CD Projekt's Upcoming Title: Cyberpunk

I could've sworn they said back in March when it was first delayed that the game was already totally complete, and they were delaying only for QA and polishing. This doesn't sound like only QA and polishing...

“I take it upon myself to receive the full backlash for the decision,” he wrote. “I know this is in direct opposition to what we’ve said about crunch. It’s also in direct opposition to what I personally grew to believe a while back -- that crunch should never be the answer. But we’ve extended all other possible means of navigating the situation. We considered pushing the launch date out by a month but the amount of fanboi hatred would have exceeded the total mass of the universe thereby creating a spacetime paradox, which, ironically, would have enabled us to release the game five years ago, but also caused instant heat death of the universe.”

So the 'treat developers well' only matters when there's not a deadline, I guess. Corporate goals are more important.

Folks, if you had to delay it again, then so be it. That wouldn't have been a problem. What would be the problem is the discovery that when you said it was ready but just needed tuning, six months ago, you were lying.

So you'd rather break the health and well-being of your entire staff than admit that you lied six months ago.

That sounds very corporate.

I would rather the game be delayed, personally. That said, maybe the devs ok with the crunch? If it were me I would rather a few weeks of OT and a nice fat bonus.

Who are these project managers and how did they get their jobs?

Top_Shelf wrote:

Who are these project managers and how did they get their jobs?

Respectively, folk with extensive experience managing horrifically complicated software projects, and by managing those horrifically complicated software projects as best they could.

The bottom line is that producing a project that complicated to meet a specific date in the future is set up to fail from the get-go. It's a "how long is a piece of string" question, only the string doesn't exist yet, and no-one's quite sure what the string is going to look like or how to make it.

Jonman wrote:
Top_Shelf wrote:

Who are these project managers and how did they get their jobs?

Respectively, folk with extensive experience managing horrifically complicated software projects, and by managing those horrifically complicated software projects as best they could.

The bottom line is that producing a project that complicated to meet a specific date in the future is set up to fail from the get-go. It's a "how long is a piece of string" question, only the string doesn't exist yet, and no-one's quite sure what the string is going to look like or how to make it.

To add to the analogy, trying to push the string around, just makes a mess and distorts how long it is at the moment.

Malor wrote:

What would be the problem is the discovery that when you said it was ready but just needed tuning, six months ago, you were lying.

So you'd rather break the health and well-being of your entire staff than admit that you lied six months ago.

That sounds very corporate.

I am trying really hard not to be snarky and sarcastic here. But...

Come on. A lot could have changed since six months ago that was unknown back then. Look around - COVID and its impact on their team as well as their vendors/contractors; working from home and all the networking/communication/security implications; new consoles, new Nvidia cards, etc. Polishing and QA by themselves have a potential to uncover lots of unknown issues that need to be fixed.

Everyone who works in software development knows that sometimes crunch times are unavoidable, the goal is to make sure it doesn't become a long term rule and to make sure people are properly compensated for it.

[edit] My point is that this article doesn't necessarily mean they've been lying six months ago. Whatever they said back then was based on what they knew, predicted and hoped for in February/March. I know all my plans changed drastically multiple times since February, it doesn't mean I was lying when I told my mom I was going to visit her this summer (she lives in a different country).

merphle wrote:

I could've sworn they said back in March when it was first delayed that the game was already totally complete, and they were delaying only for QA and polishing. This doesn't sound like only QA and polishing...

I am very curious about this point. They've been saying it was story complete and pretty much content complete for a while. What's been going on, such that they have to do this now?

Pure speculation: as with the press, they just got a whole bunch of Series Xs - enough to broadly distribute them among their secondary developers, playtesters and designers. They need all hands on deck for the next six weeks to make sure everything is tuned and working properly on final hardware.

I would really like to know who has been working on what level of development hardware for how long.

So torn about this. I think most of us have faced crunch time when there is a deadline. It seems like pretty normal stuff in all honesty. I don't even know that I think it is bad management. I think it i just how large projects work.

However I also want employees to be treated fairly. If they are treated fairly but there is a tone of work to do then I am not sure I need to be angry about this.

I just don't know enough. (boy that could be said about a lot of stuff!)

farley3k wrote:

So torn about this. I think most of us have faced crunch time when there is a deadline. It seems like pretty normal stuff in all honesty. I don't even know that I think it is bad management. I think it i just how large projects work.

Maybe f normal. Those people should work on my video game forty hours a week. That big projects make deadlines impossible to predict means that big projects should be expected to break deadlines. That should be the normal consequence.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:

Maybe f normal. Those people should work on my video game forty hours a week. That big projects make deadlines impossible to predict means that big projects should be expected to break deadlines. That should be the normal consequence.

