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Is All Not Well at CD Projekt Red? (Trend in Glassdoor Reviews)

Maligna

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Jul 3, 2013
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On my never ending hunt for new Cyberpunk 2077 information I just stumbled upon this video made by a guy (who looks like he may be Hideo Kojima in disguise) that has been taking a look at the glassdoor.com reviews of CD Projekt Red. He noticed a troubling trend and laid it all out here in his video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wBuoexbVEFE

Some points he brings up from the reviews:
From 30 Reviews
CD Projekt Red has a rating of 3.1 Stars.
46% would recommend a friend to work there
15% approve of the CEO Adam Badowski

As a comparison:
From 778 reviews
Ubisoft has a ranking of 3.8
85% would recommend a friend to work there
98% approve of CEO Yves Guillemot

From 1668 reviews
EA has 3.9 stars
82% would recommend
95% approve of CEO Andrew Wilson

Reviews range from Dec 2012 untill early this year. Some common threads are as follows:
• Middle management is heavily criticized for not being in tune with gamers and not listening/trusting their employees
• Talent is often lost due to pressure, low salary, bullying and bad decisions
• Long working hours, sometimes paid, sometimes not
• Fake milestones to increase pressure
• Bonus system that is biased towards middle management
• Broken and outdated tools
• Studio has grown too large/too fast (Lack of skill/training/experience in new hires)
• Lack of planning/vision (This would lead credence to the rumor that they scrapped all Cyberpunk pre-production work from prior to 2016)
• No investment in employees
• Constant renovations at the office causing chaos
• Work tends to be lost or done in vain
• Employees aren't kept in the loop of the production schedule
• Culture of blame
• Erratic/absent CEO who "doesn't even like games"

A couple choice quotes from "Advice to Management" section that seems to be in line with the consensus,
"Hire somebody with actual management experience to help this company change. Without this, in five years nobody will want to work at CDPRed."
"Crunch here is insane. We read about Bungie's crunch and ME: Andromeda crunch and laugh. And crunch will hit this current project hard."

"Just retire or focus on family. Please leave making games to people who actually play them, make them and love them."

Yes, glassdoor is kinda like yelp. So there could be some trolls in there, but the reviews seem way too consistent with specific issues over too many years. (2012-2017)

Still, as the thread about CD Projekt's market capitalisation breaking $3 billion revealed, even if all of this is true, it's working for them as a company... but at what cost?

Cyberpunk 2077 is my most anticipated game ever, and I really hope it's not going to be a mess with how fast it seems the company is growing and taking on amateur talent, while at the same time management seems to have disparate and counter-intuitive visions for projects.

EDIT: Link to the reviews in question.
https://www.glassdoor.ca/Reviews/CD...own&sort.ascending=false&countryRedirect=true
 

Mushroomer25

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Jan 5, 2012
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Underpaid, overworked. Sounds like a AAA game dev company to me.

Disgusting as fuck.
Which raises the question - why are EA & Ubisoft's reviews so positive by comparison?

Is CDPR an anomaly, or do other studios bloat the system with planted positive reviews?

What do the stats look like for a studio of a similar size/scale of CDPR?
 

zsynqx

Member
Sep 5, 2015
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Glassdoor reviews should always be taken with a grain of salt, but this is interesting.
 

gdt

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Oct 20, 2007
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We've heard about this for awhile. The Witcher 3 absolutely murdered the workforce and whats going on with CP2077 seems to be doing the same.

Amazing games though.
 
Aug 29, 2015
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Considering it's based on 30 reviews and anyone can leave a glass door review, I wouldn't put much stock in this yet.

If things are not well, I'd be willing to be our resident Press Sneak Fuck will be filling us all in soon.
 

Obliterator

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Apr 21, 2015
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I believe this has been rumored that CD Pojekt Red has some rough conditions to work under. That said its pretty common in AAA game development. Keep in mind I'm not excusing that whatsoever, its horrible, but just saying its all too common. Its pretty rare to work at a major AAA dev studio and not be in somewhat shitty conditions.
 

