Cyberpunk 2077 is coming next month, so the breathtaking Keanu Reeves has been wheeled out to introduce prospective visitors to the crime-infested Night City. It’s interspersed with footage and cinematics we’ve seen before, but it’s got the energy of an intro to a cheesy American crime documentary and I confess I dig it.
As much as I appreciate a bit of Keanu, however, the build-up to the long-awaited launch has been undermined by CD Projekt Red’s decision to continue mandatory crunch, making employees work six-day weeks to get the RPG out the door.
Following criticism over crunch during The Witcher 3’s development, the studio committed to making crunch optional, but “non-obligatory crunch” still exploits people’s passion, and employees can still feel pressured into working extra hours because of the culture, even if it’s not mandated. It might have been an improvement, but it was a tiny one. And CD Projekt Red didn’t even stick with it.
Not only is mandatory crunch happening now, according to a Bloomberg report some people have been crunching for over a year. Legally, Polish employers must pay employees for extra work, though this is not the case globally—but financial rewards can’t buy you a healthy work-life balance or time with your family.
At the end of the trailer, Keanu steps into his future car and says, “So seize the day, then set it on fire,” but all I can hear is “unionise, unionise, unionise”.