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Julius

Cyberpunk 2077 (10th December 2020)

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Head of CDPR Adam Badowski has tweeted a response out to Schreier's article from yesterday:

It's difficult. Enforcing 6 day work weeks isn't right, but at the same time, a 10% profit split between employees and being "well compensated" for additional hours worked, especially so close to launch...it's hard to fall on either side of this one. 

They shouldn't be obligated to work 6 day work weeks (I mean, unless their contract says so) but we've yet to hear from anyone working at CDPR directly about this, which we have elsewhere (such as with Naughty Dog). Until then, I think it's difficult to say where I personally land on this. 

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The 10% bonus isn't related to the crunch, yet he chooses to mention it here to make people think that it is, and so people will use it to defend it. The "compensation" is also just Polish law.

I really hate CD Projekt's PR speech. 

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12 minutes ago, Cube said:

The 10% bonus isn't related to the crunch, yet he chooses to mention it here to make people think that it is

I think it kind of is, in that the extra work put in these last two months = better game/higher sales, and that extra revenue goes towards the staff.

24 minutes ago, Julius said:

It's difficult. Enforcing 6 day work weeks isn't right, but at the same time, a 10% profit split between employees and being "well compensated" for additional hours worked, especially so close to launch...it's hard to fall on either side of this one. 

They shouldn't be obligated to work 6 day work weeks (I mean, unless their contract says so) but we've yet to hear from anyone working at CDPR directly about this, which we have elsewhere (such as with Naughty Dog). Until then, I think it's difficult to say where I personally land on this. 

Overtime happens in all industries obviously and I've worked in plenty of places where people actually ask for overtime, especially when they get double/triple pay. I could see a similar situation here where some of the staff, so the situation becomes even more complicated.

Edited by Ronnie

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5 minutes ago, Ronnie said:

I think it kind of is, in that the extra work put in these last two months = better game/higher sales, and that extra revenue goes towards the staff.

Revenue and profit are very different things. 

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1 hour ago, Cube said:

The 10% bonus isn't related to the crunch, yet he chooses to mention it here to make people think that it is, and so people will use it to defend it. The "compensation" is also just Polish law.

I really hate CD Projekt's PR speech. 

I mean, I hate PR speech in general so I'm with you there!

I think he only mentioned it to avoid any misunderstandings that they aren't being paid fairly. I mean from what I've read elsewhere though, devs based in Poland really aren't making that much as it is? Could be wrong on that though. 

I want to hear more of what someone actually working there has to say, because all I gathered from Schreier's article was that he spoke with one of them, who yes did not want to be named, but all that's been attributed to them - and without a quote - is that they've been working paid overtime for a year.

And yes, it's required by Polish law, but at the same time, that's still not the standard everywhere else - I know they likely wouldn't otherwise, but it's still a good law to have in place (commending Poland here and not CDPR just to be clear). 

I think Schreier has generally been good about this all, but at the same time, I'm not a fan of him going "ha, gotcha!" when things don't play out how CDPR wanted them too (and yes, I do think it was a bit cocky of them to declare something like that a year out). 

And speaking of things not playing out how CDPR wanted them to, I think the lack of a mention for the pandemic delaying things and impacting work schedules is a bit of an oversight on Schreier's side. It's not an excuse, but I think it's something worth mentioning. I'm not sure off the top of my head how badly Poland have had it, but I imagine it'll have impacted their plans to some degree. 

1 hour ago, Ronnie said:

Overtime happens in all industries obviously and I've worked in plenty of places where people actually ask for overtime, especially when they get double/triple pay. I could see a similar situation here where some of the staff, so the situation becomes even more complicated.

This too, it absolutely could be the case that people are asking for it. Happens at my work place too; I work for a bank, so as soon as COVID hit, everyone was offered overtime at triple the rate. But even normally, when OT is offered, it's normally at double the rate, which is all the time right now. 

Again, I don't know. If people are being pressured into OT, being given smug looks, made to feel ostracised, and feel their job security is threatened, then absolutely drag CDPR through the coals. But until we know more and hear more I think this is a bit of an empty yell trying to back up Schreier's other stories. CDPR's intentions are certainly in the right place, as far as I can tell, and hopefully things improve in the future and this can be avoided where possible. 

Edited by Julius
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Worker productivity has increased dramatically over the past forty years or so, but in the same period that hasn't translated into higher wages (in real terms) for the average employee as the value they're producing is increasingly lining the pockets of the top few earners. It's therefore likely that people are working overtime to make up for the money they've lost out on; so on some level it's contentious as to whether you call that overtime voluntary or not. Cultural changes have an impact on people's willingness to work overtime, sure, but the underlying material explanation might be more compelling.

