In a turn of events stranger than any fantasy epic or dystopian future, the team at CD Projekt Red have hit 'pause' and turned to a different form of magic - the power of unionisation. After a trilogy of layoffs by the Cyberpunk 2077 studio, workers decided they needed something stronger than an inventory full of healing potions.
Prompted by the company-wide 'game over' for nearly a tenth of their teammates, the gaming wizards released a collective 'Hadouken!' via Gamedevunion - Europe's answer to the Mages' Guild for game developers. They claim that their mission quest is to beef up workplace and industry standards, using the only weapon more powerful than the Master Sword - legal power and amplified voices.
Mention the word 'layoffs' and you can almost hear the creepy music swelling in the background. The dark wizards of management weaved a verbal spell back in July, claiming less team members would make them just like an adventurer - "agile and more effective". The spell also included a fairly lame excuse that they'd mistakenly summoned too many team members to their party.
But our heroes on the frontlines saw right through this illusion. According to them, they've had quite enough of the 'beat the management boss' level. Layoffs created a very unnerving quick-time-event of stress and uncertainty, taking their mental health hit points way down. It's definitely not the kind of challenging quest a game developer dreams of grinding. So they did what any self-respecting guild would do - they formed an uber-union for added safety, clarity, better buffs and a more powerful voice during the firestorm.
It seems, in the epic boss battle of Making Awesome Games, employers and employees had different strategies. Who'd have thought that the humble workers, those who actually craft the magical artifacts and code the sprawling landscapes, might want a say in how the guild operates? Hence the rallying cry for unionisation to enter this next round of corporate raiding on an equal level.
Hilariously, the software sorcerers didn't stop there, declaring that they saw these layoffs as a major boss fight for the industry as a whole. Their unionised resistance is touted as the best 'game mod' to protect the future talent points of the industry.
In a surprise crossover episode, the CD Projekt Red wizards joined forces with a national union campaign, OZZ IP. Luckily for them, this guild accepts members from the entire Polish gaming industry. Unfortunately for their guildmates in far-off lands like Vancouver, this super union doesn't offer global tech support.
While CD Projekt Red's management mustered a respectable 'meh', the teams don their rally caps and got cracking on Phantom Liberty, a massive Cyberpunk 2077 expansion. What's next on the quest log? A multiplayer spinoff, a brand-new Witcher trilogy, a Witcher remake, and an enigmatic new secret project. The real plot twist? The sequel to Cyberpunk 2077 will be handled by the same developers who gave us the game-changing Phantom Liberty expansion.
So here's to the enduring spirit of game developers - banding together for a better tomorrow in between creating realities that make our own lives seem woefully pedestrian.
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