Cyberpunk 2077The creators of Keanu evidently had high hopes for their RPG Keanu. But with the base of the game more difficult (read: buggier) than expected, the executives at CD Projekt allegedly chose to rethink their bonus structure, promising to pay developers their full share of their bonuses, regardless of how well the Cyberpunk criticism – even if, you know, restricting bonuses to employees behind extremely high performance expectations is the kind of dystopian “Body” attitude you’d expect from fictional Night City CEOs.
As reported by Bloomberg, CDPR planned to pay bonuses only if the game reached 90 or more on the Metacritic review aggregation site. Granted, you’re sitting with a 90 there now, but with reviews of particularly rough-hitting next-generation console versions dropping to the under-50s, there’s a good chance that the score could easily slip.
Considering the game technically problematic releasehowever, it appears that senior management feels it is unfair to grant bonuses in this way and will now distribute them regardless of critical consensus.
“We initially had a bonus system that focused on the game’s ratings and release date, but, after consideration, we believe that this measure is simply not fair in the circumstances,” wrote studio head Adam Badowski in an internal email obtained by Bloomberg. “We underestimated the lengths and complexity involved in making this a reality, and yet you did everything you could to deliver an ambitious and special game.”
CD Projekt would not be the first developer to generate bonuses in this way. Infamously, Bethesda promised to pay only Obsidian bonuses for Fallout: New Vegas on a Metacritic score of 85 or higher. The game got 84. It’s quite an insensitive practice, honestly, and there’s an impressive arrogance at CDPR asking for 90 or more – even if they eventually canceled the idea.
Bloomberg also highlights CDPR’s own bonus system, which sees team leaders award small “red bird” tokens to developers who they think “deserve honors” each month. Although this is speculation on my part, the idea of competing for bonus tokens in this way only adds to the impression of a company culture that strongly encourages the overhead of its developers.
We are still working on our own review of Cyberpunk 2077. Obviously, we (correctly) don’t score the reviews here, but I’m not a fan of the idea that sites that use scores are complicit in how well developers are paid.