Oct 17th 2017

CD Projekt Red replies to criticism

Development on Witcher 3 is finally complete, and now CD Projekt Red is focusing completely on Gwent and Cyberpunk 2077. However, along with that they have gotten a lot more quiet about what they are doing. Now some criticism about the company has surfaced from anonymous former employees, and that has gotten enough online traction that it has gotten a response from the studio.

Last month rumors spread about CD Projekt Red based around reviews on the site Glassdoor that talked about mismanagement and low morale. After these reviews blew up online, more positive reviews showed up on the site to counter them though. Still, the studio felt the need to respond directly to these accusations.

In an open letter on Twitter CD Projekt Red studio head Adam Busowski, and co-founder Marcin Iwinski explain a little as to why they felt they needed to respond. "We'd normally avoid commenting on company reviews on spaces like Glassdoor, but this around--especially in light of the fact that we haven't communicated anything about Cyberpunk 2077 for a long time and saw some gamers getting worried about the project--we'd like to elaborate on a few things."

Among the things addressed in the letter are people leaving the company and their approach to making games. They explain that people leave, and it is just the nature of the business. They have goals and standards they want to follow as a studio, and when that doesn't match what the employee wants, there's bound to be some people who leave. The same goes to their approach for making games. They are fine with constantly improving things, even if they were working before, but could be better. Again, this doesn't always go over well with people, and can cause tension.

 You can read the full text of the letter below.
"If you’re following news related to CD Projekt Red, you might have recently stumbled on information regarding morale here at the studio. We’d normally avoid commenting on company reviews on spaces like Glassdoor, but this time around - especially in light of the fact that we haven’t communicated anything about Cyberpunk 2077 for a long time and saw some gamers getting worried about the project - we’d like to elaborate on a few things.

First off, we’d like to talk about the departures. In 2015, when we released The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, we were over 200 developers strong and that was the core crew of the studio. Since then, we’ve almost doubled the headcount and we’re still hiring. Do people leave? Sure they do. We always wish them all the best and respect both their decision and the feedback they give us as the reason for their departure. We are continuously working on making Red a good workplace for everyone, but we also have a set of values that constitutes who we are now and how we do things.

So, does a departure, even a high profile one, mean that the project is in danger? One would need to be very courageous to base the future of an AAA role-playing game of such scope on one person (or a few people).

Every role-playing game ever developed seemed impossible to achieve at the moment we set out to create it. It took us five years to finish The Witcher 1, we had to make our own engine to complete The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, and we had to entirely reinvent the way we made games to deliver an open world for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. When we start down the road to creating something, we know the destination and we’re sure of one thing: even if something feels impossible, it doesn’t mean it is. And, as it turns out, most often things are perfectly possible, they just require a lot of faith, commitment and spirit.

This approach to making games is not for everyone. It often requires conscious effort to “reinvent the wheel” - even if you personally think it already works like a charm. But you know what? We believe reinventing that wheel every friggin’ time is what makes a better game. It’s what creates innovation and makes it possible for us to say we’ve worked really hard on something, and we think it’s worth your hard-earned cash. If you make games with a “close enough is good enough” attitude, you end up in a comfort zone. And you know where the magic happens.

Cyberpunk 2077 is progressing as planned, but we are taking our time - in this case, silence is the cost of making a great game.

As always, many thanks for being so engaged in what we do. It’s all worth the hours we put in."