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11 minutes ago, dwarf said:

Worker productivity has increased dramatically over the past forty years or so

Some of the people at my workplace definitely need to be reminded of that :p

Quote

but in the same period that hasn't translated into higher wages (in real terms) for the average employee as the value they're producing is increasingly lining the pockets of the top few earners. It's therefore likely that people are working overtime to make up for the money they've lost out on; so on some level it's contentious as to whether you call that overtime voluntary or not. Cultural changes have an impact on people's willingness to work overtime, sure, but the underlying material explanation might be more compelling.

Absolutely. 

I think there are just too many factors to take into consideration here to point at one thing and go "Ha, that's it! There's the problem!" which I think Schreier is guilty of doing at times. It's human nature to be reductive and try to come to one conclusion, because that's so much easier for us to comprehend, but there's so much more under the belly of the beast that is "crunch". This is a difficult thing to find a solution for exactly because it's so easy to oversimplify the situation and chalk it up to "crunch = bad, therefore any company with crunch = bad". 

Is the typical, perhaps generalised idea of "crunch" we've come to be familiar with in the games industry - the one where people feel their livelihood is threatened, that they're burning the candle at both ends in some endless nightmare, and that their work isn't fully appreciated, and that they aren't fairly compensated - a problem? Yes, I think it's almost undeniable. But throw in, as you mentioned, work culture changes with a much different outlook on work-life balance, amongst many, many other things, and it's just such a difficult one to crack. Especially when it could potentially so much from person to person. 

It's great that we hear more, and I really want to hear what the thoughts are of those working overtime at CDPR right now. Do some feel their livelihood is threatened? Are others so proud of their work that they're happy to work these six day work weeks in order to get their work out there? Is one guy planning to propose and saving for a wedding , so he's putting in overtime? Was this all written down in their contract as a possibility? 

It's a multifaceted issue, and one especially difficult I think for Schreier to comment on. Yes it's a video game company, but, just as an example, outside of what we've even mentioned so far: just how familiar is he with the typical Polish work-life balance? Is this something that's a known quantity in Poland, and are other companies doing the same? I mean I'd have to imagine so because of the laws in place.

It's not an easy thing to talk about, and I'm glad he continues to shine a light on it when others won't or can't for one reason or another, but it feels to me like gotcha journalism at the worst of times. 

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I promise I'm not being contrarian for contrarian's sake, but I'd really stress the material conditions as the overwhelming reason for increases in overtime. If people have to work harder and longer to maintain the same standard of living, they're going to do that through lack of any other choice. 

If people are working more overtime in other industries, and in other countries, that's because rising inequality has been a global trend. Stagnating wages, the privatisation of public services, a less generous welfare state, etc, have forced workers to work longer, and historically low union power means they've been unable to mount any opposition to the economic exploitation they've faced.

The games industry shouldn't be let off the hook because people everywhere seem to want to work more these days. The question here is about the extent of exploitation, and the games industry happens to be a particularly egregious example because union density is lower than in other industries. If game designers were in a position to collectively bargain for better wages, realistic release date schedules, and reduced hours, they wouldn't have to do the overtime.

Working to hang onto your job is a material question. Saving up for a wedding is a material question. Someone might be 'happy' to work 6 days to see a game off, but again, is it really a choice if they need to work those hours to hold onto the job? If they had the option to push the release date back and work 5 days a week, I'm sure most would take that option. These people have lives to live. If the rich fucks at CD Projekt and/or the publishers have to take a slight hit to account for that, then that's the sacrifice that has to be made.

You could ask: well why is union density low? Isn't that a cultural issue? Well yes and no. Material and cultural explanations are intertwined. A market-driven ideology has ruled the world for the past few decades, which comes from the top. Leaders have introduced laws that make it harder to unionise. The greater variety of jobs, and types of work contract (zero hours, temporary, freelance etc) also make it harder for workers to unionise, as they seemingly have fewer shared interests to unite over. All of this worsens people's material conditions. This then drives changes in culture - people have less time and money to support other people, they become less used to engaging in collective efforts, they meet more of their needs in the market rather than in publicly provided services, they're fed stories in the billionaire press about poor people being scroungers, and so on, so they become more individualistic. Individualistic people are more easily exploited because they don't support each other, which leads to worsening material conditions, and the cycle continues...

