UPDATE 1/16: CDPR Studio Head Adam Badowski has responded via Twitter, addressing several of the points mentioned in the Bloomberg report. A new Cyberpunk 2077 report has revealed a number of major features that were cut in the development process by CD Projekt Red.
Cyberpunk 2077 released back in December of 2020 and, over a month later, it’s still fairly difficult to ascertain a definitive community response.
The game’s release on PC and next-gen widely delivered the experience that fans expected, but many players still using PS4 and Xbox One consoles were left massively disappointed with invasive bugs and texture issues. As such, CD Projekt offered unprecedented refunds to the affected players.
However, on January 15, Bloomberg‘s Jason Schreier revealed that the game could have looked massively different, and some major features were cut during the development process.
Most notably, Schreier revealed that, up until 2016, it was conceived as a third-person game. Given the perspectives we got when it launched in December, a third-person view of Night City seems difficult to imagine. The obvious reference for comparison here is GTA V, which released in third person way back in 2013, before adding an optional first-person perspective.
“If you’re wondering just how much Cyberpunk 2077 changed over the past decade: well, up until 2016, it was a third-person game,” Schreier said. The Bloomberg reporter then revealed a number of major features that were cut, including a wall-running mechanic, flying cars and car ambushes.
“Features that were originally envisioned (wall-running, flying cars, car ambushes) were cut along the way (not atypical in game development),” he commented.
– And if you're wondering why the police system in Cyberpunk 2077 is so janky: well, it was all done at the last minute. As is evident by the final product, it was unclear to some of the team why they were trying to make both an RPG and a GTA with a fraction of Rockstar's staff
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) January 16, 2021
It should be noted that flying cars aren’t totally removed, as you can still be taxied in them, but they can’t be driven (piloted?) or owned, unlike road vehicles.
He also explained that the police system in Cyberpunk was added at “the last minute”. Many fans have made the comparison to GTA, and concluded that GTA’s open-world environment is better realized.
Schreier puts this down to trying to emulate the GTA series, albeit with a fraction of their resources. It is also stated that CD Projekt’s management hurried the game’s development and pushed for a 2020 release, despite the scale of the game. Reports state that the game’s developers believed it would be released in 2022.
Adam Badowski – studio head at CD Projekt Red – responded to the article via Twitter on January 16. He thanked Schreier for his full report and additional tweets, but wanted to offer his own thoughts on the information presented in the article.
Badowski’s response addressed three specific points from the report: the game demo provided to the media at E3 2018, CDPR staff believing the game wasn’t ready for release in 2020, and the use of different languages within the workplace.
The studio head pointed to the complex nature of game development and the many different nationalities working at CDPR as answers to some of the issues. Badowski also reiterated that despite on the game’s on-going problems, the studio is “proud of Cyberpunk 2077 as a game and artistic vision.”
Whether CD Projekt (and, indeed, their management) learn from Cyberpunk’s issues remains to be seen, but fans can still get excited about the remainder of the game’s life-cycle.