Akronis

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Aug 20, 2014
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Which raises the question - why are EA & Ubisoft's reviews so positive by comparison?

Is CDPR an anomaly, or do other studios bloat the system with planted positive reviews?

What do the stats look like for a studio of a similar size/scale of CDPR?

I wouldn't be surprised if it's just been so normalized for some companies at this point, no one bats an eye.

Anyone getting into video game development is basically expected by a lot of large companies to put their entire existence into their work.
 

didevol

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Apr 24, 2014
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Its pretty rare to work at a major AAA dev studio and not be in somewhat shitty conditions.

Nah, it's not really like that. There are crunch times, sometimes serious. It's not unheard of to pull 80 hour weeks(I think it's fun though). Companies usually cater to us during those times to make life easier. I've never had a bad experience and don't recall people complaining on the regular.

Maybe different fields of work get treated differently.
 

Lingitiz

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Sep 19, 2010
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Which raises the question - why are EA & Ubisoft's reviews so positive by comparison?

Is CDPR an anomaly, or do other studios bloat the system with planted positive reviews?

What do the stats look like for a studio of a similar size/scale of CDPR?

I'm not sure about the horror stories with those two publishers, but generally with their scale they'd be able to offer good benefits and other pros that would make working there more pleasant. EA and Ubi are freaking massive, but it also means they'd have the infrastructure and internal support to maintain that size. As "evil" as their corporate culture might seem on the outside, I'm willing to bet they probably treat their employees pretty well generally.

Also, EA/Ubi have a lot more employees that work on the publishing side, where hours can still be rough but nowhere near as grueling as software development.
 

mrlion

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Dec 30, 2012
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I looked at the reviews myself....and yeah....take them with a grain of salt. Not saying the company can't make compromises but they are a great dev for a reason, having one of the greatest games of our lifetimes they must be doing something right.

To be fair, however, I've been to Poland that was included in a tour I made myself of Eastern Europe and I can tell you Poland (specifically Warsaw) is and feels way different from the rest of them. They have attitude similar to New York City and they tend to be very proud of what they do, sometimes a little too much but they get the job done and they get it done very well. I know this because my brother also worked in Warsaw and he saw similar effects him living there for a year and I noticed even from the few days I was there.

So if the reviews come from people who are from other countries working with them, it makes sense they felt that there was something missing. However, they don't do it maliciously, its just that they are proud people that is all.
 

carlsojo

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Dec 18, 2013
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30 reviews is a super low sample size but that's still concerning.

Re: Ubi and EA, maybe they just treat their employees really well?
 

HK-47

Oh, bitch bitch bitch.
Oct 24, 2007
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Nah, it's not really like that. There are crunch times, sometimes serious. It's not unheard of to pull 80 hour weeks(I think it's fun though). Companies usually cater during those times to make life easier.

Maybe different fields of work get treated differently.
They do. That's why a lot of gaming people flee into other areas of the tech industry. Gaming has the worse of both the tech and entertainment industry
 

didevol

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Apr 24, 2014
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They do. That's why a lot of gaming people flee into other areas of the tech industry. Gaming has the worse of both the tech and entertainment industry

I think you have them confused. Games is WAY more stable than the film industry, in my experience anyway, and again, prolly different for what you do in the industry.
 

AmuroChan

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Nov 23, 2013
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Considering it's based on 30 reviews and anyone can leave a glass door review, I wouldn't put much stock in this yet.

If things are not well, I'd be willing to be our resident Press Sneak Fuck will be filling us all in soon.

Wait seriously? So even if you've never worked there you could leave a review? Lol what's the point of the site then? Someone who left on bad terms could just leave a bunch of bad reviews with fake accounts.
 

HK-47

Oh, bitch bitch bitch.
Oct 24, 2007
49,169
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1,010
I think you have them confused. Games is WAY more stable than the film industry, in my experience anyway, and again, prolly different for what you do in the industry.
Being more stable than film is like being more stable than a star that's about to go supernova.
 

Wolf Akela

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Oct 13, 2008
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Wait seriously? So even if you've never worked there you could leave a review? Lol what's the point of the site then? Someone who left on bad terms could just leave a bunch of bad reviews with fake accounts.

