It’s been a rough week for Cyberpunk 2077, as Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier reported, and CDPR leadership confirmed, that they were explicitly going back on their previous statements about crunch and mandating that the team work an extra day a week until launch to get the game out on time for its November 19 release.
Schreier reports that really, crunch has been going on for a long time for many members of the CDPR Cyberpunk team, but this was a decree that stated it outright. And CDPR’s Adam Badowski wrote a public statement expressing how hard it was to make the decision and that the “majority” of the team understood:
Now, in an effort to change the topic of conversation, CDPR has debuted a new Cyberpunk trailer starring Keanu Reeves which aired during the NBA game yesterday:
If you didn’t understand Keanu is literally a character in the game this might be a bit confusing, but it reinforces that no, despite pushback from industry folks and fans alike, Cyberpunk is not getting delayed, it is hitting that date no matter what hence…more crunch.
This ad actually kind of sums up a key part of the issue.
I would say a vast, vast majority of fans would accept another Cyberpunk delay at this point, especially knowing that workers are actively suffering to get it out at a specific date, which also happens to come at the tail end of a week where there are a half dozen other huge games releasing for next-gen consoles. As much as people want to play Cyberpunk, most fans seem okay with the idea that it could be pushed to spring.
But it isn’t really about fans will or won’t accept. There are two main factors here: investors and launch plans. Investors will not be amused if after many delays already, CDPR misses a key holiday release window which will obviously be a huge burst of sales. And when companies are fretting about delays, it’s usually investors, not fans, they’re concerned about.
The other issue is just how far down the road we are for the game already, with it just a month and a half away. The marketing campaign for the game is out in full force, and you don’t want to be spending millions on a Keanu Reeves NBA airtime ad for a game that does not, in fact, come out in just over a month, but has now been pushed to April or something. They feel locked into November 19 this late in the game due to the flurry of active marketing deals they have going on.
None of this is justification for crunch, just an explanation about what’s going on here, and how it’s not really about “fans” at all, but rather various pressures facing the studio. I still fundamentally believe the fair and correct thing to do is to delay the game, again, and not impose mandatory crunch even if a “majority” of the studio supports it (and uh, the minority?).
Cyberpunk has been in a weird situation for a while. It delayed itself into the next-gen launch window and yet the version that is launching is not even an “enhanced for next-gen” version, even if it will work on those consoles, as that version will come later. I think the best thing for the game and the team would be to delay the initial release and launch those versions together next year. Investors should not be worried because this game is going to sell a metric ton of units no matter when it arrives, Christmas or otherwise, and they can kill the ad campaigns for now.
But that doesn’t seem like it’s happening, and November 19 it is, barring yet another instance of CDPR going back on what they said a few weeks ago, that there would be no further Cyberpunk delays.
Follow me on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. Pick up my sci-fi novels Herokiller and Herokiller 2, and read my first series, The Earthborn Trilogy, which is also on audiobook.