If that's your approach, you won't have any big games to play.

They NEED to be releasing in the holiday season, that's where the money is. You release that game in February, that game is no longer profitable, and the studio goes out of business.

That's the nature of the market being served.

"X job wouldn't be profitable unless Y horrific unethical thing occurs" means that X should stop, not that Y should continue.

Insert whatever Y you'd like, crunch time, below living wage pay, mandatory overtime, compulsory unpaid labor, etc.

thrawn82 wrote:

"X job wouldn't be profitable unless Y horrific unethical thing occurs" means that X should stop, not that Y should continue.

Insert whatever Y you'd like, crunch time, below living wage pay, mandatory overtime, compulsory unpaid labor, etc.

farley3k wrote:

So torn about this. I think most of us have faced crunch time when there is a deadline. It seems like pretty normal stuff in all honesty. I don't even know that I think it is bad management. I think it i just how large projects work.

One man's horrific unethical thing is another man's pretty normal stuff.

And therein is the problem - from where we're sitting, we have no idea of what this really looks like. Is 6 weeks of crunch unethical if the employment contract that employees signed included specific provisions agreeing to it? What if it involves being paid triple-time and there's a 20-grand bonus and a month's paid vacation at the end of it for everyone?

It's possible many employees might want to work rather than sitting around being anxious about COVID-19, especially if they are contract employees who may not even have a job after the game is released. That possible triple time and 20-grand bonus could go a long way in preventing unemployment stress.

We don't know for certain that "crunch" automatically means employee abuse, though of course it might be the case. Just not something we can assume without any information.

Jonman wrote:
thrawn82 wrote:

"X job wouldn't be profitable unless Y horrific unethical thing occurs" means that X should stop, not that Y should continue.

Insert whatever Y you'd like, crunch time, below living wage pay, mandatory overtime, compulsory unpaid labor, etc.

farley3k wrote:

So torn about this. I think most of us have faced crunch time when there is a deadline. It seems like pretty normal stuff in all honesty. I don't even know that I think it is bad management. I think it i just how large projects work.

One man's horrific unethical thing is another man's pretty normal stuff.

And therein is the problem - from where we're sitting, we have no idea of what this really looks like. Is 6 weeks of crunch unethical if the employment contract that employees signed included specific provisions agreeing to it? What if it involves being paid triple-time and there's a 20-grand bonus and a month's paid vacation at the end of it for everyone?

The game design industry isn't the only one working deadlines. See what happens in the construction field when you have performance contracts assigned to the build. I think it is important to strive for fair working conditions and fair compensation. Any type of project work is going to come with a deadline... if it doesn't it won't be profitable. If it isn't profitable, it isn't going to get built. Most workers are going to weigh the rewards vs. the tolerance for doing crappy work hours. As long as it is known up front, it is the employee's or contractor's choice to decide if they want to put up with it or not. Don't want a deadline... don't take the job and do something else.

Danjo Olivaw wrote:

Maybe f normal. Those people should work on my video game forty hours a week. That big projects make deadlines impossible to predict means that big projects should be expected to break deadlines. That should be the normal consequence.

Maybe, but as someone who has been an independent contractor I know projects often (always for me) have a crunch time where I am scrabbling to get stuff finished.

Heck as a former college student I know I often was up at 2 am working to get a paper finished. I remember the computer labs extending their hours so students could finish up their projects etc.

I feel like that isn't that ordinary for most of life. I think human nature has this kind of rushing was a deadline approaches.

I remember being up way late packing everything for a vacation! Something not at all like work that one would think I would have been happy to prep for.

tundra wrote:
Jonman wrote:
thrawn82 wrote:

"X job wouldn't be profitable unless Y horrific unethical thing occurs" means that X should stop, not that Y should continue.

Insert whatever Y you'd like, crunch time, below living wage pay, mandatory overtime, compulsory unpaid labor, etc.

farley3k wrote:

So torn about this. I think most of us have faced crunch time when there is a deadline. It seems like pretty normal stuff in all honesty. I don't even know that I think it is bad management. I think it i just how large projects work.

One man's horrific unethical thing is another man's pretty normal stuff.

And therein is the problem - from where we're sitting, we have no idea of what this really looks like. Is 6 weeks of crunch unethical if the employment contract that employees signed included specific provisions agreeing to it? What if it involves being paid triple-time and there's a 20-grand bonus and a month's paid vacation at the end of it for everyone?

