CD Projekt Red have hired Gwent director Jason Slama to lead the charge on the next The Witcher game, which was recently confirmed by the studio. He quickly promised that crunch won’t happen “on my watch”, likely referring to Cyberpunk 2077‘s mismanagement and crunch woes during its development.
When replying to a user on Twitter who raised the issue of CD Projekt Red’s history of crunch, Slama stated that crunch will never happen on his watch. This is reassuring as Cyberpunk 2077 was criticised for exactly that, leading to the game’s rocky launch which was plagued with numerous technical and performance issues.
If Slama remains committed to his “no crunch” policies, then the next Witcher game will probably take a little while longer to develop compared to Cyberpunk 2077. Given that game’s rushed nature, it’s probably in CD Projekt Red’s best interest to take their time with their next AAA game.
In a previous interview with IGN, Slama went into a little more detail about how he managed his role and avoided crunch almost entirely while working on Gwent:
“When it was time for me to move on to my new challenges the team was so supportive and so ready to exist without me. People just managed to grow and learn and do so much under the project.
And again, in an environment where I achieved my ultimate goal of saying, ‘Hey, look, you can make a high quality CCG without murdering the people who work on it with whips and chains,’ especially considering all the controversies that happened with crunch and everything.
The fact that we managed to achieve all that with really awesome working conditions, and people thanking me for the support and what they taught me, it’s a very humbling, but also inspiring, moment and day for me.”
That said, Gwent is a considerably smaller-scaled project compared to something as ambitious as a new AAA Witcher game. It will be interesting to see how Slama applies his methods to a larger development team and period.
Source: Jason Slama