Cyberpunk 2077 refund mess: Two fingers to broken games - Dexerto
Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 refund mess: Two fingers to broken games

Published: 18/Dec/2020 17:26 Updated: 18/Dec/2020 17:46

by James Busby

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Cyberpunk 2077 was one of the most hyped video game launches of the past decade, taking fan excitement to a whole new level. However, despite the game’s massive budget, hype trailers, and even Keanu Reeves getting in on the act, CD Projekt’s latest open-world title has failed to live up to its expectations. 

No game is without its flaws – in fact, it’s rare that an open-world game of Cyberpunk’s scale is free from any forms of bugs and visual oddities. However, Cyberpunk 2077 has been wrought with so many problems that Sony has decided to pull the plug. As of writing, the title is no longer purchasable on the PS Store, an unprecedented move. This comes just days after CD Projekt offered Xbox One and PS4 players refunds to help alleviate the current backlash the company faces. 

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It’s certainly a very drastic move from Sony and one that hasn’t helped the discourse surrounding Cyberpunk’s current state. While PC and Xbox Series / PS5 console players have had much smoother experiences, there are still fundamental problems with the game. From cut content, floaty combat, minimal player choice, lifeless AI, and a slew of cut content – Cyberpunk certainly has some glaring issues. 

As a result, many players have been issued refunds, but that’s not the answer.

Cyberpunk 2077 was overhyped

Cyberpunk teaser trailer
CD Projekt
The 2013 teaser certainly got many Cyberpunk fans excited.

Now, it can be argued that CD Projekt definitely didn’t help themselves on this point. After all, the game’s 2012 title reveal and subsequent 2013 teaser trailer had already excited many gamers.

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Over the course of the game’s development, they steadily released a trickle of content that aimed to keep the hype-train chugging along right up until its 2020 release. 

Everything from cinematic trailers, ambiguous tweets, and gameplay reveals were used to keep audiences engaged and hungry. Of course, media hype isn’t exactly anything new, but CD Projekt took the hype machine and cranked it all the way up to 11. Aside from the never-ending trailers and ads, CD Projekt famously delivered the ultimate knockout punch when Keanu Reeves himself made an appearance during last year’s Xbox E3 2019 conference. 

Cyberpunk 2077
CD Projekt
Cyberpunk 2077 fans were rightfully excited when Keanu Reeves made his first appearance in the game.

It was certainly hard to not get wrapped up in all the excitement, especially since the title seemed so ambitious.

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The feeling was almost tangible and for many years eager fans bought into the hype. The Cyberpunk beast had seemingly gotten out of control, creating a situation where it could never possibly live up to the monumental expectations place upon it. Even Keanu Reeve’s character, Johnny Silverhand couldn’t stop the title from fading away.

Just like every overhyped piece of media before it, Cyberpunk is yet another example of how little online hype actually means to the end product. It still has the potential to be very good, but even if its technical issues are fixed, it still won’t be the game that many were expecting.

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Updates aim to improve performance

Cyberpunk 2077
CD Projekt
Current-gen texture bugs are something of nightmares.

Now that it’s finally out in the wild, players have finally been able to dig right into Night City.

While last-gen consoles have had a rough time running Cyberpunk, the overall experience on PC and Xbox / PS5 consoles have been much smoother. Of course, this still leaves a lot of questions on how CD Projekt aims to fix Cyberpunk’s current issues and regain gamers’ trust.

During a December investor call, CD Projekt executives finally gave some insight into what players can expect in the coming months ahead. “We are planning to get the game in much better shape than it is now, of course, and a lot of that is going to be happening in December. Come January and February you’re going to see larger improvements,” stated CD Projekt board member, Michał Nowakowski. “It will be a good, playable, stable game, without glitches and crashes, though. That’s the intention.” 

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Cyberpunk 2077
CD Projekt RED
PC and current-gen systems are currently the best way to play Cyberpunk 2077.

While the updates won’t make the last-gen version look and perform similarly to that of new-gen consoles and PCs, it will help alleviate the current issues with the game. “We are not encouraging gamers to return the game, we hope they’ll give us a chance to improve it on old-gen,” added co-founder and joint owner of CD Projekt Red, Marcin Iwiński. 

“We sincerely hope that gamers will prefer to wait for updates since they had waited so long for the game, but – again – this is our humble hope.” It can be tempting to simply join the Cyberpunk 2077 hate bandwagon that is currently circulating across forums and social media, but we already know the game is broken and has its flaws. Instead, it’s best to look towards the improvements Cyberpunk needs to become a better game.

With a game as big as this, too, the community can expect big improvements over time. Certainly, that’s how The Witcher 3 went down.

Refunds are not the answer

Cyberpunk 2077
CD Projekt
Refunds set a poor precedent for future releases.

Mass refunds will do nothing in the way of fixing the current issues with Cyberpunk 2077. Of course, people will be frustrated having bought what appears to be an unfinished version of the game advertised. After all, gamers really shouldn’t have to accept that the titles they purchase will be this broken and will need significant patches to be fixed. You wouldn’t accept this with other forms of entertainment, so why should gaming be different?

Imagine if next year you go and watch Black Widow – gone to the cinema, got your bucket of popcorn to last the three hours running time, but then an hour in, the film stopped and you had to watch it again. What would you do? Request a refund probably – in fact, it would probably just be given to you, no questions asked.

Despite this notion, it’s hoped upcoming performance patches and content updates will make for a much better experience – hopefully, one that is a little closer to the game that was announced all those years ago. 

Games take time to get right

Viktor Cyberpunk
CD Projekt
While Viktor won’t be able to fix Cyberpunk’s issues, CD Projekt definitely can.

After nine years in development, you’d think Cyberpunk 2077 would be able to deliver seamless gameplay without any bugs and visual oddities. However, it isn’t the first game to receive such criticisms. In fact, No Man’s Sky famously shared a similar fate upon its release. 

The sheer ambitious nature of this procedurally generated exploration-survival game garnered a lot of attention from critics, but the game’s hype and subsequent delay ultimately led to a lot of disappointment. It was later found that content had been cut, while a lot of players experienced bugs that kept them from playing the game altogether. 

Hello Games’ Sean Murray received a lot of criticism online and No Man’s Sky players left the game in their droves, writing it off as yet another ambitious title that failed to live up the hype it garnered. 

Afterlife bar Cyberpunk 2077
CD Projekt RED
Time will tell whether CD Projekt will be able to save Cyberpunk 2077.

Despite this huge backlash, Hello Games continued to work on the title and since then, the game has fixed the majority of the game’s issues. There is also dedicated multiplayer, moving weather systems, deeper planetary diversity, dramatic new terrain, a host of creatures, new weather conditions, and building features that have completely altered the look and feel of the game.

No Man’s Sky is but one example of how a game can change significantly, even after its initial release. While it may not be ideal, Cyberpunk 2077 finds itself in a similar situation – but with a blueprint to work with. 

While its open-world may be rough around the edges, there is still time for it to evolve into something truly special. Time will tell whether CD Projekt has what it takes to stop Cyberpunk 2077 from fading away for good, but there’s no way throwing them under the bus is the answer. It’s a thrilling story and the refinements will come.