There's really no way to verify you worked for the company without maintaining anonymity.
 

Hierophant

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Jun 16, 2015
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Being more stable than film is like being more stable than a star that's about to go supernova.

OT but what does make film super unstable? i thought game studios regularly lay off employees after they're done with the game or is this a different situation? sorry, genuinely curious
 

Syriel

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Which raises the question - why are EA & Ubisoft's reviews so positive by comparison?

Is CDPR an anomaly, or do other studios bloat the system with planted positive reviews?

What do the stats look like for a studio of a similar size/scale of CDPR?

Better project bonuses perhaps?

People will put up with crunch if they feel well compensated and that management is solid.
 

AmuroChan

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There's really no way to verify you worked for the company without maintaining anonymity.

I totally get that, but that basically makes the site useless. A company could have 100 reviews and 50 of them came from one guy who got fired.
 

Some Nobody

Junior Member
Aug 8, 2013
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We saw rumors exactly like this right before TW3 came out actually. I won't say they're false, I'll say more likely CDPR knows how to make good games regardless of what's going on behind the scenes.
 

TissueBox

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Nov 10, 2015
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How can a studio that's so beloved by consumers have so mixed reviews from employees?

Probably because these two are verily not mutually exclusive, like with a lot of art that is beloved, unfortunately.

Of course, that also means they can overlap, too. Just clearly depend on different factors.

Beware the assumption that because a game comes out great and is universally loved that the creators were all on the same page and not being put through a laborious or strict/disjointed game development ringer.
 

Landford

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Jun 5, 2014
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There was a post about an "insider" that was telling the exact same thing years ago. It kinda got dismissed i guess, but he painted this exact same scenario, especially the management part. So its either one very diligent angry person or the pattern is on the wall.
 

Data West

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Sep 20, 2010
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There was a post about an "insider" that was telling the exact same thing years ago. It kinda got dismissed i guess, but he painted this exact same scenario, especially the management part. So its either one very diligent angry person or the pattern is on the wall.

There was. It came out shortly before Witcher 3 came out though that insider also said Witcher 3 was very bad as well which probably made people doubt the working conditions part when it came out to overwhelmingly positive reception
 

Dabanton

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May 25, 2007
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Which raises the question - why are EA & Ubisoft's reviews so positive by comparison?

Is CDPR an anomaly, or do other studios bloat the system with planted positive reviews?

What do the stats look like for a studio of a similar size/scale of CDPR?

I have friends at EA Canada who love working there.

Glassdoor for the most part is usually pretty straightforward. I've searched my own company to read reviews and most of it is fairly spot on.
 

veloxStrix

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Oct 22, 2013
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Isn't it pretty obvious what is happening here?
From 30 Reviews
CD Projekt Red has a rating of 3.1 Stars.
46% would recommend a friend to work there
15% approve of the CEO Adam Badowski

As a comparison:
From 778 reviews
Ubisoft has a ranking of 3.8
85% would recommend a friend to work there
98% approve of CEO Yves Guillemot

From 1668 reviews
EA has 3.9 stars
82% would recommend
95% approve of CEO Andrew Wilson

Let's take a look at these numbers. First, the sheer number of reviews. 30 reviews vs 778 and 1668. That is a huge difference. EA and Ubisoft are both larger companies with a longer life, but it is still a massive disparity between CDPR. By having more reviews, you are always going to trend towards a more neutral number. Since most people tend to use rating numbers somewhat arbitrarily despite their actual feelings, this number tends towards positivity despite what the actual posts might be saying.

Second, EA and Ubisoft are probably well aware of the value of marketing and most likely have some incentive to leaving a Glassdoor review - whether it is positive or negative. As most reviews of this sort are done by people having an issue and being inclined to take some action to deal with that issue, giving an incentive to employees to write reviews typically encourages those people with few issues to write a review they generally would never make - further raising the average. A more cynical person might suggest that they could hire a marketing person to artificially inflate their Glassdoor score. It isn't impossible but I think they would be fine even without it.

