“Good Morning Night City!” blasts across the screen as you’re instantly transported to the world of Cyberpunk 2077, a world much like our own, but set in a dystopian universe filled with cybernetic technologies and raging class warfare.
The world of Cyberpunk was first introduced through the tabletop game of the same name in 1988. This spawned a successful media franchise and created a whole subgenre of its own. Naturally, the series had huge potential to become a hit RPG-style game. And so, Cyberpunk 2077 was born.
Cyberpunk 2077 is an action role-playing game developed by the studio CD Projekt Red, the same company behind the popular The Witcher series. In Cyberpunk 2077, you take the role of your own customized character, named V, as you navigate the futuristic world of Night City. As V, you go on various missions, engaging in versatile combat while also increasing your hacking skills to progress the story. With a special appearance by Canadian actor Keanu Reeves, gamers salivated at what was sure to be a hit game.
The game was first announced eight years ago in 2012. Like other game announcements, many knew that it would be years before they’d see any gameplay or official trailers. Now, eight years and numerous delays later, the game has finally been released for both major consoles and PC.
Curiously, CD Projekt Red did not allow reviewers to share footage of their own gameplay; instead, the company forced them to use the studio’s sample footage when assessing the game. While that was a little suspect, the excitement over the game’s release clouded any reservations that the Cyberpunk 2077 would disappoint.
While reviews have been relatively solid in terms of gameplay and story, the bugs have been a source of criticism. Some reports indicate that the bugs do not entirely detract from the experience. For others, it’s been the exact opposite. Bugs like disappearing NPCs, walking through solid objects and missing pants, while humorous, do make gamers question how polished the game was for launch.
While bugs are always expected with any ambitious title, CD Projekt Red announced several patches that would aim to fix the bugs. Again, no one batted an eye.
Gamers playing Cyberpunk 2077 on high-end PCs or next-gen consoles have reported smooth gameplay with a few minor bugs. Gamers on last-gen consoles, however, are having a whole different experience.
Gamers on PS4 or Xbox One have reported corrupted save files, numerous system crashes and severe game-breaking glitches. Many took to social media to voice their concerns by posting screenshots and videos of their glitchy copies of the game. This is when many began to speculate the real reason behind why CD Projekt Red was so adamant about forcing reviewers to use their provided footage: The game ran horribly on last-gen consoles.
And I don’t mean just a few glitches here and there; they would literally force the console to crash. This essentially made Cyberpunk 2077 unplayable for last-gen console users. It was especially exasperating because the game was announced back in 2012, right before the PS4 and Xbox One generations even released. The fact that a game isn’t running well on the systems it was initially developed for is a tad bit embarrassing.
As fans took to social media to voice their complaints and demand refunds, CD Projekt Red seemed to redirect the outrage. Gamers struggled to get full refunds on the game, particularly through Sony’s PlayStation store. In what seemed like a disrespectful move, CD Projekt Red told gamers to contact Sony directly about refunds. The corporate giant didn’t take too lightly to that announcement.
In response, Sony swiftly announced that anyone who requests a refund will get one and that the game would be taken off the online store until further notice. This news rocked the gaming world, as no game had ever been removed from the PlayStation store for being glitchy and uncooperative.
The move was interpreted as a warning to CD Projekt Red and any future game studios trying to deflect any sort of blame for their failure. This begs the question, does CD Projekt Red deserve all the criticism?
The answer is a little complex. On the one hand, the developers and actual makers of the game deserve praise for taking on such an ambitious project. On the other, it’s all a business, and oftentimes developers are pressed to please investors and shareholders. This is what most likely motivated the game’s rushed release.
But at the same time, a huge reason for the big letdown is the massive hype surrounding Cyberpunk 2077. When something as hyped as this game flops, it is bound to disappoint. Lots of famous titles aren’t perfect upon release, such as The Witcher 3 and The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. As long as gamers are patient and give the developers time to fix the game, then everyone will be cruising around Night City and exploring the world of Cyberpunk 2077 in due time.