In what is being called “a huge win for workers’ rights” by the CD Projekt Red executive board, Cyberpunk 2077’s team of dedicated developers were assured this week that they’ll be receiving their performance bonus despite the game’s mixed reception. After years of mismanagement, delays, and forced crunch, the ever-dutiful employees will finally receive their just compensation: a one-time payment of 1,100 Polish złoty, or about 300 US dollars.
Polish studio CD Project Red has been praised for its mastery of open-world action RPGs in the highly successful Witcher series, but Cyberpunk’s spotty release has tarnished the company’s reputation. Cyberpunk 2077—getting its name from a subgenre of dystopian fiction juxtaposing futuristic technology with squalid standards of living—reportedly saw its workers go to hell and back to meet their managers’ unrealistic expectations. Now, the company hopes to right its wrongs and make amends.
“It’s the right thing to do,” says CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwiński. “We know we’ve disappointed a lot of people with how we’ve handled this project. Thousands of players are asking for refunds. Our shareholders are drafting up lawsuits. I want to be clear that the blame lies solely with high-level executives such as myself, not the hard-working developers who make our gargantuan paychecks possible. That’s why we want to share the love with a little holiday joy: [$300] in cold, hard cash. Take it home. Roll around in it. Get a little something nice for yourself. Perhaps a steak. Perhaps several steaks. You’ve earned it.”
“Yeah, this is going straight into my rent,” says character artist Zofia Woźniak, a single mother of three who has been working on Cyberpunk 2077 for eight years. Describing her work, Zofia tells us that her team’s take on the cyberpunk genre is actually about cyborg ninjas more so than any sociopolitical commentary. “I’m in poor financial straits at the moment, but at least now I can be in poor financial straits with the addition of not enough money for a PS5.”
“I think it’s a wonderful idea,” comments US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “A one-time stimulus of $300, why didn’t we think of that? I have to write that one down.”