Developers at CD Projekt Red, the studio behind the Witcher series and the upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, are receiving death threats and other online abuse in the wake of their next game’s recent delay.
On Wednesday, the developer announced that Cyberpunk would be pushed back by 21 days, targeting a December 10 release date.
Between the nine different platforms the game has to be optimized for, CD Projekt Red said in its statement, the final stretch of development needed to be just a little longer in order to make sure “every version runs smoothly.”
According to Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, at least one Cyberpunk dev has recently mentioned working a 100-hour week, while others at CD Projekt Red have been described as looking “physically ill” from the mandatory overtime caused by the game’s multiple delays.
Those developers, Schreier says, learned of Wednesday’s three-week delay in an email that went out simultaneously with the company’s public statement on Twitter.
CD Projekt Red’s employees must be desperate for a vacation, and in the wake of the game’s latest delay — a decision made by company execs, not the people laboring over the day-to-day nitty-gritty of making the game — they’re now facing threats of violence.
“I want to address one thing,” senior designer Andrzej Zawadzki said in a tweet.
“I understand you’re feeling angry, disappointed, and want to voice your opinion about it. However, sending death threats to the developers is absolutely unacceptable… We are people, just like you.”
In a follow-up post, Zawadzki shared a screenshot described as “one of the mildest messages some of us got.” He added, “There were far, far worse. Every single one is being reported.”
The individual in the screenshot, not identified in any way, told Zawadzki: “I know where you live, bro. Release the game, or you’re finished. Release Cyberpunk, or you and your family will be persecuted.”
They said, “I will burn you alive if you don’t release the game.”
There’s no place for “100-hour” work weeks in the video-game industry. That kind of corporate culture can’t possibly make for a better game, and whether or not it produces a shippable product faster is beside the point. It’s obscene.
And the people working those hours — the folks making the games we love — are not the ones making decisions about when a game comes out. They certainly don’t deserve abuse for decisions made by their superiors.
Death threats have no place in this or any industry.