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Devs at QA studio Quantic Lab allege overwork, poor management
Current and former developers at Quantic Lab say that the QA studio management has inflated staff numbers, overworked workers, and enabled toxic managers.
October 10, 2022
2 Min Read
Romanian developer Quantic Lab is being scrutinized over allegations of mismanagement and malpractice. Past and current employees of the company told PC Gamer that the mismanagement helped contribute to the infamous launch state of Cyberpunk 2077.
Quantic Lab was one of several external QA developers that worked on CD Projekt Red's 2020 RPG. The studio previously drew attention earlier in the year after a video from Upper Echelon alleged that the studio didn't prioritize proper focus, and Quantic CEO Stefan Seicarescu later refuted those claims.
However, those speaking to PC Gamer said that the studio was lacking in experienced QA staff while working on the game. And it seems Cyberpunk wasn't an isolated incident: that inexperience was reported to be fairly common throughout other games the studio worked on.
One source claimed that of the 30 developers first assigned to Cyberpunk, less than half of them had QA experience. Of those developers, none of them had experience longer than a year. As a result, Quantic Lab reportedly "underperformed" in its tasks, and its management clashed with CDPR over development priorities.
As Quantic was working on Cyberpunk, it also had other contracts to fulfill, which was said to cause a strain on staffing issues. An ex-senior employee said that misrepresenting the studio's size and experience was "standard practice," and a former lead added that lead testers would often supervise two or three a projects at once with less testers than desired.
"I was a lead tester in contact with clients and I had to lie about their team's size...dozens of fucking times," admitted a former staffer.
Several employees also informed PC Gamer of Quantic Lab's high turnover rate and toxic work culture. Managers were alleged to have frequently berated lead testers, loudly stating that testing games was "unskilled work." Often, Quantic would bring in staff by snatching up recent graduates.
QA developers fresh out of school were paid less than half of what older coworkers were making. Around the time of Cyberpunk's development, junior testers were earning 1,450 Romanian lei ($285 a month ). Lead testers earned 3,826 lei ($753/mo).
Some developers who left Quantic Lab departed with the thought that the company can't be saved, at least not unless an overhaul from the top down occurs. Others are burnt out completely, with one saying that their time at the studio "made me hate games. [...] I never tried working in game development again, even though it was my passion at first."
Game Developer has reached out to Quantic Lab, and will update this story if the studio responds.
About the Author(s)
Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com
A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.
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