Executives at Polish video game publisher CD Projekt SA took responsibility for the buggy release of the highly-anticipated title Cyberpunk 2077 this week, telling staff on Friday in an email obtained by Bloomberg that they’re going to receive their full bonuses no matter how the game is reviewed. Up to now, CD Projekt developers were told they would receive additional pay based on the game’s critical performance.
Cyberpunk 2077, which came out Thursday, is without doubt one of the year’s biggest games and a monumental release for the Polish publisher, which only makes new titles each and every few years. The sci-fi role-playing game sold more than 8 million copies in pre-orders before launch and has been acclaimed for its mechanics and story, but slammed for the number of glitches and bugs. As of Friday, Cyberpunk 2077 had a 90 out of 100 on the review aggregation website Metacritic — a strong score that has nonetheless disappointed shareholders. Whether that score dips below 90, it’ll no longer meet the threshold that CD Projekt had originally set for bonus payouts.
“We first of all had a bonus system that was once focused on the game’s ratings and the release date, but after consideration, we consider that measure is simply not reasonable under the circumstances,” wrote Adam Badowski, studio head and creative director for Cyberpunk 2077, in the email to staff. “We underestimated the lengths and complexity involved to make this a reality, and still you did everything it is advisable to deliver an ambitious, special game.”
A representative for CD Projekt did not immediately respond to a request for remark.
The bonus system CD Projekt used for developers working on Cyberpunk 2077 was once complicated. Each and every month, team leaders at the company gave out tokens styled after the studio’s logo, a red bird, to members of their team they felt deserved honors, according to three current and former employees. Those tokens would have then been transferred into bonuses whether the game met sure criteria, like critical acclaim and a timed release. Under the new system, those payouts will be guaranteed despite the fact that Cyberpunk 2077 was once delayed and the review score has been mixed. This performance bonus comes on top of steady annual profit-sharing payouts.
Despite the fact that the constitution will reward some employees financially, there was concern that it pushed them to work longer hours. In September, Bloomberg reported that developers at CD Projekt had been working over the top overtime, or crunch, off and on since 2018. The company asked all of its staff to work six-day workweeks in the months leading up to release. Developers who are critical of the bonus system have said that it implicitly encourages employees to put in nights and weekends to show that they are working the hardest.
© 2020 Bloomberg LP
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