CyberPunk 2077 was released on the 10th of December 2020, eight years after it was first announced. So after all that development time, how did it all go so wrong?
In May 2012, CD Projekt Red announced their next large-scale project had begun development, with the first trailers dropping in January 2013, showcasing an action-packed RPG set in the CyberPunk world of Night City. The public were drip-fed trailers and information about the hugely ambitious open-world game with more trailers released at E3 both in 2018 and 2019.
As more details continued to surface, we learned that the game would be played through the eyes of a customizable character called V, in the first person. After the hype train gathered momentum for so many years, most people knew the finished product would never be able to live up to what the public was expecting. But it was still a shock to many when the game was released in such an unfinished and buggy state, a decision that will likely haunt the studio for many years to come.
Bugs, Glitches, and Hard Crashes
The first and most obvious thing when asking ‘how did it all go wrong for the highly anticipated game’ is the state it was released in. On high end PC’s (which is what the game should exclusively have been released on) it runs great, with only the occasional minor, and sometimes comical glitches that we have come to expect from any new release these days. On next gen consoles – the PS5 and the Xbox Series X – it is a product plagued by bugs and game breaking glitches, but on last-gen consoles – the PS4 and Xbox One – it is borderline unplayable.
This is not something that we would say lightly. This is not just the occasional, forgivable glitch (or even crash) here and there, but full-blown game-breaking bugs and broken systems. Public outrage was so great that within a matter of weeks Sony was forced to remove the entire game from the PS Store and issue refunds to people that had already bought it. This is completely unheard of for a AAA title, and came as a massive blow to people that were fans of their excellent previous game, The Witcher 3.
The bugs and glitches plaguing this game go from T – posing characters (even in cars and on motorbikes!), invisible NPC’s and clothing randomly disappearing from the character’s body, to more game-breaking issues like corrupted save files, missing inventory, quests not starting or getting stuck, and sound bugs. Some of the worst bugs experienced by users are the complete loss of textures or very slow rendering, to falling through the roads or up into the sky for no reason. A user-reported list of known issues can be found here.
The thing that stings the most for many that bought CyberPunk 2077 on base consoles is the fact that CD Projekt Red must have known they were green-lighting an incomplete product before allowing it to go on sale. Just as bad is the fact that Sony even allowed it to be on the PS Store in the first place in the condition it was released in, as they have to test each and every product and give it their approval before it is listed.
Was CyberPunk 2077 Rushed? What Could CD Projekt Red Have Done to Prevent This?
Despite the many years that CyberPunk 2077 spent in development there is no doubt that the finished product was rushed onto sale in time for christmas. There is no way anyone in the right mind could think that it is acceptable to pay $60+ dollars for a AAA title in 2020 only to end up having it hard-crashing your console and running like it’s being powered by a potato.
It was likely ready for release on PC, although the PC version does not escape all of the issues, with one of the worst (only recently patched) was a bug that would cause your save to corrupt or take you back to the wrong place when reloaded. What could CD Projekt Red have done to avoid this PR nightmare? Simple: delay the game (again). Yes, the game had already been delayed multiple times, and yes, the public would not be happy with the announcement of another delay, but it desperately needed it, as proven by the fact it has already been removed from sale on the PS Store. CyberPunk 2077 was clearly designed with PC and next-gen consoles in mind, with last-gen consoles being tacked on as an afterthought. In my opinion, it should never have been released on PS4, or Xbox One.
Is It Really As Bad As It Sounds? What Are Other People Saying?
You only have to go as far as Metacritic to see what other people have to say on the subject.
Reviews were only sent out PC copies pre-release, and not one copy for either PS or Xbox was provided to review. This was highly suspicious from the get-go. And then, even the reviewers who were sent copies of the PC version were only allowed to talk about the game over footage already provided by CD Projekt Red, which should have been an even bigger red flag.
In this day and age, with games such as GTA V (which is still going strong after seven years) and the recently released Ghost of Tsushima (an excellent title to see the current-gen out), releasing a game in the state that CyberPunk 2077 was in at launch is completely inexcusable and is such a fall from grace for fans of the Witcher 3. It is a sad example of how a game can overpromise and underdeliver.
Our verdict: Stay away. At least until the game has been properly fixed, and likely on sale.