Industry veteran and former BioWare dev Gabe Amatangelo has been with CD Projekt RED since 2020. And he seems to have been instrumental in not only fixing Cyberpunk 2077, but shaping the future and finding the right vision for the game.
Gabe Amatangelo, Image credit: IGN
How did Gabe Amatangelo lead Cyberpunk 2077 through its darkest hours?
Bloomberg’s new report on Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty sheds light on the game’s transformation and how Gabe Amatangelo helped CD Projekt solve some internal issues.
Amatangelo joined the Polish developer in January 2020 as the creative director. Here is how he managed to receive carte blanche from CD Projekt’s board of directors to “make it right, including all the time and resources he requested”:
- It all started in May 2021, when The Witcher 3 and Cyberpunk 2077 game director Konrad Tomaszkiewicz left the company following accusations of bullying colleagues. His brother, another studio veteran Mateusz Tomaszkiewicz, was about to lead the development of Phantom Liberty but stepped down shortly after;
- That’s when Amatangelo was appointed as the new game director, with patch 1.5 as his first major task. He has now told Bloomberg that he “was struck by the humility and willingness to change” from the board;
- The team managed to regain the players’ trust with patches, and Amatangelo went on to lead the production on Phantom Liberty;
- At the same time, he also played a role in changing CD Projekt’s workplace culture and improving work-life balance (the company currently has a system that alerts management if someone is working for prolonged periods of time);
- Some lower-level employees confirmed this information to Jason Schreier;
- It looks like CD Projekt’s executives are satisfied with the work that Amatangelo has done in recent years, as he will now direct a Cyberpunk 2077 sequel codenamed Project Orion (it will be developed by the company’s new Boston studio expected to start operating in 2024).
Gabe Amatangelo’s gamedev career and previous projects
- In the early 2000s, Amatangelo briefly worked in the film industry as an intern story editor at New Line Cinema and Tribeca Productions.
- Things changed in 2005 when he got a job as a content designer at Mythic Entertainment, a studio behind Dark Age of Camelot. Following the company’s acquisition by Electronic Arts, Amatangelo was involved in the development of MMORPG Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning.
- Thanks to this experience, he then managed to join BioWare, where he worked from January 2010 to June 2015. He was a lead PvP designer on Star Wars: The Old Republic and was one of the lead designers of several expansions to the game.
- Amatangelo aslo served as design director of Dragon Age: Inquisition DLCs, Jaws of Hakkon and Trespasser.
- After leaving BioWare, he co-founded Austin-based studio QC Games where he was the game director of co-op action RPG Breach. However, the game received mixed reviews and was shut down shortly after its Early Access launch.
- Prior to joining CD Projekt RED, Amatangelo consulted for other game studios, including Odisi Games and CCP.