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News Bloomberg: CD Projekt Changes Developer Bonus Structure After Buggy Release

Dec 8, 2020
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The Turtle Club
Overview of Polish labor laws.

Unless CDPR is breaking the law, nobody is working more than 48 hours per week, and you are legally prohibited from working more than 18.75 extra days at 8 hours a day per year.

Now the constant 100 hour weeks of the bad old days are bullshit unless you're the CEO (people who think CEOs of large companies have "personal lives" are hilariously misinformed), but let's cut the shit about the 'sweatshop' conditions of 48 hours per week.

I can't remember the last time I only worked 48 hours.
Most countries have overtime laws. They're easily bypassed with waivers. CDPR developers were working 100 hour weeks on games like The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077. It's all under the guise of "voluntary" but people are bullied into it. AAA game development is full of bullying and peer pressure and collective punishment.

German overtime law says you can't work longer than 60 hours a week, and no more than 48 hours average over 6 months. But guess what? Crytek found ways around that so the Ryse team could crunch and crunch and crunch to ship the game. It was a nightmare. There are laws around paying your employees, and Crytek found ways around those, too, until it finally caught up to them.

The games industry is rotten, and people should stop being naive about it. Australia has reasonably strong protection laws, including overtime protection. Rockstar (historically a notorious hellhole of a company) and Team Bondi found ways around that.

"This meant that many people felt obligated to continue working under the poor conditions because they feared that the company would not pay up the overtime they had accrued. "Company's discretion" is incredibly vague, so nobody wanted to publicly speak out about the working conditions in case there was retribution from management. Then there was the issue of when the overtime was due to be paid - we (rightly) assumed that people would be made redundant at the end of the project, so would these people still be paid their overtime since they wouldn't be with Team Bondi three months after the end of the project? Also, since the overtime was only to be paid out at the end of the project, it meant that if the game failed and Team Bondi went bankrupt, then nobody would have received overtime payment. Team Bondi being shut down was always a very real possibility for us, it was only thanks to Rockstar's bankrolling that they continued to survive. I mention these points to enforce that it was always very unclear whether this overtime would be paid."


The crazy part is that Team Bondi didn't pay anyone's overtime anyway, and somehow got away with it. Now notorious abuser Brendan McNamara is running a new studio and working for Rockstar on a VR game. The scummy management always gets away with this stuff while the employees who endured terrible, frankly illegal conditions are abandoned.
 

Papacheeks

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Overview of Polish labor laws.



Unless CDPR is breaking the law, nobody is working more than 48 hours per week, and you are legally prohibited from working more than 18.75 extra days at 8 hours a day per year.

Now the constant 100 hour weeks of the bad old days are bullshit unless you're the CEO (people who think CEOs of large companies have "personal lives" are hilariously misinformed), but let's cut the shit about the 'sweatshop' conditions of 48 hours per week.

I can't remember the last time I only worked 48 hours.

Isnt that for hourly, not salaried?
 

theclaw135

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Xbox One version is nearly unplayable I refunded my digital purchase. I don’t mind waiting till I can play the game properly.

Gamers need to speak out against last gen ports. Next generation games deserve to be treated as such, from the beginning, ensuring nothing is compromised to make the game feasible on weaker hardware.
 
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Dec 8, 2020
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What are you talking about? They still crunch.
No, they do not. EA have very firm anti-crunch policies and extremely high employee satisfaction partially for that reason. I'm not sure why you'd make a claim like that.
And why is EA given a pass for Bioware? "Best company around" allows multiple studios under their employ to crunch at the same time, but that's okay because...?
Because it wasn't happening under EA's watch. EA's behavior was exemplary. Bioware was autonomous, had always been terrible, and got away with a lot of stuff EA corporate would never have tolerated if they'd known about it.
also, crunch is everywhere in tech. Fucking everywhere. To pretend it is unique to games is a lie, and not even a good one.
Name a single field outside gaming where crunching on a project for years without stopping is normal. It's not. Nobody else runs projects like that. The games industry is uniquely terrible. Nobody should join the games industry if they can avoid it. It's soul crushing. Project management in the videogame space is a joke compared to normal software dev. There are not bursts of crunch to meet deadlines. There are literal YEARS of non-stop crunch to meet impossible deadlines that get pushed back forever. Death march is normal in game dev. It is considered a sign of completely incompetence outside of game dev.

