After almost a decade of anticipation, CD Projekt Red’s most ambitious game, Cyberpunk 2077, has finally made its way to the gaming populace. Spirits were high as millions of gamers across the planet fired up their consoles and PC to pre-download their pre-purchased digital version at the dawn of December 10, 2020. What better way to end one of the worst years of the 21st century than having the most anticipated game on your PC or console.
Unfortunately, the hype and excitement surrounding Cyberpunk 2077, just like our plans for 2020, went straight to the drain in just a week. The only difference between Cyberpunk 2077 and COVID-19 is that the reason for the game’s plunge from being anticipated to unexpected is something that can still be saved. If the devs won’t take action, Cyberpunk 2077, just like the coronavirus, may be considered a disappointment in 2020.
Having said that, let’s take a quick look at what really happened to Cyberpunk 2077. We may not find the answer that we are looking for but at least we get a brief look at some of the most memorable events in the game’s 8-year development phase.
Let There be Hype
Sometime in May 2012, CD Projekt Red announced a video game rendition of Mike Pondsmith’s Cyberpunk RPG franchise. Following the announcement is the title reveal of Cyberpunk 2077 that took place 5 months later.
Back then, the Cyberpunk 2077 hype only happened within the Cyberpunk RPG community. The rest of the gaming community finally caught up with the hype when the teaser trailer of the game premiered three months later on January 11, 2013. By this time, the game is already gaining traction not only because it promises to feature a new gaming experience but also because CD Projekt Red is already in the spotlight for the upcoming entry to The Witcher franchise.
The success of The Witcher 3 when it launched in 2015 fortified the reputation of CD Projekt Red as a studio capable of producing a rich and immersive open-world game. As the fad surrounding The Witcher 3 begins to fade, fans of the studio began looking into the previously announced title, which is Cyberpunk 2077. After all, who wouldn’t want to see an open-world game developed using the same engine, not to mention coming from the same studio responsible for one of the best ARPG in the industry?
Thus, the anticipation and hype surrounding The Witcher 3 are now with Cyberpunk 2077. The hype then eventually reached its peak when the devs unveiled the gameplay reveal and the trailer to the public in 2018.
“Shut Up and Take My Money” Moment for Cyberpunk 2077
During E3 2018, the gaming’s biggest show, the event unleashed a variety of upcoming games to the gaming populace. Part of what makes this event special is the unveiling of Cyberpunk 2077’s official trailer and the 48-minute gameplay trailer. Needless to say, both videos stole the spotlight of the event, making Cyberpunk 2077 one of the most wanted games of E3 2018. Adding to the hype is the awed group of journalists who witnessed the first-ever live game demo. Ultimately, it was the “shut up and take my money” moment of the anticipated game.
On E3 2019, Cyberpunk 2077 was officially considered the most anticipated game in the event as fans and game enthusiasts crossed their fingers for what CD Projekt Red has in store for them. Then, it finally happened—not only did Cyberpunk 2077 have an official launch date but revealed that the most iconic action star in Hollywood is in the game. By now, Cyberpunk 2077 is already sold to the gaming community. With an official launch date and Keanu Reeves on board, even a force of nature could not stop the game’s success… or so it seems…
The Longest Year
Cyberpunk 2077 was scheduled to launch on April 16, 2020. However, CD Projekt Red notified the anticipating public through their official Twitter account that the launch date has been moved to September 17, 2020. The tweet states that the game is complete and playable but there’s still work to be done. The change in due date is not new in the gaming industry, as most developers prefer to change the due than to deliver an incomplete product.
Speaking of surprises, CD Projekt Red unleashed another surprising news on June 19, 2020. CD Projekt Red stated that Cyberpunk 2077’s launch will be moved from September 17, 2020, to November 19, 2020. This time, the developers state that they need more time for fixing bugs and balancing the game mechanics. The developers also reconfirm that the game is now playable.
On September 30, 2020, video game watchdog and former Kotaku contributor Jason Schrier exposed an alleged six-day workweek for the developers. The article states that an unnamed employee of CDPR alleges that many of the staff “had already been putting in nights and weekends for more than a year.”
As if the tight schedule and the ongoing pandemic are not making things hard enough, the Bloomberg article made the situation even worse. CDPR now has the fans, the pandemic, woke brigade, “work ethics police,” and journalists breathing down their neck. As a form of control, the CDPR Studio head explained the need for “crunch” and employees are well compensated.
On October 28, 2020, 22 days before the launch of the game, CDPR released another tweet. It stated that the game’s official launch date will be moved to December 10, 2020. By this time, it is clear that the game is not yet ready.
Finally, by December 10, 2020, CDPR officially launched Cyberpunk 2077.
After the Hype Has Gone
Cyberpunk 2077 sold over 13 million copies in December 2020, making it one of the best-selling games of that year. Despite the launching delays, Cyberpunk sadly comes with many issues. You can find some of these issues below:
- Crashing and other stability issues on all platforms
- Scripting issues impacting NPCs, the world, and more
- Xbox One and PS4 version Issues: low resolutions and framerates, crashes, texture pop-in, stuttering, etc.
- Reloading does not reflect on the previous game state
- A game-breaking issue that prevents the title from running
- Poor performance on PC
- Low-Quality Textures
- Crackling audio on PC
- No Ray-Tracing on AMD Cards
- Enemies can see through walls
- Missing and invisible NPC objects
- T-Pose characters in the open world
- Sound mixing glitches and bugs
- Missing weapon inventory stats
- A bug that displays zero health
Cyberpunk 2077 suffered what could have been a controllable or preventable disaster. Based on the tweet by CDPR on October 28, 2020, they admitted to having challenges in shipping the game on the current and next-gen. It also states that they will be testing nine versions of the game while “working from home.” Based on their statement, it seems that the pandemic hugely affected the delay of the game’s launch. Furthermore, the launch date revealed in 2019 is a calculation based on the work done in the studio and not from home.
CDPR could extend the game’s development indefinitely, accept the backlash, and redeem themselves later by producing a masterpiece. Instead, they went for the backlash now and patch later the type of approach common to most AAA games. As a fan of the works of CDPR, it’s heartbreaking that one of the most player-friendly studios in gaming is now in disarray, which is not looking good for the studio.
Obviously, Cyberpunk 2077 is still not ready as it still has a long way to go in terms of its development. As to why CDPR decided to launch a broken game in question, only the studio can answer that. Whether it’s for the fans, the investors, or pressure from Internet entities—the answer remains obscure. The best thing that the studio can do today is to connect with the community and limit the media interviews. However, one thing is for sure—there is so much room for Cyberpunk 2077 to become the game it promises to be.
The overhype-to-disappointment plunge is not a new issue in the gaming industry. One of the most iconic examples of this issue is No Man’s Sky by Hello Games. This game plunged from being one of the most anticipated games to one of the most disappointing. With that said, CDPR should be talking to Hello Games right now for advice on making a comeback.
With a last ounce of hope, we are still betting that CDPR will do right with its fans. And that is to make Cyberpunk 2077 a genre-defining game. As to when the game will deliver its promises, well, that depends on the team. After all, if an independent studio like Hello Games can do it, why not CDPR?