The game design industry isn't the only one working deadlines. See what happens in the construction field when you have performance contracts assigned to the build. I think it is important to strive for fair working conditions and fair compensation. Any type of project work is going to come with a deadline... if it doesn't it won't be profitable. If it isn't profitable, it isn't going to get built. Most workers are going to weigh the rewards vs. the tolerance for doing crappy work hours. As long as it is known up front, it is the employee's or contractor's choice to decide if they want to put up with it or not. Don't want a deadline... don't take the job and do something else.

That's really only an ethical stance to take in a situation where basic requirements like healthcare aren't tied directly to employment. That makes the situation radically more coercive than "you are free to find another job" makes it sound (and really, almost everyone who uses that phrase understands the sinister undertone it is in this country anyway)

buuuut i'll leave off, this isn;t really the thread for this type of talk.

I don't think 6 weeks of crunch is necessarily a major problem, especially as it's paid. Sometimes it's necessary to buckle down to hit a target.

I'm far more concerned about the part of the story where it talks about some people who have been on nights and weekends for over a year.

MrDeVil909 wrote:

I don't think 6 weeks of crunch is necessarily a major problem, especially as it's paid. Sometimes it's necessary to buckle down to hit a target.

I'm far more concerned about the part of the story where it talks about some people who have been on nights and weekends for over a year.

Exactly. I am all for helping my fellow working people in their fight for acceptable working conditions but they need to step up first and make their case public. So far it's too vague and uncertain.

thrawn82 wrote:
tundra wrote:
Jonman wrote:
thrawn82 wrote:

"X job wouldn't be profitable unless Y horrific unethical thing occurs" means that X should stop, not that Y should continue.

Insert whatever Y you'd like, crunch time, below living wage pay, mandatory overtime, compulsory unpaid labor, etc.

farley3k wrote:

So torn about this. I think most of us have faced crunch time when there is a deadline. It seems like pretty normal stuff in all honesty. I don't even know that I think it is bad management. I think it i just how large projects work.

One man's horrific unethical thing is another man's pretty normal stuff.

And therein is the problem - from where we're sitting, we have no idea of what this really looks like. Is 6 weeks of crunch unethical if the employment contract that employees signed included specific provisions agreeing to it? What if it involves being paid triple-time and there's a 20-grand bonus and a month's paid vacation at the end of it for everyone?

The game design industry isn't the only one working deadlines. See what happens in the construction field when you have performance contracts assigned to the build. I think it is important to strive for fair working conditions and fair compensation. Any type of project work is going to come with a deadline... if it doesn't it won't be profitable. If it isn't profitable, it isn't going to get built. Most workers are going to weigh the rewards vs. the tolerance for doing crappy work hours. As long as it is known up front, it is the employee's or contractor's choice to decide if they want to put up with it or not. Don't want a deadline... don't take the job and do something else.

That's really only an ethical stance to take in a situation where basic requirements like healthcare aren't tied directly to employment. That makes the situation radically more coercive than "you are free to find another job" makes it sound (and really, almost everyone who uses that phrase understands the sinister undertone it is in this country anyway)

buuuut i'll leave off, this isn;t really the thread for this type of talk.

Are independent contractors covered under the healthcare option of a developer? Doubt it. I believe that healthcare is probably covered by the independent contractor themselves. I'm not saying I agree with having to work sh*tty work schedules, but that is ultimately in the independent contractors realm of control. Is 6 weeks of increased work pressure something that is extraordinary? It certainly isn't, especially in a field where deadline crunches are a norm. The comment about choosing another work option isn't meant to be sinister either... it is more about owning your power to decide your work environment. If people didn't work for tyrants, the work environment would be far more fair. It comes down to how much bs are you going to put up with before you decide it is too much and do something else. Sorry for the off topic nature of this response.

tundra wrote:
thrawn82 wrote:
tundra wrote:
Jonman wrote:
thrawn82 wrote:

"X job wouldn't be profitable unless Y horrific unethical thing occurs" means that X should stop, not that Y should continue.

Insert whatever Y you'd like, crunch time, below living wage pay, mandatory overtime, compulsory unpaid labor, etc.

farley3k wrote:

So torn about this. I think most of us have faced crunch time when there is a deadline. It seems like pretty normal stuff in all honesty. I don't even know that I think it is bad management. I think it i just how large projects work.

One man's horrific unethical thing is another man's pretty normal stuff.

And therein is the problem - from where we're sitting, we have no idea of what this really looks like. Is 6 weeks of crunch unethical if the employment contract that employees signed included specific provisions agreeing to it? What if it involves being paid triple-time and there's a 20-grand bonus and a month's paid vacation at the end of it for everyone?

