When Cyberpunk 2077 was released in 2020, it wasn’t exactly an easy release. After a lot of hard work by the developers of the Polish CD Projekt Red, the game was still full of bugs and was practically unplayable on consoles. The studio even had to refund disgruntled gamers. The game is now thoroughly polished and thanks to the successful Netflix series Cyberpunk Edgerunners, it is still enjoying the popularity it deserves.
It’s been talked about since 2014: Cyberpunk 2077. Initially, CD Projekt Red didn’t reveal much about it, but eventually even Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves was brought in to hype it up as much as possible. The promise was: an all-new game from a much-loved studio (the studio behind The Witcher), set in a world similar to the one we know from Bladerunner. Cyberpunk: A new world where mechanics are becoming more important and where people are perhaps more isolated than ever.
The trailers looked good and many gamers found it hard to wait for the release. In the end, it turned out not to go smoothly. The game appeared after delays – and even death threats against the studio – but it was riddled with bugs. It wasn’t just because of impatience: the studio didn’t deal very well with stereotyping, and some employees expressed themselves as rather gay. Plus: the studio promised never to go for crunchtime, but this is what it turned out: developers had to work 6 days a week before the game came out.
CD Project Red
Despite all the work and trouble, what finally emerged was disaster. Game journalists who wanted to review the game on console didn’t even get a review code. After release, it soon became clear how this happened: the game was running fine on PC, but it was a drama on console. The game was broken all around: unplayable. It crashed, it melted, it sometimes couldn’t complete missions due to technical problems. Even Sony has decided to remove the game from the PlayStation Store and people can request a refund from CD Projekt Red. Dramatic, because the listed company also had to face lawsuits by investors.
In recent years, a lot of work has been done to make the game more playable. However, there is something else that really got the game back on track, namely the new anime series on Netflix. This Japanese form of animation is very popular on Netflix anyway, but the Cyberpunk Edgerunners series has got people hooked on TV not only for the series, but also for the gaming. One by one Cyberpunk 2077 has been downloaded and it also has downloadable content that is dedicated to the anime. Suddenly 100,000 people are playing Cyberpunk at the same time on PC. It is now about 1 million (!) per day.
It’s emotional for those who have worked so hard on the game. Those who have suffered and who have had to struggle a lot with themselves, with their work and with their love for the profession. Game director Powell Sasco put it nicely last week: “It’s hard to explain when you put so much love and work into something. For some of us it takes 6, 7 sometimes even 8 years. To have this moment right now, when people love what we’ve created, feels a little surreal. That man finally appreciates. It breaks our hearts, but it’s great to be back.”
Welcome back, CD Projekt Red. At the moment it is already working on the next games, including a new Witcher game.
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