It wasn't the case back in the day, but the galaxy brain take in today's world is that work is a political issue. Workers need to build collective power to oppose things like crunch, plain and simple. The idea that we have work-life balance in a five day week is a myth, let alone in a six-day week. That this is isn't obvious shows how far we've fallen.

For full disclosure, I consider myself a socialist (or at the very least a social democrat) and I'm working on a video about the idea of a four-day week (as a political policy), hence the essay! With that said, I don't think you have to be terribly left wing to agree with most of the above.

Edited by dwarf
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Great points @dwarf, that was an informative read, thanks! Definitely more informed than I am on the matter, so I appreciate your insight :smile:

When you mentioned the material explanation I think I was thinking of it more as applying only to the work productivity change you mentioned before, and that shift in the work-life struggle leaning overwhelmingly towards work taking priority, but I think that's just an example of me trying to oversimplify things, so that's my mistake! It definitely is across the board, and it's absolutely crazy how much money and work dictates so much of a person's day-to-day life, to the point where sometimes weekends just feel like a short respite from the dread of the work week rather than a time to shift focus to other things. That's the case for me at least, and some others I know. 

And yeah, honestly, the more I look into and learn about four day work weeks the better an option it seems for improving the workplace. Not even just because it sounds nicer on paper, but it's just about having that time to actually make decent progress elsewhere in life (studying part time, taking up a hobby, writing a book, etc.), rather than feeling like almost all of your energy is being sunk into someone else's gains. 

It's really difficult to find a decent work-life balance as it is, especially with how much pressure there is on doing well from a very young age especially, and I think it's a bit of an issue from the very bottom. 

It's one of those things that I absolutely want to see, but just seems too good to become a reality here in the UK (obviously I hope that I'm wrong). I honestly have no idea which side I land on politically, mainly because while I have an arm's length interest in politics and couldn't care much less for major politicians or parties, but I think that's just because since I've been born I've been around in a time where it seems to get consistently worse, where the next guy seems just as incompetent than the last, and little constructive change is made ::shrug:

But that's me totally derailing the thread and a topic for another time :p

Edited by Julius
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41 minutes ago, Julius said:

Great points @dwarf, that was an informative read, thanks! Definitely more informed than I am on the matter, so I appreciate your insight :smile:

When you mentioned the material explanation I think I was thinking of it more as applying only to the work productivity change you mentioned before, and that shift in the work-life struggle leaning overwhelmingly towards work taking priority, but I think that's just an example of me trying to oversimplify things, so that's my mistake! It definitely is across the board, and it's absolutely crazy how much money and work dictates so much of a person's day-to-day life, to the point where sometimes weekends just feel like a short respite from the dread of the work week rather than a time to shift focus to other things. That's the case for me at least, and some others I know. 

And yeah, honestly, the more I look into and learn about four day work weeks the better an option it seems for improving the workplace. Not even just because it sounds nicer on paper, but it's just about having that time to actually make decent progress elsewhere in life (studying part time, taking up a hobby, writing a book, etc.), rather than feeling like almost all of your energy is being sunk into someone else's gains. 

It's really difficult to find a decent work-life balance as it is, especially with how much pressure there is on doing well from a very young age especially, and I think it's a bit of an issue from the very bottom. 

It's one of those things that I absolutely want to see, but just seems too good to become a reality here in the UK (obviously I hope that I'm wrong). I honestly have no idea which side I land on politically, mainly because while I have an arm's length interest in politics and couldn't care much less for major politicians or parties, but I think that's just because since I've been born I've been around in a time where it seems to get consistently worse, where the next guy seems worse than the last, and no real change is ever made ::shrug:

But that's me totally derailing the thread and a topic for another time :p

Sorry I should have made it clearer: by worker productivity I mean the value workers create through their labour has shot up (because they're more skilled, the technology they use is more advanced, etc), but instead of getting paid more in recognition of that, that extra value is taken as profit by employers. Completely unjust, but this is what happens when you don't have unions.

Fab post all round though, especially the bit in bold. The phrase 'living for the weekend' also hints at a broad discontent among the public with regards to work time issues. Glad this has been fruitful though!

Without derailing the thread or trying to force more socialism down your throat, I'd argue the lack of positive change has been down to the marginalisation of the left. Labour has lost its roots in trade unions (restored somewhat under Corbyn but that ship has sailed now), and the Tories have only ever spoken in the interests of capital. Both have bought into the market fundamentalist ideology I mentioned earlier, so it's just been a relentless torrent of shit for working people. The Tories just happen to be significantly worse.

But yeah... Cyberpunk looks sick.

