CD Projekt RED has been crunching on Cyberpunk 2077 since 2019, sources tell Bloomberg.
Cyberpunk 2077 is the biggest game CDPR has ever made. It represents tens of millions in monetary investment and countless man hours of work--not to mention the engine optimizations, tech advancements, and other behind-the-scenes tweaks to make the FPS mechanics and physics work properly. The game is almost done and nearing its November 2019 release date, but this push has required a lot of overtime from developers.
A recent post on 4Chan alleges CDPR devs have been "crunching non-stop" since May 2019, working 16 hour work weeks in a rough push colloquially known as the "death march". The reports have now been corroborated by Bloomberg's Jason Schreier, who verified the user as an ex-CDPR employee, and also says more devs are sharing similar stories.
CD Projekt RED has commented on the crunch via internal channels, but publicly the company has had a more reserved approach. Consumer-facing responses assert CDPR employees are"understanding" of the final push, and development head Adam Badowski also says employees will get a 10% bonus from all revenues made from the game--a bonus that's spread across the entire development team.
CD Projekt RED's games aren't just games; they're multi-year blockbusters designed to push game sales for 5 year+ periods while accelerating merchandise and other content. That's why the titles take so long to make. They're specifically designed to be huge open-ended experiences that can be re-sold, re-released, and played for years. That kind of structure also requires 5-7 year development cycles and lots of crunch--an unfortunate side-effect of an industry predicated on iteration, scrapping of existing content, and lots of do-overs.
Cyberpunk 2077 releases on November 19, 2020 for PS4, Xbox One, and PC. When you play it, just remember how many people stayed all those extra hours to make the project possible.