Polish games firm CD Projekt was reportedly more worried about marketing its sci-fi RPG than the realities of making the ambitious game a reality.
That's according to Bloomberg, which has spoken to a number of former and current staff at the developer, and says that employees were pressured to work long hours to realise a vision that just was not possible with the timeline or resources available.
Developers say that CD Projekt was aiming to emulate games like Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V in terms of scope, not noticing that that game was made by a much larger team than the 500 members of internal staff that the Polish firm boasted. Months of development went into producing the demos shown off at trade shows like E3, something that staff felt was a waste of time. That being said, these showcases will have helped the game be pre-ordered eight million times.
Furthermore, the studio was keen to release Cyberpunk 2077 across multiple platforms, with the hope that consumers would buy the title across multiple different console generations. Staff were also fast realising that the game simply would not run on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One hardware, technology that was seven years old when Cyberpunk 2077 was rolled out.
In 2019, CD Project also said that it was going to make Cyberpunk 2077 without "mandatory" crunch, but staff were still working long hours, sometimes impacting their personal lives.
“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,” former audio programmer Adrian Jakubiak said.
“I have some friends who lost their families because of these sort of shenanigans.”
Cyberpunk 2077 was released on December 10th after a number of delays. Since launch, CD Projekt has come under fire for the quality of the game on all platforms, while Sony has pulled the game from the PlayStation Store and is refunding the game owing to the fact that it doesn't run well at all on PS4. Microsoft is also giving consumers their money back.
Co-founder Marcin Iwinski has admitted that the game's car crash launch was management's fault, not developers. CD Projekt is facing lawsuits from investors who feel they were misled about Cyberpunk 2077's quality, with the studio vowing "vigorous action" to fight these.
The game hit one million concurrent users on Steam within hours of launch, but this playerbase has dropped massively since.