CD Projekt execs to no longer tie Cyberpunk 2077 dev bonuses to Metacritic following buggy launch

The executive team at CD Projekt Red is taking responsibility for the buggy launch of Cyberpunk 2077, and developers are benefiting for once.

Adam Bromell
22

Cyberpunk 2077 has been out in the world for a few days now, and studio CD Projekt Red has walked back a policy that was set to hurt developers right in the wallet. Many video game devs have bonuses tied to Metacritic average review scores, and that was the case with Cyberpunk 2077. The line in the sand for the devs is a Metacritic score of 90 out of 100, which is actually where the score sits at the time of this article. The game has launched to a vast array of bugs, glitches, and other issues, leading share of CD Projekt SA to drop earlier this week. Instead of blaming their developers who have basically been crunching for the better part of 2020, the company told employees today that they will receive their full bonuses even if the Metacritic score drops below 90.


Bloomberg is reporting that CD Projekt Studio Head and Creative Director for Cyberpunk 2077 Adam Badowski wrote the following email to employees earlier today:

“We initially had a bonus system that was focused on the game’s ratings and the release date, but after consideration, we believe that measure is simply not fair under the circumstances.  We underestimated the lengths and complexity involved to make this a reality, and still you did everything you could to deliver an ambitious, special game.”


The bonus system at CD Projekt sounds like an episode of The Office where team leaders would hand out red bird tokens (similar to Schrute Bucks) to employees who they felt were deserving of praise and honors. These tokens would be redeemable in the form of actual pay bonuses if the game met the previously set Metacritic score goal. We are not sure what the conversion rate is of red bird tokens to Stanley nickels. These performance bonuses are set to occur on top of existing contractual profit-sharing payouts.

Today's bonus policy change at CD Projekt is a great first step, but it comes against the backdrop of a studio full of developers who have been grinding away for years on this game. Reports of crunch have run rampant following Cyberpunk 2077's multiple delays, and the game is still in a pretty buggy state at the time of this article. It was probably a good idea for the executives to change this policy before the Shacknews review dropped. 

CEO

Asif Khan is the CEO and majority shareholder of Shacknews. He began his career in video game journalism as a freelancer in 2001 for Tendobox.com. Asif is a CPA and was formerly an investment adviser representative. After much success in his own personal investments, he retired from his day job in financial services and is currently focused on new private investments. His favorite PC game of all time is Duke Nukem 3D, and he is an unapologetic fan of most things Nintendo. Asif first frequented the Shack when it was sCary's Shugashack to find all things Quake. When he is not immersed in investments or gaming he is a purveyor of fine electronic music. Asif also has an irrational love of Cleveland sports.

From The Chatty
    • reply
      December 11, 2020 6:38 PM

      But...the game is sitting at 90 on Metacritic, so surely those bonuses were going to be paid? Is this their way of getting out of paying the bonus???

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        December 11, 2020 6:41 PM

        [deleted]

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        December 11, 2020 6:42 PM

        Guess I should have actually read the article before my knee-jerk reaction to this headline, lol. It sounds like they're doing the right thing.

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          December 11, 2020 6:44 PM

          You gotta remember they're the most evil gaming company of all time which hates women, minorities and customers alike!

          Heck the filthy grubs even hire the Polish!

          Sorry I need some new material, let me hit up Twitter or gamerghazi for some fresh hot takes on this month's whipping boy.

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            December 11, 2020 6:52 PM

            Yeah, none of this context exists in the article. Seems like you might be projekting.

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              December 11, 2020 7:10 PM

              Abrasion would never do that.

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              December 11, 2020 7:32 PM

              You're misunderstaning, your article is completely fine. I hope you've not interpreted any of my posts in that manner. Shack reporting, seems fairly well balanced to me.

              I'm talking about idiots on Twitter, idiots at polygon and people who just revel in drama about this game because it's the current thing to have a big cry about.


              Shack is doing great.