Game dev treats QA like garbage. Outside game dev, QA is valued.
If you are working on a product, especially one with a fixed date, there is always a possibility of overtime and crunch. No union or government intervention is going to change that.
You can't force people to crunch when they have the government behind them. Either conditions improve, or the game doesn't get made. And the government investigators start handing out fines. Attempting to fire people in retribution is also highly illegal in most countries. America has no protections whatsoever, and like I say, companies try to weasel out of protections with waivers.
 
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Amiga

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severity of bugs should be the 1st thing to consider with bonuses before any metric score,

also user score before media score, users that buy the game should be more important than media that get the games free and could trash it anyway.
 
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oagboghi2

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No, they do not. EA have very firm anti-crunch policies and extremely high employee satisfaction partially for that reason. I'm not sure why you'd make a claim like that.

Because it wasn't happening under EA's watch. EA's behavior was exemplary. Bioware was autonomous, had always been terrible, and got away with a lot of stuff EA corporate would never have tolerated if they'd known about it.

Name a single field outside gaming where crunching on a project for years without stopping is normal. It's not. Nobody else runs projects like that. The games industry is uniquely terrible. Nobody should join the games industry if they can avoid it. It's soul crushing.

You can't force people to crunch when they have the government behind them. Either conditions improve, or the game doesn't get made. And the government investigators start handing out fines. Attempting to fire people in retribution is also highly illegal in most countries. America has no protections whatsoever, and like I say, companies try to weasel out of protections with waivers.
Are you serious? Bioware is owned by EA. Yes, they crunched...under EA's watch. 3 different studios, on 2 different projects. All owned by EA

Respawn studios had to come out and issue a press release because an employee posted about the crunch....just this year.

"I feel extremely stressed and burnt out trying to keep our seasonal releases on the same aggressive timeline as pre-shelter," the review reads. "I currently work 12 to 13 hours a day and there is no separation between my home and work life.

"We have no idea how to do a live service project, which means poor planning decisions and no sizing of work, means we actually have very little idea of how much we can accomplish in a given month."

The employee added that no attention has been paid to the team's health, exacerbated by conflicting messages of "please take care of your health" and expecting longer hours to meet the same deadlines.

"I am so burned out that I am considering leaving without a next job to go to just so mentally I can be in a better place," the post concludes.

Also, Tiburon crunches as well, but I know that from a personal friend


oh yeah, EA is perfect. Exemplary.I guess when you outsource your crunch to other studios, that you own, you get a pass. :rolleyes:

They are not perfect. They crunch like everyone else. Wanna know how I know. Because they work on a retail product.

Name a single field outside gaming where crunching on a project for years without stopping is normal. It's not. Nobody else runs projects like that. The games industry is uniquely terrible. Nobody should join the games industry if they can avoid it. It's soul crushing.
This is moronic. "No one should join the gaming industry." Okay dude :rolleyes:

Name like, any start-up. Any healthcare project come end of the year. Overtime is not some unique thing that only exists in gaming.

You can't force people to crunch when they have the government behind them. Either conditions improve, or the game doesn't get made. And the government investigators start handing out fines. Attempting to fire people in retribution is also highly illegal in most countries. America has no protections whatsoever, and like I say, companies try to weasel out of protections with waivers.
You poor, poor child. Whatever you need to tell yourself
 
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Are you serious? Bioware is owned by EA. Yes, they crunched...under EA's watch. 3 different studios, on 2 different projects. All owned by EA


oh yeah, EA is perfect. Exemplary.I guess when you outsource your crunch to other studios, that you own, you get a pass. :rolleyes:

They are not perfect. They crunch like everyone else. Wanna know how I know. Because they work on a retail product.

This is moronic. No one should join the gaming industry." Okay dude :rolleyes:

Name like, any start-up. Any healthcare project come end of the year. Overtime is not some unique thing that only exists in gaming.

