It has been over a month now since the release of CD Projekt Red’s Cyberpunk 2077. While some iterations of the game have earned rave reviews, the PS4 and Xbox One versions have fallen woefully short of expectations built up over almost a decade since the game’s reveal in 2013.
In the aftermath of these events, the internet naturally lost its collective mind. Gamers were outraged and disappointed in equal measure, with lawsuits filed against CDPR as a direct result of the poor state of the game at release. While the game runs perfectly on next-gen consoles and higher-end PCs, the wider release has been a sorry affair.
This raises an interesting question: is CD Projekt Red solely at fault for this calamity or are fans to blame for their unrealistic and, at times, contradictory expectations of game developers? Cyberpunk 2077 was delayed three times until it was finally released in December 2020 much to the chagrin of fans everywhere. Most were unforgiving and unwilling to show any patience, desperate in their need to get their hands on CDPR’s magnum opus.
It seems largely unfair then, that the developers should suffer such a torrent of abuse and complaints about a game that fans have labelled unfinished after prior complains that the game had been in development for too long a time. It would seem CDPR are in a lose-lose situation. Doomed to either release an unfinished game, or anger the gaming world with more delays.
With that being said, CDPR is not entirely innocent in this mess and it would have been far wiser for them to be more honest about the game’s performance, especially to avoid any legal issues with their investors. Game developers in the past have notoriously oversold their games to audiences to boost pre-order sales and at times outright lie to consumers about the state of their games.
Games such as Aliens: Colonial Marines and Destiny have been panned in the past decade for releases that were botched gloriously after being built up, much like those of Cyberpunk 2077’s, through years of hype and marketing.
However, in defence of CDPR, neither of the aforementioned games had the level of excitement that Cyberpunk did, neither had fans or even passively interested gamers excited in the way they were for Cyberpunk. So when the developer was forced to push back the release of the game several times in 2020, fans were outraged and pressured the studio into promising a December 10th release date.
Is it any wonder then, that this pressure took its toll and led to a game which was broken on multiple consoles? And is it fair to blame them for releasing a broken game after being put under so much pressure by fans and the media?
While I sympathise with players using older systems, there are still a number of players out there enjoying Cyberpunk 2077 for what it is, an excellent, sprawling RPG that is truly impressive on next-gen consoles. So should we show so much hate for the studio? To return to my earlier question, the answer is no. I do not believe that CDPR are entirely at fault for the mess they are in.
Gamers have to shoulder some of the responsibility in this situation. If we were not so desperate and hell-bent on getting our hands on the game and waiting until 2021 then the game might have had a sturdier release. This ugly chapter in a chapter in CD Projekt Red’s history should be a lesson to all of us. To teach us gamers that patience is a virtue and to teach developers to show some humility when promoting their product.