"When thinking Cyberpunk 2077, think nothing less than The Witcher 3- huge single-player open world, story-driven RPG. No hidden catch, you get what you pay for, no bulls***."
That is what Polish gaming studio CD Projekt
Released on December 10, 2020.
On that day, Cyberpunk 2077 would go down as one of the biggest flops in gaming history. The game was supposed to play out as a futuristic "Bladerunner" style saga, set in a world so detailed that players could even craft their very own set of virtual genitals.
As promised, Cyberpunk players could design their very own nethers upon the games released. It's just that the game that was released was about as playable as a game of Jenga on a fighter jet.
Footage of half-naked players, riding motorcycles, arms akimbo quickly flooded YouTube feeds around the globe.
Memes of NPC's, ducking in tandem as if a part of some buggy flashmob, wormed their way to the top of Reddit. Such bugs may have been hilarious, but no laughs were coming from players on older consoles.
The game has yet to return.
Months later, and with the dust now settled, it's easy to ask what went wrong at CD Projekt Red?
For one thing, CDPR's eight-year-long effort to build the world's longest hype train didn't do the company any favors. Fans believed that the studio that brought them "The Witcher 3," which some consider one of the greatest games of all time, would be more than capable of delivering on its word. Especially after an eight-year development cycle, which is far longer than the industry norm.
Former employees also describe a practice of "wheel reinventing" at the studio. Rather than licensing out middle-ware for CP2077, many developers had to develop the games supporting software themselves. This practice resulted in developers creating worse game features than those that they could've licensed.
And then there was the chaos within the studio itself-infighting at the top and misleading deadlines from the management coalesced into a perfect storm of pressure, with some employees having to take six-day workweeks.
Since December, CDPR has tried to make amends with both players and its employees. There have been patches, hotfixes, and hotfixes for hotfixes. The game's latest 1.2 patch was recently released in a bid to squash hundreds of bugs.
That's not to mention the more significant changes within the studio itself. CDPR plans to staff up and streamline its game development process. The studio plans to tweak its internal game engine to allow different teams to develop things like NPC routines and other features for multiple platforms simultaneously. This change should help CDPR avoid redundancies in the development process.
Meanwhile, the studio is promising shorter marketing campaigns "with promotional content released close to the actual release of the given game."
With enough fixes and a new strategy in place, players can only hope that CDPR can make CP2077 playable. And maybe one day turn it into the groundbreaking game they'd been promised.