You poor, poor child. Whatever you need to tell yourself

Dude's literally cucking for EA. Tryna get a pack boost from the devs in Madden, huh
 
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Bkdk

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Their art, environment and visuals team definitely deserves the bonus, the other departments it’s just not up to par, especially combat, quest level design, AI and bug testing. No way rushing the game is a problem, this took 5.5 years of full development+3 years of early planning. Witcher 3 took them just 4 full years Ubisoft can make a passable open world rpg trilogy in 6 years. I simply don’t have the patience to wait that long for a game to be released anymore. It’s not like the experience is so good that it’s worth that long of a wait either, not even close.
 
Dec 8, 2020
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Are you serious? Bioware is owned by EA. Yes, they crunched...under EA's watch. 3 different studios, on 2 different projects. All owned by EA

Respawn studios had to come out and issue a press release because an employee posted about the crunch....just this year.
While this is a fair point, it boils down to studios like Respawn being unable to adjust to COVID conditions with pre-existing deadlines. Instead of going to EA and saying, "We won't hit this leadline," they insist on hitting it anyway despite lowered work capacity. This isn't the publisher's fault. EA's anti-crunch mandate is clear, and studios like DICE are adamant that they will not allow it. If studios are disobeying behind the scenes, that's on them. Electronic Arts are extremely considerate of their employees.
Name like, any start-up. Any healthcare project come end of the year. Overtime is not some unique thing that only exists in gaming.
We are not talking about normal overtime. We are not talking about typical project crunch where people have to meet a deadline and work really hard to hit it. We are talking about the videogame industry's very special branch of crunch that starts and then never ends. People working 12+ hours a day for week after week, month after month, year after year.

You conflate typical project overtime with the game industry's abuses. They are not the same thing. "Any healthcare project come end of year". That's not in the same league as videogame crunch. Clint Hocking got brain damage working on Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory. He doesn't remember stuff that happened because he was destroying himself working insane hours week after week all the way until the game shipped. This is normal in game dev. It's not normal elsewhere. Game dev sucks the life out of people. Because games take 3-5 years to make. Maybe longer. And you might end up crunching for 2+ years without any end in sight. Sacrificing everything for the game. Then you get laid off.

So many people say, "Oh, I worked long hours for a month and it was really hard but I got over it." They have no concept of working non-stop crunch hours for literal years. Holidays cancelled. Family members die and you can't attend their funeral. Your life evaporates. The game becomes everything as your body begins to fail. That is the true face of game development. The only industry that is as bad, or perhaps worse, is VFX/CG. Remember the horror stories out of Pixar? Where Toy Story 2 was made from scratch in 9 months? People were falling asleep at their desks, leaving their kids locked in the car, and generally falling apart because making a film in that amount of time was insanity. Non-stop crunch like that permanently damages people. It should not happen. It should not be normalized.
 

hemo memo

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Game has a 90 score on metacritic tho.

PC version. Also 6.1 user score which will only go lower from here because that’s the nature of user scores on MC. Also sites that will review the console version will rip it apart.
 

McCheese

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But it has 91 on metacritic, so isn't this a completely empty gesture?

Still, nice they all get their bonuses this year. Imagine crunching and not getting anything as the game "only" got 89 due to that awful review by GameSpot.
 
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I see that worm schreier is again trying to manufacture drama and frame the situation different than it is. The poor devs receive attention if they work harder which encourages crounch. The dumbass ignores this is in every corporation in the world and theres nothing bad about it, nor does it encourage overtime nor crunch. Its for the guy or guys that excel above most at their given task. Its only natural to give a little extra for that guy. Its that work that you do which gives you a higher raise when your review comes up and the guy who did half of that gets a smaller raise.

Another non news by schreier who desperately tries to make it into "a thing"
 

Barakov

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Dodo123

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They will do anything to cancel this game and this company, it will do well though - sorry guys.
It's true that CDPR functions more and more like a typical western corporation and that's probably bad. They had to learn to transition from a local developer to a huge international one. But your hypocricy is showing because of that. Nearly all these corporations are doing this, corporations from your countries - not just a single Polish dev that you're hating now because that's the current trend and narrative. Would be great if you could look at this holisticaly. The tech industry is project based and that's typical that many people "move on", after the project is done. Also, there will always be a group that doesn't like the company's culture or structure etc. It's really not that hard to find a complainer in such a big firm. Sone devs that worked on Witcher crunched because they wanted and they cared. Not everyone treats their work like just a 9to5 way to earn money and then f*** off.

