Executives at Polish video game publisher CD Projekt SA took responsibility for the buggy launch of the highly anticipated Cyberpunk 2077 title this week, telling staff on Friday in an email obtained by Bloomberg that they will receive their full bonuses no matter how they are. check the game. . Previously, CD Projekt developers were told that they would receive an additional payment based on the critical performance of the game.
Cyberpunk 2077, which came out on Thursday, is one of the biggest games of the year and a monumental release for the Polish publisher, which only produces new titles every few years. The sci-fi role-playing game sold more than 8 million copies in pre-order before launch and has been hailed for its mechanics and story, but criticized for the number of glitches and bugs. As of Friday, Cyberpunk 2077 had a 90 out of 100 on review aggregation website Metacritic, a solid score that has nonetheless disappointed shareholders. If that score falls below 90, it may no longer reach the threshold that CD Projekt had originally set for bonus payouts.
“We initially had a bonus system that focused on game ratings and release date, but after considering it, we feel the move is simply not fair under the circumstances,” wrote Adam Badowski, studio head and creative director of Cyberpunk 2077, in the email to staff. “We underestimated the length and complexity involved in making this a reality, yet you still did everything you could to deliver an ambitious and special game.”
A representative for CD Projekt did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The bonus system that CD Projekt used for developers working on Cyberpunk 2077 was complicated. Every month, the company’s team leaders handed out tokens in the style of the studio’s logo, a red bird, to their team members who felt deserved honors, according to three current and former employees. Those tokens would have been rolled over to bonuses if the game met certain criteria, such as critical acclaim and a timely release. Under the new system, those payments will be guaranteed even though Cyberpunk 2077 was delayed and the review score has been mixed. This performance bonus is in addition to regular annual profit sharing payments.
Although the structure will reward some employees financially, there have been concerns that it will push them to work longer hours. In September, Bloomberg reported that CD Projekt developers had been working excessive overtime, or crises, on and off since 2018. The company asked all of its staff to work six-day workweeks in the months leading up to launch. Developers who are critical of the bonus system have said that it implicitly encourages employees to dedicate nights and weekends to show they are working harder.
© 2020 Bloomberg LP
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