A new report from PC Gamer adds context to some of the issues that plagued Cyberpunk 2077 development by revealing that Quantic Lab, a Romanian company that provides quality assurance (QA) support to external third-party developers like CD Projekt Red, lied about their experience and qualifications.
The report features testimony from eight former and two current employees from Quantic Lab who corroborated previous reports that management had lied to numerous clients about the size, qualification and experience of its employees. Quantic Lab, despite their lack of employees to do the job, took on work and was constantly taking on more projects than they had the means to do so.
Quantic Lab took on QA duties for NBA 2k21 and Cyberpunk 2077, but suffered from serious staffing issues. A former senior Quantic Lab employee who was hired in 2019 said it was “standard practice” to misinterpret the “size and experience” of the company’s QA teams to clients, further cementing the notion of corporate malpractice.
“It was common to see entire projects handled by one person,” one former QA lead told PC Gamer. “[When what was] actually needed [was] a team of one to three testers [in addition to the lead tester]. Some lead testers handled two to three projects at a time, with probably fewer than needed testers assigned to each one.” Another lead said, “I was a lead tester in contact with clients and I had to do that [lie about their team’s size],” said another lead. “I have done that dozens of fucking times.”
“I wouldn’t blame Cyberpunk on [Quantic], CDPR still released the damn thing,” one of the former Quantic employees who worked on the game told PC Gamer, “But the fact that the game was in the state that it was, [Quantic] contributed.”
The QA testers for the projects had very little manpower and had to work in a toxic and demoralizing environment. Multiple employees said management would directly say that testing games was “unskilled work.” That stance explains the high turnover rate of employees as they were treated as expendable. During the time of Cyberpunk 2077’s development, junior testers earned near minimum wage with no bonuses.
After the project was done, so to speak, some of the former employees went on to other jobs in tech or gaming; in which they’ve conceded that they’d at the very least gotten something to put on a resume. But another former employee wouldn’t even give the company that: “Quantic made me hate games and gaming. I never tried working in game development again, even though it was my passion at first.”
In the end, the now infamous launch state of Cyberpunk 2077 led to scathing reviews, being delisted on the PlayStation store, refunds and a diminishing of the goodwill CD Projekt earned from the Witcher years. CDPR then spent the following year fixing bugs, technical issues and glitches within the game before getting it to a playable state that doesn’t scream “Bethesda Game Glitch Montage.”
The PC Gamer report follows on information first reported by the YouTube channel Upper Echelon Gamers. The channel purported to have information from a Quantic Lab QA tester that worked on Cyberpunk 2077. According to Upper Echelon’s contact, Quantic Lab promised CDPR that a team of veteran testers would be available for Cyberpunk 2077, but instead the game was worked on by junior testers with less than a year of experience. Staff members were also tasked to report a set number of bugs per day which diluted and obscured their reports.
In response, Quantic Lab CEO Stefan Seicarescu spoke to VGC and claimed that the report was erroneous and included “inaccuracies about Quantic Lab” and that the content creator appeared to show “a misunderstanding about how the QA process works.” Seicarescu said, “The video published on social media as mentioned in your article starts with incorrect statements about Quantic Lab’s history. There seems to be a lack of understanding in the process of how a game is tested before its release to the market.”
Seicarescu said that multiple parties may have contributed to the poor quality of Cyberpunk 2077, but ultimately, his remars appear to be deflection at best. The PC Gamer report provides a bit more clarity on just some of the things that have played a role in the ignominous state of Cyberpunk 2077 at launch.