In many ways, CD Projekt Red, the development branch of Polish game company CD Projekt, sounds like a fantastic place to work: Successful and financially stable, but still very “indie” and pleasingly renegade. Not everyone thinks so, though. Head over to Glassdoor.co.uk, a website where people rate and review the companies they work for, and you’ll see some rather harsh comments about the state of the place, including accusations that it’s directionless, chaotic, and in one blunt summation, “bad.”
Not everyone who leaves a company is going to do so under happy circumstances, and disgruntled former employees are far more inclined to make noise about things than those who depart happy. Negative feedback is natural and inevitable, in other words, and generally passes without comment from the company in question. But this time, and “especially in light of the fact that we haven’t communicated anything about Cyberpunk 2077 for a long time and saw some gamers getting worried about the project,” CD Projekt elected to respond publicly.
“In 2015, when we released The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, we were over 200 developers strong and that was the core crew of the studio. Since then, we’ve almost doubled the headcount and we’re still hiring,” co-founder Marcin Iwinski and studio head Adam Badowski wrote in a statement shared on Twitter. “Do people leave? Sure they do. We always wish them all the best and respect both their decision and the feedback they give us as the reason for their departure.”
Iwinski and Badowski acknowledged that the studio had bitten off more than it rightly should have been able to chew throughout the making of The Witcher series. “When we start down the road to creating something, we know the destination and we’re sure of one thing: Even if something feels impossible, it doesn’t mean it is,” they wrote. “And, as it turns out, most often things are perfectly possible, they just require a lot of faith, commitment, and spirit.”
And also, you can reasonably infer from the statement, a lot of long hours and hard work. “This approach to making games is not for everyone. It often requires a conscious effort to ‘reinvent the wheel’—even if you personally think it already works like a charm,” they continued. “But you know what? We believe reinventing the wheel every friggin’ time is what makes a better game. It’s what creates innovation and makes it possible for us to say we’ve worked really hard on something, and we think it’s worth your hard-earned cash.”
And also this:
As true as it is that unhappy employees are inevitable, it’s also true that this can easily be seen in the same light as Alex St. John’s crunch apologia from 2016: Simplistically, that if you really love games then you’ll happily bleed to make them. Ultimately, I suspect that the reality of the situation lies somewhere between anonymous Glassdoor venting and the studio’s “all is well” missive, and that despite its wild rebel trappings, CD Projekt Red is a lot like most other big studios out there.
As for Cyberpunk 2077—the thing we really want to know about—it’s “progressing as planned, but we are taking our time,” Iwinski and Badowski wrote. “In this case, silence is the cost of making a great game.” I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean.
CD Projekt Red’s full statement is below.