The Witcher and Cyberpunk 2077 staff unionise after three waves of layoffs at CDPR this year

Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty
(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

CD Projekt Red employees have joined others in the Polish video game industry to unionise after three rounds of layoffs at the Cyberpunk 2077 studio. The unionising developers say their goal is “improving their workplace/industry standards in a way that has legal power and amplifies their voices".

In a statement on Gamedevunion - translated by Eurogamer - the union explains that they “started talking about unionising after the 2023 wave of layoffs when nine percent of CD Projekt Red’s employees (that is roughly 100 people) were let go.” In late July, the publisher said the layoffs would help the teams become more “agile and more effective,” after being “overstaffed.”

The union, however, said the redundancies “created a tremendous amount of stress and insecurity, affecting our mental health and leading to the creation of this union in response. Having a union means having more security, transparency, better protection, and a stronger voice in times of crisis.”

According to the union’s statement, “The above shows how employers tend to view their interests to be in conflict with those of their employees. While employees are the ones creating value in this arrangement, they lack any decision power in company-structure-related matters. That is why we need to organise to enter those situations on equal footing.”

"We believe that the mass lay-offs are a danger to the gamedev industry and we believe that unionising is a way for us to preserve the industry's potential," concludes the statement. 

As Eurogamer notes, the CD Projekt Red staff join with the nationwide union, OZZ IP, which is inviting video game industry staff from across Poland to join. That means that CD Projekt Red staff overseas, such as those working in their Vancouver office, aren’t covered by the union. The company’s management is supposedly aware of the union but has yet to respond.

CD Projekt Red have just released Phantom Liberty, the huge expansion to Cyberpunk 2077. But the studio have several other games in the pipeline, including a multiplayer spinoff that was also on thin ice. Then there’s a new Witcher trilogy, a Witcher remake, and a mysterious new IP.

Cyberpunk 2077’s sequel, however, will be made by the same developer’s who turned the game around with Phantom Liberty.

Freelance contributor

Kaan freelances for various websites including Rock Paper Shotgun, Eurogamer, and this one, Gamesradar. He particularly enjoys writing about spooky indies, throwback RPGs, and anything that's vaguely silly. Also has an English Literature and Film Studies degree that he'll soon forget.