CDPR got too big and too succesfull, so these western companies need to drag it down - it's called competition.
 
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MastaKiiLA

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Why are people shooting the messenger here? None of you are on the CDPR payroll, so not sure why the staunch and irrational defense. This just seems like a report about information that can be construed as positive, since it somewhat alleviates the negative information we previously learned about the eternal crunch. If anything, this shows that Jason is more interested in sharing information about the workings of the company, rather than just pushing an agenda.
 
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MrS

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This will inevitably drop in to the 80s and it’s only correct that workers get their bonuses as its management and shareholders who have fucked up the launch by rushing it out. The game needs a lot more work.
 
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B-universe

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I have to assume you're American,

Assume whatever is convenient for your thesis.
Who I am or where I come from is completely irrelevant. This discussion isn't about me.

and view this issue through the lens of America's basically non-existent worker protections and kind of bonkers work culture where, for example, tipping is a thing.

Newsflash: mine is a principled position.

It's not because I have been brought up in this or in that culture, it is not because
I take a specific corporate culture for granted, it is not because I view it as the default state of the world, that I hold these views. No. It is because I consciously embrace them, because they redefect a non-contradictory take on rights.

Ideologically speaking, there's no such things as "worker rights", just as there's no such thing as "chairman rights" or "shareholders rights". Individuals have universal abstract rights, that apply equally to workers, management and shareholders. CD Projekt Red and developers, both in-house and outsourced, enter a voluntary relationship codified in a contract. Both parties know what they are getting themselves into. Both patties are free to terminate their relationship, if at any point in time they feel the contract is not being upheld or that they're dissatisfied with the relationship.

It is beyond patronizing to even insinuate you would know what's best for these developers than the developers themselves. This admonition certainly includes you, who has no in-depth idea of CDPR's financial situation, have no idea of their business plans and respective needs for cash, have no idea what each individual developer is outputting, and have no idea of each developer's personal circumstances. In short, you know absolutely nothing that's required to make grand pronouncements about whether the salaries are adequate or not. Do not pretend you have any of the critical information.

But the principle would still apply, even if indeed wages at CDPR were the worst in the industry: developers entered the relationship voluntarily, knowing full well what they would be getting as their base salary. They're conscious adults. They're not children fresh out of middle grade, in need of a strong parental hand from a random anonymous person. Presumably, they can make decisions that concern themselves alone without the well-meaning but ultimately condescending help of people who know them from Adam. Besides, they can always quit and source better opportunities. If they're being underpaid, as you claim, that means opportunities exist elsewhere to be better paid.

Voluntary, uncoerced relationships between free adults. This is the vision for the future.

I don't mean that as an insult or to sound smug, but rather as the base reason we'll never see eye to eye on this.

Speak for yourself.

I am a rational person. Should you present a compelling argument, I will change my mind on the spot and, instantly, we will see eye to eye. Rational people will always change their minds, as frequently as justified, in order to adhere to truth and hold a model that comports with reality.

It is also bizarre you would think there are no classic liberal, libertarian, conservative, objectivist and anarcho-capitalist traditions in Europe. It is true, as a rule, social-democracy is the norm, but that by no means the former don't exist in the old continent.

It's almost as if you're holding on to a clichéd view of both the States and Europe, a view that is immaterial and completely irrelevant to the substantive argument, anyway.

The dominance of America in discussions around videogame labour issues is a problem because America's labour laws are a joke. America's work culture is a joke.

There's no doubt in my mind Americans resent your opinion and will proceed to change labour laws come next Monday, in order to get your stamp of approval.

Meanwhile, you might want to come up with a rational non self-contradictory conception of rights, upon which your entire thesis hinges. To me, this debate, which has been raging on for centuries, is like Groundhog Day, where the libertarian side's arguments deliver a powerful Knock out time and time again.

You seem to think that "Just get another job" is a workable solution in an industry that will blacklist anyone who steps out of line.

Provide evidence of widespread blacklisting. Provide evidence it applies to the European country of Poland. Provide evidence it applies to CD Projekt Red. Provide evidence these developers cannot start their own studio.

