Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red’s latest game, has been in development for nearly a decade. It was first announced in May 2012, and it’s had a rocky development cycle, with numerous delays and, in the final stretch of development, a required six-day workweek. But despite the long development, the game didn’t review quite as well as CDPR wanted, meaning developers who had been toiling for years could have been on the brink of losing performance bonuses that were tied to review scores.
The studio’s developers won’t have to worry about review scores anymore, though: CDPR will now pay full performance bonuses regardless of the critical reception of the game, according to Bloomberg.
“We initially had a bonus system that was focused on the game’s ratings and the release date, but after consideration, we believe that measure is simply not fair under the circumstances,” Adam Badowski, studio head and creative director for Cyberpunk 2077, said in an email to staff obtained by Bloomberg. “We underestimated the lengths and complexity involved to make this a reality, and still you did everything you could to deliver an ambitious, special game.”
Cyberpunk 2077 received favorable reviews this week — it currently has a Metacritic score of 90 out of 100, which typically indicates that a game is very good. By contrast, some of the top games of this year edge it out with Metacritic scores in the low 90s.
But reviewers reportedly weren’t given review code for the console versions of the game, and there are now numerous reports of bugs and issues when playing Cyberpunk 2077 on older consoles. Given the current problems players are now finding, Cyberpunk 2077’s Metacritic score could easily fall below 90 as more publications post reviews. If it falls below that score, developers wouldn’t have received their bonuses under the previous system, according to Bloomberg.
NEWS: CD Projekt executives took responsibility for Cyberpunk's buggy launch in an email to staff today, saying this year's performance bonuses will no longer be tied to review scores, given the circumstances. Before, the threshold was 90+ on Metacritic https://t.co/poW86s3xaf— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) December 12, 2020
CDPR leaders would hand out tokens every month to staffers who went above and beyond, and those tokens were supposed to be transferrable into bonuses if the game met “certain criteria, like critical acclaim and a timely release,” according to the report. Now, though, it sounds as if all staffers will get their performance bonuses no matter where the review score lands.
CDPR didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.
Cyberpunk 2077 has been a big retail success, despite the reviews and buggy release. It sold more than 8 million preorders, according to CDPR, completely making back its development and marketing budget on day one. It also broke Steam’s concurrent player record for a single-player PC game, with more than one million concurrent players on Thursday.