Cyberpunk 2077

Mass Layoffs at Cyberpunk 2077 Developer CD Projekt Prompt New Union Formation

Amidst the turmoil caused by a series of layoffs at CD Projekt, the renowned game development studio behind The Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077, a new Polish game developer union has emerged. The Polish Gamedev Workers Union was formed by current CD Projekt staff members, Paweł Myszka and Lev Ki, in response to the three rounds of layoffs that have shaken the company.

The decision to unionize came after the wave of layoffs in 2023, which resulted in approximately 100 employees, or nine percent of CD Projekt Red staff, being let go. This mass reduction in workforce sparked immense stress and insecurity among the remaining employees, leading to the formation of the union.

The main objective of the Polish Gamedev Workers Union is to represent all individuals working in game development in Poland and provide them with more security and transparency. The founders believe that having a union will offer better protection to employees and ensure their voices are heard during times of crisis.

One of the key concerns that prompted the formation of the union is the perception that employers prioritize their own interests over those of their employees. The union aims to address this power imbalance and create a fairer system where employees have an equal say in company-structure-related matters.

Moreover, the union members strongly believe that mass layoffs pose a significant threat to the gamedev industry as a whole. They view unionizing as a crucial means of preserving the industry’s potential and safeguarding the rights and well-being of its workers.

CD Projekt has been asked for comment by IGN, indicating that the issue has garnered attention within the gaming community and industry at large.

The series of layoffs at CD Projekt unfolded over several months, with the company citing the need to align the workforce with ongoing projects and their overall strategy. The affected employees came from various departments, including development, publishing, and back-office teams. CD Projekt estimated that the cost of these layoffs, including severance payments, amounted to 4.5 million PLN (approx $1.1 million).

Company CEO Adam Kiciński acknowledged that the decision was driven by the need to optimize working arrangements and build more effective project teams. He emphasized that the company was “overstaffed” and lacking future opportunities for certain employees based on current and projected project needs.

This recent round of layoffs is not an isolated incident, as CD Projekt previously announced layoffs in relation to the conclusion of development on Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. Additionally, layoffs occurred at The Molasses Flood, a studio owned by CD Projekt, and at developer Spokko following the closure of The Witcher: Monster Slayer.

Despite these setbacks, CD Projekt continues to forge ahead with various projects, including the recently released Cyberpunk 2077 expansion, Phantom Liberty, which achieved remarkable success with three million copies sold within a week. The company also has a remake of the first Witcher game, an original IP called Project Hadar, a sequel to Cyberpunk 2077 named Project Orion, a new Witcher trilogy titled Project Polaris, and a multiplayer Witcher game called Project Sirius in the pipeline.

The formation of this Polish game developer union reflects a growing trend in the industry, with other unions emerging among developers at Avalanche Studios and workers at Sega of America. These unions seek to address the challenges faced by employees in the gaming industry and ensure their rights and well-being are protected.