Nothing to see here. Just bad analysis, in my opinion. Every company has disgruntled employees, no matter what. Some people just don't fit in.
 

arturo2666

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Dec 7, 2014
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OP might be worth posting a link to the actual reviews in the topic.
Here.


As for the reviews,this is a pretty weird case. Disregarding the difference in sample size with the companies it's compared to, I find it really strange how the reviews seem to be really positive or really negative with no middle ground. I don't work in the industry, but for companies in my vertical reviews usually range 2-4.5, whereas on the first page of CD Projekt Red I'm seeing mostly 1s and 5s.

Not sure what to conclude from that, mostly just a stray observation.
 

DOBERMAN INC

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Reminds me of the Rockstar wives situation a few years ago, sometimes great games come from a very destructive place.
 

BizzyBum

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• Studio has grown too large/too fast (Lack of skill/training/experience in new hires)

This is what I was afraid of. Sometimes more people isn't always the best way to go about things. Sure, things get done quicker, but the end product is worse.

I still have faith Cyberpunk 2077 is going to be mind blowing.
 

AmuroChan

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Nov 23, 2013
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But would he have the patience to post the same review consistently over the course of 5 years?

I'm sure people like that exist out there. Also, there's probably a way to program a bot to do the dirty work.
 
Jun 27, 2015
12,540
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Which raises the question - why are EA & Ubisoft's reviews so positive by comparison?

Is CDPR an anomaly, or do other studios bloat the system with planted positive reviews?

What do the stats look like for a studio of a similar size/scale of CDPR?

Ubisoft seems to mitigate the problem to some degree by just having massive team sizes. They seem to easily have the largest dev team sizes for their major games

I totally get that, but that basically makes the site useless. A company could have 100 reviews and 50 of them came from one guy who got fired.

LOL so "basically useless" on the off chance some troll is review bombing a company. Okay
 

Landford

Banned
Jun 5, 2014
821
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There was. It came out shortly before Witcher 3 came out though that insider also said Witcher 3 was very bad as well which probably made people doubt the working conditions part when it came out to overwhelmingly positive reception

Did the guy really said that? I remember he posted at the time the game got a huge delay, and that he left, and his colleagues were doing ungodly amounts of crunch. That would line up with the rumoured troubles with 2077. I also could be misremembering, apologies if so.
 

psyfi

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May 21, 2016
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Still, as the thread about CD Projekt's market capitalisation breaking $3 billion revealed, even if all of this is true, it's working for them as a company... but at what cost?
Wait, so... the company is working for who exactly? How is it working out for all the workers who quit and complain, and all the workers who want to quit but are too desperate or too dedicated? How is it working out for them?

That's the gross anti-social mindset capitalism has sold to us.
 

Maligna

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Jul 3, 2013
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Wait, so... the company is working for who exactly? How is it working out for all the workers who quit and complain, and all the workers who want to quit but are too desperate or too dedicated? How is it working out for them?

That's the gross anti-social mindset capitalism has sold to us.

True, I guess I should have said it's working well for the CEOs and management.

I think it's much more likely a studio making huge AAA games has a bad work-life balance than a bitter ex-employee made a bot to review bomb Glassdoor.

People really don't want to believe many AAA games are built on the backs of workers, huh.
Corporate apologists in this thread are disgusting.

"It's pretty common AAA stuff, guys, move along...but remember to support them so they keep making games I like."

Yeah, I expected plenty of apologists. Made me wonder if I should bother making the topic.
 

veloxStrix

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Oct 22, 2013
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Wait, so... the company is working for who exactly? How is it working out for all the workers who quit and complain, and all the workers who want to quit but are too desperate or too dedicated? How is it working out for them?

That's the gross anti-social mindset capitalism has sold to us.

Find me this magical company to works out for everyone who has ever worked there. This website has 30 reviews about a company with ~600 employees most of whom live in Poland and have likely never heard of Glassdoor. Is this an accurate representation of the overall workforce? I think most people with common sense would say "no".
 
Jul 6, 2004
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Corporate apologists in this thread are disgusting.

"It's pretty common AAA stuff, guys, move along...but remember to support them so they keep making games I like."