The creators of Cyberpunk 2077, one of the most anticipated video games of the last few years, are having a rough go of it in the lead-up to launch, complicated by yet another delay announced yesterday to help the CD Projekt Red developers finish polishing the game before it launches across nine platforms on December 10th. Now, senior game designer Andrzej Zawadzki has taken to Twitter in the aftermath of the delay announcement to plead with fans to exercise some basic human decency by not continuing to send the Polish studio death threats.
“I want to address one thing in regards of the @CyberpunkGame delay. 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 and just wrong. We are people, just like you,” Zawadzki wrote on Twitter Tuesday evening. And it’s surely not the first time the studio has experienced what now feels like commonplace yet still abhorrent behavior from members of the gaming community.
Cyberpunk 2077 has had a complicated, multiyear development. It started as a game for PC and existing game consoles, and it transformed into a cross-generation one that will also be made available on Google Stadia in addition to PC and the seven console platforms it will support. Those include PS4 / PS4 Pro, PS5, Xbox One / X, and Xbox Series X / S.
The game has been delayed three times from its original April 16th release date. And reports have been swirling about toxic working conditions at the studio, which went back on its word in late September when it instituted mandatory overtime, known in the industry as crunch, to get the game over the finish line.
There are also legitimate grievances around communication of the delay, with the studio as recently as yesterday telling fans on Twitter that the game would release on schedule. Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier reported yesterday that the most recent delay, which means CD Projekt Red developers will likely be working another three weeks of grueling hours to finish the game’s “day 0” launch patch, was announced to the staff at the same time as it went out on Twitter. Schreier also reports some of the studio’s employees are clocking 100-hour weeks.
But none of this excuses the kind of behavior CD Projekt Red and countless other game makers appear to face every single day just for doing their jobs. In a separate tweet, Zawadzki detailed one of the “mildest” threats members of the studio have received since announcing the delay in which someone threatened to burn them alive for not shipping the game on schedule.
“Do not treat it lightly. Do not ignore it. It is serious,” he wrote. Those are words worth heeding, now more than ever. No degree of bad news is worth treating those employees — who already struggle with long hours and a staggeringly complex release window — with online vitriol. It is also a paradoxical bit of ugliness in the game industry that seemingly the most vile and deeply immoral fans seem to care so little about the people who create the things they claim to love.