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Crunch? "Never on my watch," says new Witcher game director

In a brief Twitter exchange, newly-appointed Witcher game director Jason Slama pledged to protect workers.

Chris Kerr, News Editor

March 23, 2022

2 Min Read

The game director tasked with overseeing the next entry in The Witcher franchise claims nobody working on the project will be asked to crunch.

CD Projekt announced the next Witcher saga earlier this week, and has asked Gwent game director Jason Slama to steer the mystery project.

Confirming his appointment on Twitter, Slama said he has "been working to ensure the success of the next big triple-A The Witcher game as its game director," and noted that CD Projekt is looking to bolster its dev team as production ramps up.

In response to that tweet, one person suggested Slama forgot to mention the "sign on bonus of horrible crunch," to which the game director responsed "never on my watch."

It's a brief but notable exchange given CD Projekt's recent history where crunch is concerned.

Back in 2019, the Polish company told Kotaku it wouldn't force employees to work overtime and was "committed" to treating staff humanely. That promise was short-lived, however, and just a year later Bloomberg obtained an email that indicated the studio was implementing mandatory six-day work weeks in a bid to finish (the much-delayed) Cyberpunk 2077.

In the email, studio head Adam Badowski conceded CD Projekt was breaking its own promise, but indicated there was no other option.

"I know this is in direct opposition to what we've said about crunch," he said at the time. "It's also in direct opposition to what I personally grew to believe a while back -- that crunch should never be the answer. But we've extended all other possible means of navigating the situation."

Earlier this week, CD Projekt also revealed it's pivoting away from its propriety REDengine to Unreal Engine 5 to make life easier for devs working on the next Witcher title, but only time will tell whether that'll help those in the development trenches.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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