The ‘CD’ Stands For ‘Crunching Developers’ (The Jimquisition)


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We’ve talked a lot about crunch and other forms of industry abuse this year. We’ve raked multiple companies over the coals for their unethical and often exploitative behavior. We will keep doing that.

What do we do, however, when this nasty behavior is perpetuated by one of the “good” ones? What if, say, CD Projekt RED was accused of overworking staff in hostile conditions?

Well, according to those excited for Cyberpunk 2077, we should just look the other way.

20 Comments:

  1. First 2 minutes and a half: am I watching Jimquistion or did I venture into one of Jim’s fever dreams?

  2. Every time I watch a segment, there’s two or three minutes at the beginning where I’m just staring slack-jawed at whatever intro Sterling is doing, unable to process the weirdness.

    Never change.

  3. 14:10 “Ours is a work of art, not a political statement” Those are not mutually exclusive. In fact, some of the best art is political in some way shape or form.

  4. When I was a kid my parents threw away loads of my old toys, including a snake alien, a bull alien and… okay I’ll cut to the chase. I don’t think my parents threw them away, I think we we’re burgled by a young Jim Sterling.

  5. I worked at a newspaper, in the production, and every day was a deadline. Of the 8-10 regional papers we produced, everything had to go out on time. Of course, the equipment barely worked and they kept laying off workers until we were always on a skeleton crew. But the deadlines never changed. I had a lot of mandatory overtime. I couldn’t find another job locally, I was stuck. But, just because I was beaten down by a terrible situation, doesn’t mean I expect others to have to suffer the same abuses.

    It’s amazing how many people have been conditioned to think being worked half to death is just how it has to be. Just suck it up, for the company’s profits. Or hey, it happens to everyone, so stop complaining. That blows my mind, that there are people who think being used up so somebody else can benefit greater, is how the world should be, and there is no expectation for better.

  6. It’s like I say: all crunching gets forgiven and forgotten if the affected game matches or surpasses people’s expectations. If not, only then they will really care about crunching.

  7. Remember when we all use to love Blizzard despite them being one of, if not THE most shittiest games company around, but because they were BLIZZARD they were the ‘good guys’? Overwatch CAUSED the ‘Year of the Lootbox’. A BLIZZARD title. There is plenty of abuse allegations at blizzard, and their staff is grossly, DISGUSTINGLY underpaid. And we all HATE blizzard now, yet they are the sane company they were a decade ago, but now in the past 3 years if not sooner we all hate them, despite them being shit for way longer. CD PR is the exact same. They are the new blizzard. We aren’t allowed to hate them because they are ‘the good guys’. Fuck’em.

  8. “Haemorrhoids, bad back and depression; we call that the Sterling special!”

  9. “The Jim Sterling Special.” – My coffee left my mouth.

  10. Back to my comment about how much foresight Jim gives Justin to his episodes, I assume this week he just came into the studio and there was a reindeer costume hung up on the back of the door.

    “What’s this for Jim?”
    ‘Stop asking questions and put it on!’

  11. ‘If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.’ – John Stewart

  12. Right before seeing this I witnessed a guy who refills vending machines for a living audibly get called a failure by his equipment, by his fucking equipment, for not successfully emptying the money and refilling the change in an absurd 10 second limit. Crunch exists at all levels.

  13. I think Lorne Lanning had a pretty good take on crunch: It’s kind of like a holdover from the film and animation industry, where it was norm that passion projects never had all of the money they could possibly need (personally I’d add that a huge friggin’ difference between Ancel and Rockstar boys and, say, Werner Herzog and Shinya Tsukamoto is that the latter two were right there in the trenches with everyone else, and still are). At the same time, there’s a pressure to do it because you won’t get do-overs, and the audience by and large doesn’t accept coming up short. But then you have a new factor stepping in, which is that some of these publishers and companies are so huge and their profits so overflowing that they don’t NEED to have crunch, they could just give the people making their game the time and money needed and still make out like bandits.

    I’d say that it isn’t even a failure of the management in case of the big boys. It’s just their greed to have all of the money.

  14. “There is no black or white, only varying shades of gray.”

  15. 10% of everything earned in 2020 is one hell of a motivator.

