We previously reported a story about a rumor that claimed many of the bugs in Cyberpunk 2077 were the fault of an external QA partner. It’s alleged that third-party QA studio Quantic Lab used inexperienced testers and had quotas for them that caused them to forward thousands of minor bugs that took time away from fixing more important ones. Quantic Lab has responded to the accusations against it and says the YouTube video that made the allegations contains inaccurate statements.
Cyberpunk 2077 QA studio denies wrongdoings
Quantic Lab CEO Stefan Seicarescu issued a statement to Forbes in response to its article about the YouTube video from Upper Echelon Gaming that made the claims against the studio. In it, Seicarescu primarily addresses the claim that the Cyberpunk 2077 team was short-staffed. He also explains that they weren’t the only QA team to work on the game. Finally, he mentions that all customer agreements are confidential, which is likely why his statement is rather vague, given the severe nature of the allegations against the studio.
Upper Echelon Gamers made a second video to “clarify” that he didn’t mean to say that Quantic Lab had staffing issues on the Cyberpunk 2077 team and that the initial report misunderstood him. His words in the original video were, “Quantic Lab was already struggling to fully staff all their other projects, not just Cyberpunk 2077. So they were short on workers.” So, it’s easy to see how Forbes might have thought he was saying that Quantic Lab was struggling to fully staff the Cyberpunk 2077 team because that’s exactly what he said.
Above: CD Projekt Red processing its QA tickets.
Of course, the allegations don’t make a ton of sense. Upper Echelon Gaming claims that a neverending flood of bug reports from Quantic Lab prevented CD Projekt Red from fixing big issues because they had to work on all the small nitpicky ones. However, as funny as the mental image is, bug fixing doesn’t work like Lucille Ball at a chocolate factory. Bugs would be submitted as part of a priority system, and Upper Echelon Games even acknowledges this with the claim that CD Projekt Red asked Quantic Lab to stop putting low-priority tickets into the system at some point. Also, devs play the game as they build it, so they’re not blindly grasping at QA tickets to know what to fix.
Upper Echelon Gamers’ claims unravel a bit further when you do a small amount of research. For example, in his first video, he states, “Even the project leader had barely one year of experience.” Well, the credits for Cyberpunk 2077 list all of the QA team from Quantic Lab that worked on the game. That makes it simple to see how much experience they currently have by just searching on LinkedIn:
- Senior Project Manager: Marius Popa – 15 years, 8 months with Quantic Lab
- Project Manager: Hajnalka Szilágyi – 11 years, 1 month with Quantic Lab
- Project Manager: Raluca Maria Fatol – 7 years with Quantic Lab
So, three of the four (credited) project leads were veterans when Quantic Lab started working on Cyberpunk 2077. The fourth didn’t have a LinkedIn, but I’m sure I could send them an email if I was in dire need of the info.
Addressing further claims of inexperience, QA Tester is an entry-level position with a high turnover rate. Those who do well at it are quickly promoted to leads and then managers if they’re working at a company full-time. This isn’t always the case with freelance QA (which is a whole other problem in the industry), but that doesn’t seem to be the issue here. So, saying that the testers on Cyberpunk 2077 were too inexperienced makes zero sense to anyone familiar with how the industry works.
Of course, Upper Echelon Gamers must have also missed the fact that CD Projekt Red’s internal QA team was just about equal in size to the team that Quantic Lab had on the game. The videos don’t address what part they played or the quality of their work, which seems like something you’d look at if you were prepared to make such strong accusations. Kind of a significant oversight for someone who claims all game journalists do is copy and paste other people’s articles.
Just before I published this, Upper Echelon put out another video detailing claims of poor business practices by Quantic Lab. I haven’t had the time to verify that information, and it’s beyond the scope of this article. However, I don’t really know why he would care when he made a video nitpicking the media’s reporting on crunch during Cyberpunk 2077 in October 2020. (And yes, it’s still crunch if it’s “voluntary.”)
The question of how much Quantic Lab contributed to the poor state of Cyberpunk 2077’s launch is still in question. I haven’t seen the documentation that Upper Echelon claims to have, and it’s possible that Quantic Lab did a horrific job QA testing the game. However, I do know enough about the game after years of covering it that you can’t lay the blame at one particular person or department’s feet. Overemphasizing Quantic Lab’s effect on Cyberpunk 2077’s development doesn’t do anyone any favors.