Off the top of my head, I can name three indie studios started by ex-CD Projekt RED employees.

This is why devs will only speak anonymously. Anything else will attract the wrath of the robber-barons.

Former and current developers have spoken publicly both attacking and defending CD Projekt RED. Have you forgotten this fact?

I am not especially bothered by truthful leaks. Jason can reveal the factual info he finds relevant. But I don't happen to share his and yours political bent. And if I were the CEO I certainly would try to preserve the confidentiality of certain documents.

The AAA games industry has a broken model that treats employees like garbage, so they burn out, and are replaced with fresh faced "passionate" recruits. The industry is constantly bleeding talent as a result.

Possibly.

But it's still up to the industry, isn't it? Their money, their company, their rules. Business owners have the right to run their operations as they desire, and that certainly includes in stupid, irrational, or even in the long term fatal ways.

The PR disaster CD Projekt RED is going through at the moment will hopefully have them reflect on their management.

Most devs don't last longer than a few years. Job security is almost non-existent.

No one is owed a job. No one is owed job security.

Join the army, or become a public servant, who in some European countries cannot be fired short of corruption or, I don't know, setting the building on fire, if you want "job security".

Ship a game that sells 10 million copies, and get laid off anyway,

Exactly. The people who get to make the decision make the decision, even if the decision proves to be downright absurd and detrimental to their own interests.

while the executives reap the benefits.

Exactly. The owners of the company, the only people with legitimacy to decide those matters, have given free rein to executives. This is how it is supposed to be, which doesn't mean executives won't make silly, self-serving decisions. If you don't like it, start your own studio, risking your own money, and coming up with your own rules.

Anyone who leaves a project is punished by having their name removed from the credits, a practice considered unacceptable in mediums such as film which have unions.

Developers an unionize.

Videogames need unions.

And unions need people who want to unionize. Apparently, you haven't been able to persuade that many people.

I wonder why.

They need government intervention.

That's exactly what they don't need.

Government intervention is required when individual rights are being violated. Government should leave society alone in practically all other cases. Apparently, some people have never been exposed to case studies of what happens wen D. Quixote, The Government, decides to fight the Windmills.

The Australian government should have come down on Team Bondi like a ton of bricks, for example. So much of what they were doing was immoral and illegal.

I'm not going to address to legality.

Why do your moral views bind me? If I am bound by your moral views, are you bound by mine? Why not? Are you royalty? Do you have blue blood and therefore your views take precedence over mine, is that it?

Work out the glaring problems with your worldview, if you don't mind.

But the videogame industry is adept at weaseling out of responsibility, finding ways not to pay bonuses, avoiding local labour laws by forcing employees to sign waivers, and so on.

Take them to court, if you believe you're the victim of illegal wrongdoings.

Many AAA publishers and devs are extremely abusive, exploitative workplaces, with a few bright spots like Electronic Arts, who treat their employees extremely well because people in leadership believe in the welfare of their employees.

That's the beauty of free market economies.

Make enough dumb mistakes in a row and your ship sinks. If management keeps scaring top talent away, the competition will attract it and - you get the picture.

CD Projekt RED may have a lesson to learn. It certainly isn't the one you're offering.
 
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LarknThe4th

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Seems like it's a total shit show on Ps4 and Xbox, so this makes sense cause that meta is going to go through the floor when the versions that most are actually going to play start getting scores
 

kuncol02

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Word gets out about how bad a studio is pretty quickly nowdays, even if casual consumers (and management) remain in denial and think everything is peachy.
I'm not working in industry (I'm business software developer) and even I was told that if I would want to change my career and go to gamedev then I should never ever apply to CDP.
 

oagboghi2

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Seems like it's a total shit show on Ps4 and Xbox, so this makes sense cause that meta is going to go through the floor when the versions that most are actually going to play start getting scores
What reviews are left? CyberPunk has a 90 rating on 69 reviews
 
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Wintersun77

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PC version. Also 6.1 user score which will only go lower from here because that’s the nature of user scores on MC. Also sites that will review the console version will rip it apart.

