Cyberpunk 2077 is finally in the hands of players after nearly a decade of waiting. Unfortunately, many players have experienced bugs, and a lack of transparency from developers in regards to performance — especially on last-gen consoles — hasn’t done it any favors.
The game’s release has been tarnished by its slew of technical problems affecting the game. The launch hyped up fans all over the world for years, with CD Projekt Red’s further delays only increased that hype. Slowly, though, ripples of concern began to appear as we approached the final launch date of December 10.
However, the reality of the experience for many players now traveling through Night City is far from hype-inducing. Marred by audio, visual, and technical bugs, alongside a lack of features such as character customization and overcomplicated features, there’s a lot of work to be done.
Damage control mode
Players are already being incredibly vocal about what it is that they want to see. In a Reddit post with over 27k upvotes, a huge list details quality of life and immersion fixes. It’s clear the current state of the game has disappointed players.
In a recent emergency investors call, Adam Kiciński, the Joint-CEO of CD Projekt sat down to answer questions facing the game. He was also joined by Piotr Nielubowicz, CFO, Marcin Iwiński, the Joint-CEO and cofounder, and Michał Nowakowski, a Board Member responsible for publishing.
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Kiciński begins the call by stating that, “the game had a strong opening and we’ve got positive feedback from players enjoying it on stronger machines — PCs and next gen consoles and Stadia — but the initial feedback from those playing it on the oldest last-gen consoles is way below our expectations.”
Videos and images showcasing just how dire performance is can be found all over the internet. Twitter user notjuly recently shared on Twitter the hilarious bug they experienced that resulted in a flatline.
Heading across the street to mount their motorcycle, the vehicle ended up blasting the player across the street, throwing them up into a concrete wall to their death. Bugs like this are rife on consoles, and the developers wanted to make sure that they set the tone from the outset.
When quizzed about their QA testing, Kiciński stated that current global affairs are one of the reasons behind a lack of polish.
“Internal testers are able to test the game working from home because we provide them with our own connected machines and so on, but external testers working for external companies were not able to test the game from homes.” They go back on themselves here slightly, stating that while it was an issue, ” [they] wouldn’t point to it as a major source of problems.”
— notjuly (@June_BAAO) December 11, 2020
“After three delays, we as the Management Board were too focused on releasing the game. We underestimated the scale and complexity of the issues, we ignored the signals about the need for additional time to refine the game on the base last-gen consoles.” The team goes on to state how this was the wrong way to approach releasing the game, going against their consumer-friendly business philosophy.
Prior to this, CD Projekt Red was often hailed as the favorite child of the games industry in regards to how they treat and value their customers.
Now, the studio sees that trust waning, and they know that there’s a lot to do in order to earn that back.
What awaits console players?
With a patch planned to be released within the next week, developers are already hot on rectifying their mistakes. Further updates are also candidly planned in January and February, coinciding with smaller updates.
In the call, Michał Nowakowski detailed that if old-gen players are looking for performance comparable to what’s seen on current-gen/PCs, that’s something that won’t happen. “If your expectations regarding, say, visuals or other performance angles are like this, then we’re openly stating that’s not going to be the case.”
However, they then detail that console players can expect a smoother experience once the bulk of the patches are released. “It will be a good, playable, stable game, without glitches and crashes, though. That’s the intention.”
A lack of old-gen footage
While answering one of the panel’s questions, Iwiński details that footage was never shown of old-gen, because it’s something that was being worked on up until the very last minute. “Unfortunately this resulted in giving it to reviewers just one day before the release, which was definitely too late and the media didn’t get the chance to review it properly. That was not intended; we were just fixing the game until the very last moment.”
As well as this, though, reviewers like YongYea made it clear that they were not able to show their own footage in their reviews until after release. Provided with B-roll, cinematic footage, this further limited what was actually able to be shown to players, with many feeling that this was deceptive in practice.
Developers were also quizzed in regards to their decision to release Cyberpunk on old-gens at all. With it being obvious that this decision has delayed and marred the release, why not forgo it?
“Next-gens get a completely different version of the game, so it’s not like we could have decided at any point recently to “flip the switch”, so to say, and change the old-gen version to the next-gen version and release only on next-gens.”
They continue to state that the current next-gen edition isn’t a native release, only taking advantage of the added power of the new systems. However, Iwiński continues to detail that console players will receive a next-gen update of Cyberpunk on consoles, hoping to quell some of the current issues.
“Every single gamer who bought the game on last-gen consoles will get a proper next-gen update next year. This is what we’re working on and I sincerely hope that this will serve as another incentive for the gamers to keep the game and not return it.”
The developers continue to talk about how patches released down the line will continue to cover all areas of gameplay, whether it be from a gameplay standpoint, or down to more specific things such as AI and technicalities; patches will see improvements in all these areas.