Timeline of a crisis: Cyberpunk 2077

The video game took 7 years to hit the shelves, but it still left fans dissatisfied.

January 2013 

CD Projekt Red, the Polish game developer responsible for hit game franchise The Witcher released a vague trailer that showed a graphic snapshot of the world within Cyberpunk 2077With its roots in the retro-future tabletop game, fans were intrigued but confused about what the game would encompass. The developer goes dark for five years as it works on the game.

June 2018

At E3 2018, fans got their first real look at the game with a surprise premiere at Xbox’s conference. The world of Cyberpunk 2077 seemed massive and immersive, and hype around the game exploded. Fans and critics alike couldn’t wait for the game, and it won more than 100 awards at the convention, including Best Game and People’s Choice. 

June 2019 

Fans were overwhelmed with the latest game trailer at E3 2019. CD Projekt Red revealed that Keanu Reeves would voice Johnny Silverhand, one of the main characters. 

The game’s release date was set for April 16, 2020, but over the next year it would be pushed back to September 17 and then to November 19, 2020, much to fans’ dismay. Delays were explained with short statements from CD Projekt Red.   

October 2020

CD Projekt Red pushes back the Cyberpunk 2077 release date yet again to December 10. 

Fans were confused as the developer had previously announced the game had “gone gold,” meaning it was essentially done. In a statement, CD Projekt Red said the game was completed, but there was room for improvement.

December 10

Cyberpunk 2077 finally launches.

Despite the seven-year wait and bugs still bogging down the system, fans flocked to the game. On launch day, the game broke 1 million concurrent viewers on Twitch, and received 8 million pre-orders. The game got some favorable reviews for the PC version, but the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions received much harsher critiques, with fans criticizing gaping glitches and crashes. 

Journalists were also irritated they were only given the PC version a few days before launch and were forbidden from including original gameplay footage in their reviews. 

“CD Projekt Red had nearly a decade to architect the great Cyberpunk 2077 mythos,” Cecilia D’Anastasio wrote for Wired. “Game reviewers had just a couple of days to assess it, and were hamstrung in how they could portray it.” 

CD Projekt Red issued an apology for the poor performance, and offered refunds and future patches. 

Liana Ruppert, a journalist at Game Informer with photo-sensitive epilepsy, released the most notable review with a PSA after experiencing a grand mal seizure while reviewing the game.

After criticism from epilepsy advocates about the game’s insufficient health and safety disclaimers, CD Projekt Red updated its warning and said it would work on a “more permanent solution.” 

Conclusion: Miss

CD Projekt Red overpromised and underdelivered. It purposely kept reviewers from seeing the buggy console versions of the game.

Takeaways

  1. Despite positive sales numbers, the developer was left putting out fires for frustrated fans playing a glitchy game. After seven years in development, there should have been more answers.
  2. Unlike other media, video games pose a greater economic investment, which leads to a more critical user base. Fans expect — and deserve — much better.

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