  16. One of the rare occasions that I dint fully agree with everything u say here but that’s OK we don’t all have to agree . This is a crunch and they said it wouldn’t be . Crunch is horrible . I do think that they are trying to go a better way about it tho …if this is an extra day a week for 6 weeks paid with bonuses then personally I’m not gonna get on my soap box . I’ve been forced in to so much worse in jobs for so much less by men who are literal monsters that used my mortgage and kids lively hood as a weapon to force me into a period of 3 years where I genuinely lost everything . My partner who took my kids and kept the home and this all happened because I was made to work 90 hour weeks for almost 3 and a half years …. even 8 years later I still have manic depressive episodes and fits of panic attacks just thinking about the effect of being “crunched”. So i do get the effect it has but like I say if it’s one day a week and paid with bonuses I can be OK with it . That doesn’t mean that anyone else who has a different opinion to me is wrong . I respect that not everyone looks at a situation with the same lens . That is just one man’s opinion . Ultimately if the employees come out and share a truly negative experience then of course they will have my full support .. on another note if my boss is reading this I’m literally begging u for a few days overtime between now and Christmas. ….. a bonus wouldst be the worst thing either

  17. As Leo Szilard said: “If the Germans had dropped atomic bombs on cities instead of us, we would have defined the dropping of atomic bombs on cities as a war crime, and we would have sentenced the Germans who were guilty of this crime to death at Nuremberg and hanged them.”

  18. Funny that every article I read, including Jason Schreir, seems to gloss over the specifities of Polish Labout Law. So lets do some investigating, shall we? According to Polish law it is illegal for an employee to work over 48 hours in a given week, so if CD PR is planning on implementing 6 day working weeks, with crunch, the staff is going to work ,at most, 8 hour shifts, provided that they work the same time every day. In the event that the working day extends past the 8 hour shift, or the week extends beyond 40 hours, up to 48, every hour increases the regular pay by 50%. If the shift also extends beyond 21:00 it bumps up by 20%, so a 70% surplus of the regular pay for every hour of overtime. There is also a guarantee of 11 hours of uninterrupted rest every 24 hours. I’d also like to point out that this whole shabang is only meant to last for a maximum of 4 months, so IF there really are people working overtime for up to a YEAR, and the contract said person signed follows the Polish average, than CD PR is liable for one HELL of a lawsuit. It is also required that the calendar year have a maximum overtime of 105 hours. If this number doesn’t ring a bell, I’d like to remind you that Dan Houser said in an interivew to the New York magazine that, at the height of RDR2’s delevopment, the staff was working 100 hours EVERY WEEK. I respect CD PR, but I’m not some mindless fanboy that is going to kiss the ground they walk and excuse every action they take. There has been enough reports of mismanagement for me to grow skeptical of the company, but when information like this is willfully ignored by people who have all the motives in the world to stir up peoples anger, keeping the definition of “Crunch” as vague and generalized to the American standard as possible, just so they can get a couple more clicks by reporting on a very talked about game, I get equally skeptical about their journalistic integrity. I’ll reserve my judgment until a whistleblower comes forth to denounce CD PR for their alleged malicious practices, until then I’ll keep my ears sharp and my mind open, and remind you guys that no corporation is your friend, just like no journalist doesn’t have an agenda. Do your own research and be skeptical of the things you hear, form your own opinion before blindly taking someone else’s. sources bellow:

    https://knowledge.leglobal.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/LEGlobal-Employment-Law-Overview_Poland_2019-2020.pdf
    https://www.businessinsider.com/video-game-development-problems-crunch-culture-ea-rockstar-epic-explained-2019-5#a-trio-of-recent-blockbusters-red-dead-redemption-2-anthem-and-fortnite-are-the-subjects-of-major-investigations-detailing-the-messy-work-of-creating-blockbuster-games-4
    https://www.agriworker.eu/en/polska/payment-menu/overtime

  19. I always thought the funniest part about Crunch was it’s all for nothing. In a lot of forms of Media if you put your all into a product it might lead to something better. You could become a famous Director, Writer, Author, News Anchor etc. With video games though, there is nothing. I would argue 99% of the game community has no idea who was involved in which game without pulling up wikipedia.

    In what 40 or 50 years of gaming “Names you Know” are basically restricted to Kojima for Metal gear and maybe the guy who made mario/sonic? No matter what “name recognition” is rarely a thing game companies go for, as they don’t want to pay their dev’s that kind of money. Not to mention all the times people work on a game to not even have their name in the credits for one reason or another.

  20. it almost sounds like we can’t really ethically consume in a capitalist society. I’ve made criticism of nintendo and Blizzard, and my goodness the amount of people who want to suck these companies figurative privates.
    I work in the animation industry and honestly, I don’t think there is one place that doesn’t indirectly dabble with the subtle-to-obvious tools of manipulating their teams into ‘crunch’

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