Higher, because most people are actually busy plaing the game. Negative scores are mostly from "my game is broken' people. It will finish one day, CDP will patch it like crazy, until make it super smooth for everyone, knowing them. Cyberpunk is very rich and ambitious game, it will defend itself.
 

kuncol02

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CDPR got too big and too succesfull, so these western companies need to drag it down - it's called competition.
CDPR got too big and it's awfull work culture and management style is not working anymore. Even durring Witcher 3 development they had huge problems with crunch and other work related problems and it only got worse.

not defending it but they aren't the only ones. somehow Rockstar gets a pass despite the crunch they do.
Rockstar is not operating in country where demand for IT specialist is way bigger than supply. There are estimates that Poland needs 50k-100k more IT specialist that it has. What you think what happens when senior developer decides that he has enough of his current management? How long till he finds better job? My current team in last 2 years hired 2 developers. Not because we don't need more people, but because only two candidates send they CV in that time.
 

Wintersun77

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CDPR got too big and it's awfull work culture and management style is not working anymore. Even durring Witcher 3 development they had huge problems with crunch and other work related problems and it only got worse.

Well, that's not all true. You always hear about crunch and other things in CDP, etc, because there are some people, like Shreier, watching them very deeply, and looking for some fame the cheapest way. The truth is EVERY succesful studio has crunch, controversial management, work conditions, and other same things like CDP. Just it's not that shocking to write 'Ubisoft has crunch', or 'Arcane has crunch', etc. This makes wrong imagination today that CDP is evil, other are better. No, big studios are all the same, i can ensure you:)

Anyway, i can't understand why there's so much crying over talented programmers works conditions, they are like 1% of the richest people on this earth, especially if you have some experience, you can find some new job next day, if you want. I mean, they're not like some poor children from Bangladesh who made your T-shirt LOL...
 
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Tripolygon

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Crunch is crunch, right? Or are you saying vary between countries?
Crunch is crunch but it varies between countries and between industries, companies, bosses, CEOs, Managers etc.

For example, Drs and Nurses crunch 80hrs+ work weeks but they also get paid more (Drs) on average. This also vary per country. Waiters for example in the US get paid by tips so this forces them to work overtime and long hours to make more because they depend on tips. See how crunch can be different even in the same country and different industry.

In my previous job, overtime was not allowed, once you hit your hour for the day you are required to take breaks and go home but during your work hours you are also required to work hard as hell until you are physically exhausted then you see people start making mistakes and causing more accidents that is why the insurance rate for the company went up and they almost went out of business. All because my manager wanted people to give 200%, another from of crunch. My last job with Amazon was another hell, decent pay but the work is hard on you physically and mentally.
 
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They're scared of the metacritic score dropping below 90 cus Management rushed the game out and decided they're not gonna do metacritic bonuses and will just give the bonuses no matter what since there's a chance it'll drop below

It is dropping to 89 any second now. That's a travesty for arguably the most hyped game of modern times. Missed the mark massively.
 
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Kokoloko85

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not defending it but they aren't the only ones. somehow Rockstar gets a pass despite the crunch they do.

double standards.

Im sure alot of studios do it. I just hear more about CDPR, alot of “Journalists” and Youtubers who had many stories about CDPR stopped talking bad about them after getting gifts and attention from them lol.
 

Kerlurk

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I've worked for a company were you had employees hang around at their desks, after 5pm going home time, to impress the boss, and it works, regardless of their zero productivity.

I went home at 5pm, and my work ethic was called into question.
 

Torrent of Pork

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I knew it. My tax money goes to pay for your drug habits!
% of load when I was a lease operator, and performance pay as a company driver. I have the incentive to not fuck off, and my boss both knows how hungry I am for work, and doesn't have to metaphorically look over my shoulder.

Edit - I forget, are you the Gaffer that owns a trucking company?
 
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Riven326

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% of load when I was a lease operator, and performance pay as a company driver. I have the incentive to not fuck off, and my boss both knows how hungry I am for work, and doesn't have to metaphorically look over my shoulder.

Edit - I forget, are you the Gaffer that owns a trucking company?
No. I actually forgot who that was. But he seemed pretty legit.
 
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Ogbert

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Stop posting Jason Schreier stuff.

He's an absolute weapons grade dildo.
 

ethomaz

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39
Brazil
Well at least they did something right because right now nobody had bonus if used the old rules lol

88 and 83.
 
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