CD Projekt implements mandatory crunch, Discord growth, more

OCTOBER 1, 2020

Daily Gaming Update


Before we get to the stories — an addendum to yesterday: Epic Games and Apple have jointly requested that their litigation does not proceed to a jury. I’m not educated enough to know what the complexities are past that, but it’s now possible that this issue will stay as a bench trial.

CD Projekt Red enforces mandatory crunch

I tried to avoid this story yesterday, but it’s impossible to ignore at this point. According to Bloomberg, CD Projekt Red told employees on Monday that mandatory six-day work weeks were going to be implemented in order to finish Cyberpunk 2077. The decision is particularly notable, as the company had previously (and publicly) promised not to force overtime to complete the game. Sources within the company say that some people have been working extra nights and weekends for more than a year.

“I take it upon myself to receive the full backlash for the decision…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.”

— Studio head, Adam Badowski

As always with these stories, it’s important to note that this is not an isolated incident at any scale. Regardless of how nicely management tries to phrase it, crunch culture is still a massive issue within the gaming industry. Even in “voluntary overtime” situations, an expectation is set by management (and by fellow employees) that everyone is responsible to work more than usual.

At the very least, CD Projekt will be paying for all overtime worked, which isn’t always the case. I still refuse to believe them when they say that “all other possible means” have been explored though.’

Among Us ripples to Discord

As you probably know by now, Among Us has become a surprise hit of 2020, and it looks like Discord is a getting a piece of that pie as well. Since it is a social deduction game, players are encouraged to turn to external voice chats, as there isn’t one in-game.

This chart shows daily downloads for Discord since 2015. As you can see, they’re not just doing well, they’re doing extremely well. This just goes to show how influential Among Us has become — after already having hit 1.5 million concurrent players. If I were Discord, I’d start looking at funding some more games of that ilk.

More details about Spider-Man: Remastered

You may recall that with the Ultimate Edition of Spider-Man: Miles Morales, the developers are including a remastered version of the first Spider-Man game from 2018. That is the only way to get it, for now.

Today they gave a few more details about it. Chief among them: Peter Parker is getting re-casted and re-modeled. While voice acted by Yuri Lowenthal, he was originally portrayed by John Bubniak. This time around, they’re using Ben Jordan as the face model, who (not-so) coincidentally looks a little bit more like Tom Holland from the movies. The official word is that they chose Jordan because he’s a “better match” to Lowenthal’s voice.

Alongside the re-cast is more graphical fidelity, and a “Performance Mode” which brings the game to 60fps. Insomniac also says that they’ve basically removed loading screens all-together, but that you can turn them back on if you still want to see the comedic bits they threw in there. Finally, they’re introduced many new photo mode features, which were originally developed for Miles Morales.

Once again, to play the remaster you need to purchase the Ultimate Edition of Miles Morales for $70.