if not to give more time to developers? Well the truth is, companies push back games to improve the games, but not the lives of their staff.
Crunch & Delays: How to make the worst of both worlds
Delays can also allow development to squeeze in a few extra features. Recall if you will that previously-mentioned list of features. Right at the bottom of the list are the stretch goals. There isn’t enough time or resources to get to those. But what if, purely hypothetically, you had, say, an extra five months? You could get through that list now. But there isn’t enough workers for us to get those features done. The only solution? Make the workers do a lot more work. And that ladies, gentlemen and non-binary friends, is what we call crunch.
In this version of reality, delays are actually making things worse. Essentially, while the deadline shift allows for more development time, studio heads can see this as an opportunity to add more work to the pile. In this situation, delays do nothing to help the crunch. Honestly, delays merely extend the duration of crunch, exacerbating the issue. The people on the top of AAA food chains are the ones handing down these orders. These are people who will never feel the tolls of their decisions. There is no reasonable treatment of the workers, and that is truly scary.