CD Projekt RED recently announced Cyberpunk 2077’s delay, to September 17 from an earlier release date of April 14.
Fans who have been highly anticipating the release of this action RPG for a very long time were not expecting the same. To clarify all the details regarding this inevitable delay, CD Projekt RED held a Q/A session with the investors last night in Poland.
Interestingly, one of the participants asked whether the company was going to rely on crunch hours to finish the development of the game. To that question, Co-CEO Adam Kiciński answered that unfortunately, they will have to put in crunch hours to make Cyberpunk 2077 the most polished experience.
If you didn’t know, crunch hours in the video game industry means putting in extra hours of work by the game developers. Where CD Projekt RED employees are fortunate enough to get paid for their extra efforts, thanks to the Polish Labor laws, many employees of companies in other parts of the world aren’t.
Kotaku’s Jason Schreier stated that video game delays cause more crunch hours than one would initially believe.
Imagine, then, having a single release date in mind—knowing that you’ll just have to work nights and weekends until then—only for that date to slip back five more months. Maybe at that point, the emails will start getting even more contrite. “Hey everyone, thanks so much for all of your hard work. The good news is that we just got some more time, which means we’ll be able to get in all those kick-ass features we wanted. The bad news is that we’re just going to have to keep pushing a little bit harder.”
This raises a question: Should we really blame the developers when a video game ships in a non-perfect condition?
From a consumer perspective, we should. We paid for a product and in return expect it to be fully furnished, howsoever complex the development of the product may seem.
But we also need to realize that video games are much different than the usual products we buy. It’s a portal to a different world and the harsh reality of their creators is that they are humans, just like us.
So yes, putting in crunch hours is bad. It’s an unhealthy environment for people who otherwise are passionate about their work. Where studios like Rockstar Games and Naughty Dog strive for perfection, they also indulge in crunch hours which are horrifying, considering how deeply loved and admired both these studios are. Sadly, CD Projekt Red is also one of these studios now.
This never-ending debate regarding the crunch hours is not the only thing that has stirred the gaming industry since Cyberpunk 2077 got delayed. In fact, this sudden shift in the release window of undoubtedly the biggest release of this year is a matter of concern for other third-party publishers.
Where games like Resident Evil 3 Remake, Final Fantasy 7 Remake and The Last of Us Part 2 will hugely benefit from this delay, titles like Ghost of Tsushima, Watch Dogs Legion, Gods & Monsters, and many others will have a huge impact on their sales, courtesy of this dark shadow lurking around them in the form of Cyberpunk 2077.
This is not the first time a major title will be impacting other AAA titles. In 2018, the release of Red Dead Redemption 2 severely impacted the sales of titles such as Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.
With the Cyberpunk 2077 delay, the overall release window of the games also seems very non-uniform. Sure The Last of Us Part 2 and Final Fantasy 7 Remake will keep players busy for a few days but they are nowhere as big as open-world games like Cyberpunk 2077 which promises to keep players engaged for 100+ hours. Games as huge as Cyberpunk 2077 are much appreciated when they release in the summer window and the players get enough time and space to experience these huge titles to its full potential.
Moreover, titles that release in Fall seem to garnish more attention from the gamers and critics alike as it’s the holiday season, which once again takes away the priority from the other big releases early in the year.
With the release of the next generation of consoles in the Fall of 2020, it seems as though the third and fourth quarter of this year suddenly seems a bit more crowded than it should be when compared to the Summer window, and it may very well be because of a single game.