One of the most awaited video games of the year, Cyberpunk 2077, was released last week.
It is a futuristic romp through a city inspired by Blade Runner. Its developer, Warsaw-based CD Projekt Red, was behind one of the greatest games of the last decade (The Witcher 3 – think Game of Thrones, except grittier); it stars Keanu Reeves, who is as popular with gamers as he is with everyone else. It had all the ingredients for perfect hype: it has been in production for nearly a decade; Before it came out, eight million individuals had pre-ordered and paid for the game.
But something has been going wrong since December 10: on the day of the release, the reviews were decent – even great.
The realism of the fictional city of Night City, its spectacular skyscraper architecture and grimy alleys were lauded by many critics; the invigorating gunplay, the gritty characters, and the neon swag were loved.
Some shared concerns about the somewhat adolescent tone of the game and its eagerness to objectivize women’s bodies – not a surprise to anyone who had an eye on the marketing of the game. The game they had been waiting for for years was buggy, and the code was clearly unfinished.
In Night City, bizarre glitches stopped adventures, or the game crashed so much that it was barely playable.
Some scenes have reportedly induced epileptic seizures, causing the developers of the game to tweet, “Apart from the one in the [End User License Agreement], we are working on adding a separate warning to the game.”
Sony pulled the game from the PlayStation Store digital store on December 18 and gave a refund to those who purchased it – an incredibly unusual occurrence that I can only recall happening once, when the Ashes Cricket game was so fantastically damaged in 2013 that it was withdrawn from sale and never seen again. The current situation is a costly affair for Sony and CD Projekt Red, who are n n.
These range from humorous (a man standing on a street corner casually smoking a gun rather than a cigar, a pedestrian falling to the ground and turning into a patio table) to repulsive (characters vanishing unexpectedly or walking through the landscape) to irritating in Cyberpunk 2077 (random crashes that interrupt gameplay or halt progress, slowdowns that make the game unpleasant to look at).
Even on the advanced PCs it was built for, Cyberpunk suffers from all these problems – but they are especially bad on the less powerful Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Early reviewers ignored these issues because CD Projekt only gave them access to the more stable PC version of the game before it was released – and under a strict non-disclosure agreement that prevented the display of actual footage.
Such a prominent game, which has been in production for so long and cost so much money (the owners of the game studios I spoke to say it cost more than £ 300 million), may seem unlikely to come to market in such a state.
It definitely points to issues at CD Projekt, the workers of which would undoubtedly be exhausted after months of overtime during the Pandemic; the game has already been postponed twice since April to give more time for improvements.
As millions had already been invested on television advertisements and worldwide promotions, another delay would probably have been much more expensive. The result was an incredibly high-profile scandal, frustration among players, and a collapse in the stock price of the business – an indictment of the way the gaming industry currently works.
I’m thinking of Bethesda’s Fallout 76, a game about living in the ruins of a retrofuturistic America with other players after a nuclear war that took place in the North American War.