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                December 12, 2020 8:50 AM

                Thanks for spreading that garbage over here where Shack is doing great.

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                  December 12, 2020 8:54 AM

                  Dude really gets a chip on his shoulder at the mere concept of looking at social or political issues involving games.

                  • reply
                    December 12, 2020 8:57 AM

                    It’s not even just games. I’m surprised he’s allowed to spew the bullshit he does

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            December 11, 2020 7:36 PM

            us Polish are real trash too, just sayin

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              December 11, 2020 11:14 PM

              This changes nothing on the vendetta of a particular group intent on blood

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                December 12, 2020 1:10 AM

                Is it you? Are you that group?

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                  December 12, 2020 1:45 AM

                  Without question no, more like Waypoint staff and readers.

              • reply
                December 12, 2020 8:01 AM

                Intent on blood, or they just wanted people to be treated with respect?

          • reply
            December 12, 2020 1:00 AM

            If only the game had as much polish as the dev team.

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        December 11, 2020 6:42 PM

        Did you read the article. Maybe I'm misunderstaning but this sounds like the opposite to me. They're paying regardless?

    • reply
      December 11, 2020 7:08 PM

      Reports of crunch have run rampant following Cyberpunk 2077's multiple delays, and the game is still in a pretty buggy state at the time of this article. It was probably a good idea for the executives to change this policy before the Shacknews review dropped.

      Ouch

    • reply
      December 11, 2020 8:51 PM

      Still crazy to hear that bonuses in the industry are often tied to Metacritic performance, with all the random websites with zero readership that it conglomerates. And then some of the biggest sites that are actually worth a shit don't give review scores.

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      December 11, 2020 9:04 PM

      Iv had a few bugs... but nothing that saving my game and reloading that save dident fix. The people that made this game deserve a bonus. It lives upto my expectations.

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        December 12, 2020 1:56 AM

        I agree with you, I think the game is more it less what I expected. Is it more flash than substance? If you slow down and stop to examine the behavior of anything in the game for more than two seconds the simulation breaks. You walk to far destinations (while not having access to a car) because I destroyed it) and you see the same pedestrians more or less with a few variations depending on district.

        I feel like the gang stuff was done better in GTA5. Perhaps it was unreasonable to expect Cyberpunk to exceed that. It is a big world but a lot of the world content feels procedural. Stuff like crimes in progress have been done better in other games, such as Spider-Man for PS4 or obviously the Arkham games. You would think with a world this large it wouldn’t feel so crowded with skippable content.

        I think they missed the mark with loot in general. I am leave 18 or 19 and I still don’t look cool yet. The fact there is no in game character modification in a Cyberpunk game? You can’t cut your hair? Change my lipstick? Omgwtfbbq?!

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          December 12, 2020 3:01 AM

          I figured there were places to do that and I had missed them while doing stuff in game

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      December 12, 2020 1:50 AM

      whats the point in having a bonus system if you’re not going to adhere to it?

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        December 12, 2020 3:00 AM

        Welcome to the world of bonus pay where the rules are made up and the criteria don't matter.

        it's good they're getting paid... probably has to do with retention and public perception management...

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          December 12, 2020 8:52 AM

          Plus any reasonable management should look at the flaming dumpster fire of 2020 and recognize the impact on their own devs.

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        December 12, 2020 6:21 AM

        In my experience the only people that actually get the bonuses they’re promised are high level executives. If anyone else has one it’s tied to a convoluted and arbitrary system that your boss can usually use to screw you out of it.

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        December 12, 2020 8:07 AM

        Does the title imply a negative or is that just what people expected before reading it?

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        December 12, 2020 8:57 AM

        In this instance, I don't think it's fair to make peoples bonuses depend on what sites like "Gamersky" and "Gamestar" and "GameMAG" and "GameWatcher" and "RPG Site" think of the game

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      December 12, 2020 11:10 AM

      Good they're getting paid at least

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