Cyberpunk 2077 Developers Did Not Believe It Was Ready for Launch in 2020
Cyberpunk 2077 was 2020’s hottest game, and it was shaping up to be a good enough launch when reviews for the PC version began trickling out a few days before its December 12 release date. But once players got their hands on Cyberpunk 2077, especially the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions, excitement turned into frustration as players encountered bugs, glitches, and more.
In a report from Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier, developers at CD Projekt Red knew the game was not ready for launch in 2020. According to one developer, “they expected the game to be ready in 2022,” based on the progress the team was making back in 2019.
Beyond just bugs and glitches, Cyberpunk 2077’s overall performance and playability on consoles like the base PS4 and Xbox One have been reviled. IGN gave the console versions of Cyberpunk 2077, specifically, a four in its review.
One hurdle was that the developers tried to develop the engine and the game simultaneously, a decision one developer on Cyberpunk says was like “trying to drive a train while the tracks are being laid in front of you at the same time,” according to Bloomberg.
Cyberpunk 2077’s console versions, not the PC version, have been hammered by players for glitches and bugs, some bugs which are game-breaking and end up crashing the entire game or sometimes the system it’s being played on.
Developers seemingly pushed through challenges by believing they could overcome these obstacles themselves, similar to the infamous “BioWare Magic,” but Cyberpunk 2077 was also developed through periods of intense crunch.
In a follow-up tweet, Schreier claims that despite promises from management that crunch would not be required, some managers guilted employees into working more hours by saying other employees will work longer to pick up the slack. Salaries were also reportedly low, with one junior programmer reportedly making around $700 a month.
In a video message to the public earlier this week CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwiński says improving the performance of Cyberpunk 2077 is now the studio’s number one priority, pushing back the launch of the next-gen PS5 and Xbox Series X version and planned free DLC. It should be noted that current PS5 and Series X players are actually playing backward-compatible versions of the PS4 and Xbox One versions of Cyberpunk.
But during this message, Iwiński claimed that CDPR’s internal testing did not show many of the bugs and issues players eventually encountered on consoles. A statement some on social media says does a disservice to QA Testers, whose jobs it is to find and evaluate bugs and performance issues.
As for why early previews of Cyberpunk 2077 demoed to the public at events like E3 2019 looked better than the final product, that’s because the demo was “entirely fake,” according to the report. Neither code nor the gameplay was finalized when the demo was made, and months spent working on the fake demo took away from developing the full game.
The backlash has led CDPR to offer an unprecedented full-refund policy for Cyberpunk 2077. But while Sony says it will honor the refunds, it also announced it will remove digital copies of Cyberpunk 2077 from the PSN store until its issues are resolved.
Furthermore, CDPR faces class-action lawsuits over misrepresenting the game to consumers, and the company is under investigation from consumer advocacy groups over claims the product is not indicative of what was promised. Nevertheless, Cyberpunk 2077 sold over 13 million copies, despite the refunds, and managed to fully recoup its development and marketing costs.
Read the full story at Bloomberg.
Matt T.M. Kim is a reporter for IGN.