CD Projekt Red is probably one of the most well respected development studios in the current-day climate of game design. A lot of gamers are desperately looking forward to their upcoming Cyberpunk 2077, and CD Projekt gave a hint at just how big the game might be based on the size of development.
VG 24/7 is reporting that during an investor's meeting, CD Projekt Red confirmed that they currently have more people working on Cyberpunk 2077 than all of the people who were working on The Witcher 3 during its most intense part of the development cycle. So just how many people is that?
According to Gamespot the total in-house staff working on The Witcher 3 totaled about 240 people from CD Projekt alone. However, in-house staff was not everyone who worked on the game. The article further notes that there were a total of 1,500 people who contributed tot he production of The Witcher 3 from around the world, 500 of which were voice actors who worked on the 15 different localized languages for the game.
So does this mean more than 1,500 people are working on Cyberpunk 2077? Well, it depends on if they mean everyone involved in the production or just the core development team. In the world of game design, there are a lot of vagaries to sift through.
We do know that the total production cost for The Witcher 3 came up to $81 million, which included marketing. According to US Gamer the actual game development -- minus the marketing -- was closer to $12 million. So Cyberpunk 2077 is aiming to have a larger team on the project, which could raise the actual game development costs.
In the VG 24/7 article it's mentioned that they're going bigger so that they can go better; but bigger does not always equal better.
Ubisoft has been known to have more 1,000 people working on Assassin's Creed titles, but still the most solid entry in the series has been Assassin's Creed II: Brotherhood. Activision is also known to throw lots of money and people at brands like Call of Duty and Bungie's Destiny, but smaller games like Warframe (from Digital Extremes) has seen player engagement growth hand-over-foot with PC gamer reporting more than 26 million registered players on hand, while Destiny has seen a steady drop-off in interest.
Ultimately, "bigger" is only better when it actually means the developers can implement more features, more depth, more gameplay variety, more interactivity and an actual world that feels immersive. Throwing money and bodies at a project can sometimes backfire, which is precisely what happened with Ubisoft and the latter Assassin's Creed titles.
However, CD Projekt Red has a great track record, so if they're opting for the "bigger is better" route I trust that they're going about it the right way. They also mentioned months ago that they wanted the game to be a much larger, open world than what was featured in The Witcher.
Cyberpunk 2077 has a lot of community interest in it because we don't often get cyberpunk-themed games in the AAA space. While we can easily point to Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, it's one cyberpunk game amongst many other AAA titles released throughout the years, with the last notable cyberpunk game being Deus Ex: Human Revolution from five years ago. Obviously, there was EA's reboot of Syndicate, but I did use the adjective "notable", and that was something that the Syndicate reboot was not.
We still don't have an actual release date on Cyberpunk 2077, but the VG 24/7 article pointed to CD Projekt saying that the release date would be a "surprise".