Witcher 3 Developer Puts Out Vague Statement About Studio Morale

Illustration for article titled Witcher 3 Developer Puts Out Vague Statement About Studio Morale

Last month, rumors spread about the Polish company CD Projekt Red, mostly based on negative Glassdoor reviews complaining of mismanagement and low morale. This morning, CD Projekt Red released a statement in response, saying that its “approach to making games is not for everyone” and that the studio is taking its time on its next game, Cyberpunk 2077.


“We’d normally avoid commenting on company reviews on spaces like Glassdoor,” said the statement, attributed to studio head Adam Badowski and co-founder Marcin Iwiński, “but this time around—especially in light of the fact that we haven’t communicated anything about Cyberpunk 2077 for a long time and saw some gamers getting worried about the project—we’d like to elaborate on a few things.”

The statement went on to address staff departures and CD Projekt Red’s approach to its previous games, The Witcher trilogy . You can read the whole statement here:

If you’re following news related to CD Projekt Red, you might have recently stumbled on information regarding morale here at the studio. We’d normally avoid commenting on company reviews on spaces like Glassdoor, but this time around - especially in light of the fact that we haven’t communicated anything about Cyberpunk 2077 for a long time and saw some gamers getting worried about the project - we’d like to elaborate on a few things.

First off, we’d like to talk about the departures. In 2015, when we released The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, we were over 200 developers strong and that was the core crew of the studio. Since then, we’ve almost doubled the headcount and we’re still hiring. Do people leave? Sure they do. We always wish them all the best and respect both their decision and the feedback they give us as the reason for their departure. We are continuously working on making Red a good workplace for everyone, but we also have a set of values that constitutes who we are now and how we do things.

So, does a departure, even a high profile one, mean that the project is in danger? One would need to be very courageous to base the future of an AAA role-playing game of such scope on one person (or a few people).

Every role-playing game ever developed seemed impossible to achieve at the moment we set out to create it. It took us five years to finish The Witcher 1, we had to make our own engine to complete The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, and we had to entirely reinvent the way we made games to deliver an open world for The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. When we start down the road to creating something, we know the destination and we’re sure of one thing: even if something feels impossible, it doesn’t mean it is. And, as it turns out, most often things are perfectly possible, they just require a lot of faith, commitment and spirit.

This approach to making games is not for everyone. It often requires conscious effort to “reinvent the wheel” - even if you personally think it already works like a charm. But you know what? We believe reinventing that wheel every friggin’ time is what makes a better game. It’s what creates innovation and makes it possible for us to say we’ve worked really hard on something, and we think it’s worth your hard-earned cash. If you make games with a “close enough is good enough” attitude, you end up in a comfort zone. And you know where the magic happens.

Cyberpunk 2077 is progressing as planned, but we are taking our time - in this case, silence is the cost of making a great game.

As always, many thanks for being so engaged in what we do. It’s all worth the hours we put in.

It’s not clear why CD Projekt Red’s management felt the need to address reviews on Glassdoor, which are anonymous and require little verification to post. Most video game studios’ Glassdoor reviews are full of negativity and it can be hard to sort out fact from fiction. This statement is unusual as studios do not often reply to these reviews. At the same time, it also fails to address specific issues or criticisms.

When reached by Kotaku shortly after the publication of this story, CD Projekt Red declined to comment further.

Former Senior Writer and Critic at Kotaku.



The more successful the game is in a triple A space, the harder and more strenuous the work environment. This can mean that the management is unusually harsh and demands everyone come in on the weekends. Or it can mean that the milestones are back to back and require people putting in 16 hours a day.

It doesn’t surprise me that CD Project Red is a challenging place to work at. There is an enormous amount of pressure on the studio to be able to deliver a game that pushes the technology and gameplay experience. Oftentimes, the creative leads, the cinematic directors, art directors, and the founders, put an enormous amount of pressure on the underlings to get the work done.

These are the guys who are comfortable working from home and being on call on the weekends, and doing any editing or work while in-flight. Not everyone is cool with that and after delivering Witcher 3, it wouldn’t surprise me of the core group of guys who shipped that game simply got burned out. Game dev is a very time consuming and stressful profession. If you’re not ready to commit every waking moment to building a game, it’s not a job for you.