Edited by dwarf
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Whenever I see "gone gold" announcements, I just imagine a manager saying "OK, lets take a five minute break so we can pose for a photo with a blank CD" (of course, in this case they can't do that due to other reasons) before everyone is hastily sent back to work to carry on finishing the game for the day 1 patch. 

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Whenever I see "gone gold" announcements, I just imagine a manager saying "OK, lets take a five minute break so we can pose for a photo with a blank CD" (of course, in this case they can't do that due to other reasons) before everyone is hastily sent back to work to carry on finishing the game for the day 1 patch. 
I just start playing some Spandau Ballet in my head.

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Just watched 25 minutes of gameplay from this, and was not impressed. Not really a lot of gameplay to impressed with - lots of talking, exposition, slow following of NPCs - but very little 'game'. Is that intentional - is this supposed to be more of a 'choose your own adventure' thing?

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44 minutes ago, LazyBoy said:

Just watched 25 minutes of gameplay from this, and was not impressed. Not really a lot of gameplay to impressed with - lots of talking, exposition, slow following of NPCs - but very little 'game'. Is that intentional - is this supposed to be more of a 'choose your own adventure' thing?

It's an RPG, so yeah pretty much!

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Delayed 21 days to December 10th:

Makes PS5 launch day a bit cheaper for me at least. Guess I'll pick up Miles Morales now.

Edit: Of course this has massive ramifications for the developers on the project. Just a few weeks ago, CD Projekt Red said that staff would be mandated to do overtime to finish up work on the game (crunch) but there would be no more delays. Does this delay ease the crunch or does it prolong it? No doubt we'll hear about that soon enough, and have the usual influencers in their Cyberpunk 2077 chairs come out to defend the studio and the crunch as developers wanting to do it. Not a great look for them regardless. At this point, with optimising for so many platforms, either delay some to next year or all of them to give staff time to breathe and not crunch.

Edited by Ganepark32
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Wow, makes you wonder if this has come out of the blue again and that the devs working on the game haven't been informed of this delay much like they weren't informed that the game had gone gold, rather that they had to find out through Twitter.

CD Projekt Red really not coming out of this well. They really need to look at how the timeline their production going forward.

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38 minutes ago, Happenstance said:

 

Well, can't say that was totally unexpected, because it still feels like we've seen so little of it, but that's a real shame, for both us, as the audience, and the developers (especially so). 

Guess that means there's no question in my mind about which order to play games in on the PS5 at least! :laughing: means I can be pretty much focused on CP2077 when it releases which is nice!

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It's strange, because my first instinct is that it might be an issue getting it to perform well on the base models of current gen (PS4/XBO). 

Also worth noting that this puts it out of contention for GOTY at The Game Awards, and we've already seen how that has played out in other cases. 

Can't be a decision they've made lightly, keeping that in mind. Off the top of my head in terms of AAA releases, it pretty much guarantees that GOTY will be a PlayStation exclusive title this year (The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, or [timed] Final Fantasy VII Remake, and depending on when the cut-off is, potentially Demon's Souls too?). 

Might be that I'm forgetting something, but if not, that's pretty crazy. 

Edited by Julius

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Actually quite happy about the delay (imagine Sega are too :hehe:) as it gives Yakuza Like a Dragon some space. :) 

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30 minutes ago, RedShell said:

Actually quite happy about the delay (imagine Sega are too :hehe:) as it gives Yakuza Like a Dragon some space. :) 

I was afraid of spreading my time between Like a Dragon and Cyberpunk. Looks like I'll be playing Yakuza untill Cyberpunk comes out.

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1 hour ago, Julius said:

It's strange, because my first instinct is that it might be an issue getting it to perform well on the base models of current gen (PS4/XBO). 

Also worth noting that this puts it out of contention for GOTY at The Game Awards, and we've already seen how that has played out in other cases. 

Can't be a decision they've made lightly, keeping that in mind. Off the top of my head in terms of AAA releases, it pretty much guarantees that GOTY will be a PlayStation exclusive title this year (The Last of Us Part II, Ghost of Tsushima, or [timed] Final Fantasy VII Remake, and depending on when the cut-off is, potentially Demon's Souls too?). 

Might be that I'm forgetting something, but if not, that's pretty crazy. 

Animal Crossing will be up there too for sure.

Valhalla or Watch Dogs potentially. Maybe Hades or Origami King (ok that last one is just my vote).

Tough one cause I thought Last of Us was very divisive. 

As for Cyberpunk, let them take all the time they need imo. I’ll wait a couple months till there’s a few patches up. 

Edited by Ronnie
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