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CD Projekt Red pens defense against staff morale rumors

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As negative employee reviews ramp up, the studio clamps down

a shirtless Geralt in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt CD Projekt Red

CD Projekt Red, the Polish developer in charge of GOG.com and The Witcher franchise, is aware of the rumors surrounding it — which suggest that the studio is not a very good place to work. In an open letter posted to its Twitter account, the company addressed growing concerns about staff esteem, mostly by talking around the subject.

“If you’re following news related to CD PROJEKT RED, you might have recently stumbled on information regarding morale here at the studio,” wrote co-founder Marcin Iwinski and studio head Adam Badowski.

That information comes from Glassdoor, an anonymous review portal where employees can grade their employers on a variety of factors. Reviews for CD Projekt Red have been negative over the past several months, with staff criticizing management, work hours and the studio’s speed of growth.

“Just retire, or focus on family,” one employee wrote to management directly in a one-star review. “Please leave making games to poeple who actually who play them, make them and love them.”

“We’d normally avoid commenting on company reviews on spaces like Glassdoor, but this time around — especially in light of the fact that we haven’t communicated anything about Cyperpunk 2077 for a long time and saw some gamers getting worried about the project — we’d like to elaborate on a few things,” Iwinski and Badowski went on to write.

Some of these departing staff members are the ones leaving the negative Glassdoor reviews, but others, the pair said, left CD Projekt Red because that’s par for the course. The studio has nearly doubled in size since the release of The Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, expanding to more than 400 members in less than two years. And game development — especially when it comes to giant, open-world role-playing games like The Witcher series — often “feels impossible,” they added, not to completely write off the complaints in poor reviews.

But what the studio’s position comes down to is, essentially, if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.

“The approach to making games is not for everyone,” Iwinski and Badowski wrote. “It often requires a conscious effort to ‘reinvent the wheel’ — even if you personally think it already works like a charm. But you know what? We believe reinventing that wheel every friggin’ time is what makes a better game.”

Work on the studio’s next game, Cyberpunk 2077, continues to move along slowly, and the company has received several more positive Glassdoor reviews (all of them in the last few days or so, however). Whether the letter puts an end to months of swirling rumors about working conditions is anyone’s guess.

Clarification: We’ve clarified the text above to make it clearer which quotes come directly from the company’s letter.