the director of next witcher game tried to quell crunch culture concerns at CD Projekt Red.
Jason Slama – who has served as director of the standalone card game Gwent for the past few years – announced in a tweet that he would take over as director of the newest game in the Witcher saga (thanks, game place). In addition to announcing his new role, Slama was encouraging people to apply for a number of roles that are currently in the studio.
Understandably, some responses weren’t particularly thrilled with the idea of working for a company that was notorious for its crisis conditions during the development of Cyberpunk 2077 and The Witcher 3. After all, while promising”more humane” working conditions for the team during the development of Cyberpunk 2077, the team was then pushed into a mandatory crunch period in early 2020. After the game’s final delay in September 2020, co-CEO Marcin Iwiński told investors about the crisis at the studio: “actually, it’s not so bad— and it never was.” Iwiński later apologized to CDPR staff for his comments, saying, “I didn’t want to comment on the crunch, but I still did, and I did it in a demeaning and hurtful way.”
All of this led to healthy skepticism in the responses, with one person retweeting to say “you forgot to mention the horrible crunch signature bonus and being treated like a dog”. Slama responded to the tweet, simply saying “never on my watch!”
His response didn’t seem to have people completely convinced, but it appears that CDPR is trying to distance itself from the negative culture that has surrounded its two previous games. Who knows if this mantra will continue as development progresses, but a commitment to downplay it is a start.