The game design industry isn't the only one working deadlines. See what happens in the construction field when you have performance contracts assigned to the build. I think it is important to strive for fair working conditions and fair compensation. Any type of project work is going to come with a deadline... if it doesn't it won't be profitable. If it isn't profitable, it isn't going to get built. Most workers are going to weigh the rewards vs. the tolerance for doing crappy work hours. As long as it is known up front, it is the employee's or contractor's choice to decide if they want to put up with it or not. Don't want a deadline... don't take the job and do something else.

That's really only an ethical stance to take in a situation where basic requirements like healthcare aren't tied directly to employment. That makes the situation radically more coercive than "you are free to find another job" makes it sound (and really, almost everyone who uses that phrase understands the sinister undertone it is in this country anyway)

buuuut i'll leave off, this isn;t really the thread for this type of talk.

Are independent contractors covered under the healthcare option of a developer? Doubt it. I believe that healthcare is probably covered by the independent contractor themselves. I'm not saying I agree with having to work sh*tty work schedules, but that is ultimately in the independent contractors realm of control. Is 6 weeks of increased work pressure something that is extraordinary? It certainly isn't, especially in a field where deadline crunches are a norm. The comment about choosing another work option isn't meant to be sinister either... it is more about owning your power to decide your work environment. If people didn't work for tyrants, the work environment would be far more fair. It comes down to how much bs are you going to put up with before you decide it is too much and do something else. Sorry for the off topic nature of this response.

I grant you didn't mean it this way, but the most frequent use of "you can just get another job" is as a threat levied by bad employers and the people who support them at people they know are in no position to do so as a rationalization for continued abuse. as a phrase it has a same character as "this is a nice shop, it would be a shame if something happened to it"

on the lighter side

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/0rZGzyd.png)

"SEIZE THE 6-DAY WEEKS"

I've worked in software for a long time. Whenever's there's a deadline that someone in product/marketing/sales has promised, there's usually some sort of crunch. 6 weeks sucks but it's not that horrible compared to other places I've seen. The games industry is notoriously bad for crunches (and poor book keeping/accounting).

But software development in particular is hard to estimate because most of the code and optimizations come together near the end of development. That's when you start having your "oh sh*t, this is way harder than I thought" realizations. That and you tend to estimate for stuff you know you have to do, not for stuff you don't know will go wrong. If CD Project were able to pull off a crunch-less release on one of the most ambitious games out there in time for holiday release, I'd theorize it's because they've discovered time travel.

Dakhath wrote:

I've worked in software for a long time. Whenever's there's a deadline that someone in product/marketing/sales has promised, there's usually some sort of crunch. 6 weeks sucks but it's not that horrible compared to other places I've seen. The games industry is notoriously bad for crunches (and poor book keeping/accounting).

But software development in particular is hard to estimate because most of the code and optimizations come together near the end of development. That's when you start having your "oh sh*t, this is way harder than I thought" realizations. That and you tend to estimate for stuff you know you have to do, not for stuff you don't know will go wrong. If CD Project were able to pull off a crunch-less release on one of the most ambitious games out there in time for holiday release, I'd theorize it's because they've discovered time travel.

I give huge LoE's. Powers of two only.

For my peers that don't give huge LoE's on nontrivial tasks, our superior multiplies their LoE's by 2-4 before passing up the ladder, but then doesn't share that info with the developer.

Because a lot of what is said above to defend terrible work practices is very true. Like super consistently true. As if unpredictability were PREDICTABLE in this context, and should be accounted for. By the people whose entire job description is that.

The only argument here that has any traction, for me personally, is the desirability of the holiday season with regards to a hard deadline. So Cancel Christmas. The music 100% sucked anyhow.

I’ve worked IT projects for a long time too, and the most successful projects I’ve been on have involved senior devs providing pessimistic estimates and PMs standing firm on them. Execs need to learn at some point that software is exactly what Jonman said it is and understand that pushing too hard against experience just leads to disappointment and a bitter, burned-out workforce.

Crunch can get f*cked and just should not be an accepted part of software dev unless the team themselves have woefully underscoped - then those responsible for solution design should be held accountable and responsible for meeting the shortfall.

Edit - pretty much what Danjo says on re-reading

This nirvana that people speak of where there's no crunch (especially on client facing projects) happens like 1 in 5 projects. Yes Crunch can get f*cked and those that slacked or got things wrong are held accountable. It still doesn't change that sh*t happens. When it does it requires time to implement and test fixes which pushes everything else out then you have Crunch because that release date more often than not isn't changing.