The Witcher 3 developer CD Projekt Red wants you to know that it’s all good. In this case, “it” refers to both its Cyberpunk 2077 role-playing game and the morale of its development team. The company said it felt compelled to make this comment after news got out about a series of negative reviews on the website Glassdoor where current and former staff members can post reviews of their employers.
“You might have recently stumbled on information regarding morale here at the studio,” reads a joint statement from CD Projekt Red cofounder Marcin Iwinski and studio head Adam Badowski. “We’d normally avoid commenting on company reviews on spaces like Glassdoor, but this time around — 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 — we’d like to elaborate on a few things.”
The Glassdoor reviews in question are from earlier this year, and all of them touch on similar themes. They claim the company’s management is aimless and even “hates games.” The reviews also say that unnecessary crunch time, where staff works long hours to complete projects, is common, and salaries are relatively low for Poland. All feedback on Glassdoor is anonymous, and that makes it difficult to verify — but CD Projekt Red and even some more recent reviews are trying to dismiss the negative claims.
“This website is a con,” reads a Glassdoor review from someone who claims they were a director at CD Projekt Red. “All I have to say here is that a lot — if not all — of these reviews below are fake.”
But the elaborations from Iwinski and Badowski’s statement don’t really call out the reviews. Instead, the comment, which you can read in full below, touches only on vague defenses of CD Projekt Red.
— CD PROJEKT RED (@CDPROJEKTRED) October 16, 2017
Iwinski and Badowski point out that the studio has grown, that people shouldn’t assume a few key departures will doom Cyberpunk 2077, and that the way it makes games is difficult but ultimately worth the effort.
“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,” reads the statement. “Since then, we’ve almost doubled the headcount, and we’re still hiring. ”
The developer admits that, of course, people leave. But it says that it tries to listen to those people to incorporate their feedback to improve for future employees.
“We are continuously working on making Red a good workplace for everyone,” reads the statement. “But we also have a set of values that constitutes who we are and how we do things.”
Those values include taking on ideas that seem “impossible to achieve,” which it says is how it approached The Witcher and all of its sequels.
“This approach to making games is not for everyone,” Iwinski and Badowski wrote. “It often requires a conscious effort to ‘reinvent the wheel’ — even if you personally think it already works like a charm. 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.”
Finally, the developer claims that Cyberpunk 2077 is still on schedule. CD Projekt Red revealed Cyberpunk 2077 way back in 2013, and it hasn’t said much about it since.
“Cyberpunk 2077 is progressing as planned,” reads the statement. “But we are taking our time — in this case, silence is the cost of making a great game.”
And that silence is worth it if the game does turn out truly great, but managing the morale of the dev team is likely an important step in ensuring that the final product is as good as it can be.