Cyberpunk 2077 will always be a cautionary tale of how not to make and release a game. It was notoriously marred by technical bugs and developmental woes and now, according to a new report from YouTuber Upper Echelon Gamers, a QA firm allegedly misled CD Projekt Red during the game’s development. But in response, the quality assurance company’s CEO, Stefan Seicarescu, has stated that this is all just a big misunderstanding, according to a VGC interview.
Upper Echelon Gamers posted a video on June 25 going over some deets he got from a whistleblower at Quantic Lab, a Romanian-based outsourcing quality assurance testing team. Quantic Lab has had a hand in ironing out bugs in some big-name games, including Desperados III, Destroy All Humans!, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Cyberpunk 2077. The whistleblower, an anonymous Quantic Lab employee who UEG believes to be authentic based on a series of documents they claim to be in possession of, including a 72-page quality assurance testing file and detailed spreadsheets tracking worker productivity, explained in a June 23 email to UEG what went down during Cyberpunk 2077‘s QA testing.
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According to the source, things started getting bad for Cyberpunk 2077 QA testing around late 2019. Quantic Lab leads were apparently sent to Poland to work directly with developer CD Projekt Red. The team was supposed to consist of “veteran testers,” folks that had “extensive experience with quality assurance who understood the process and workflow,” UEG stated. However, those that showed up were allegedly “junior testers” who had less than a year or, in some instances, just six months of work in the field. According to UEG’s source, CD Projekt Red wasn’t aware of this junior tester team, instead believing they were getting veterans from Quantic Lab who had worked on The Witcher 3.
But it wasn’t just Quantic Lab’s QA department that caused hiccups in Cyberpunk 2077‘s development. Quantic Lab upper management allegedly instituted a “bug quota” policy that required each individual tester to submit no less than 10 bugs per day. The thinking was that the new policy, which inevitably overworked employees, would increase productivity and further polish the game. To accomplish this, though, testers bombarded developers with thousands of minuscule errors, from items clipping to missing textures.
According to UEG, the QA team focused too much on negligible or low-priority bugs to meet the quota. The source claimed the torrential rain of superfluous glitches drenched workers across departments. You should watch the full video.
In response to UEG’s video, Quantic Lab CEO Stefan Seicarescu lowkey told VideoGamesChronicle that the whole thing was a misunderstanding. He didn’t appear to deny or address any of the allegations specifically; instead, he clarified that the claims made in the video were full of inaccuracies about QA testing.
“The video published on social media as mentioned in your article starts with incorrect statements about Quantic Lab’s history,” Seicarescu said. “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 no global publisher leans on just a single QA team, suggesting CD Projekt might’ve recruited multiple groups to debug Cyberpunk 2077.
“Quantic Lab supports over 200 projects per year from several global leading publishers and continues to maintain a quality comes first approach to all the work we undertake,” Seicarescu said. “All our customer agreements are confidential but in general, global publishers are working with several QA outsourcing companies, not depending solely on one, in addition to internal QA resources at developer level in most cases. Each project we undertake is unique with regard [to] project requirements. Project direction is agreed and adjusted accordingly as per real time requirements with our clients. Quantic Lab always strives to work with transparency and integrity with our industry partners.”
Kotaku has reached out to CD Projekt and Quantic Lab for comment.