State of the Union: Cyberpunk 2077

A shocking yet fitting end (?) to the 2020 arc.

I’m going to preface this by saying I have to yet to play this game, and I don’t think I will play it any time soon.

Ah Cyberpunk 2077. The phenomena that was introduced to us what feels like forever ago. You’re probably wondering what’s going to happen in this post, and to be honest, I forget how I usually execute these posts.

**think think think** Got it!

State of the Unions. I’ve done a couple of these in the past. The basic format goes as I talk about the game before, during, and post release.

I’m going to be as unbiased as possible, but my feelings may crack through.

Let’s go samurai.

We’ve have a city to burn.

The Lead-Up

Believe it or not, Cyberpunk 2077 was revealed in May 2012 (!!!). Developer CD Projekt Red approached the writer of the Cyberpunk board game, Mike Pondsmith, in order to collaborate on this project. It took them six months to strike a deal, and one he seemed very passionate about looking back at this interview from 2013. Following this interview, the first teaser trailer dropped showing the futuristic aspect Cyberpunk is based off of.

After these dropped, the game went dark. I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything fall off the face of the planet for such extended periods of time like Cyberpunk 2077. It doesn’t help CDPR was working on The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which would go on to be one of the most critically acclaimed games off of all time. Not sure if you’ve ever heard of it, I haven’t.

The little bits of information that would come out range from details such as the world would be bigger than The Witcher 3’s world, that the game would be shorter narrative wise than The Witcher 3 because there were complaints over the latter’s length in 2015, or The Witcher 3’s team would be moving on to work on Cyberpunk 2077 also in 2015.

The next big piece wouldn’t drop until E3 2018 when we got a new trailer followed by a gameplay walk through.

I honestly don’t remember any of this, but I know the gameplay looked good. It looked like Deus Ex meets Fallout and they blended them together to make something unique. Of course gameplay reveals aren’t always as smooth as you want them to go as gamers worldwide took issue to the first person gameplay. Makes sense after The Witcher was an entirely third person experience.

E3 seemed to be Cyberpunk’s safe haven as they made an appearance in 2019 albeit much splashier. Keanu Reeves, John Wick himself, would be shown as in game character, which he would later come out to talk about on the E3 stage. Not going to lie, it was pretty damn cool.

He’s breathtaking.

On top of that, we finally got a reveal date of April 16, 2020.

Nice right?

Well yes and no. Before Keanu broke the internet, reports of crunch and intense work conditions started to surface which is far from ideal when you think about the game’s development. At this point, it’s been 7 years since it was revealed, and crunch is starting to surface?

Side note, crunch isn’t something new to the industry, and to paraphrase it for the non initiated, crunch is just working extra hard to put out a product by a certain time frame. This translates to longer work hours, less vacation time, weekends spent in the office toiling away to meet a deadline. Rockstar has been notorious for this with the Red Dead series being brought up a multitude of times, Naughty Dog has as well, and heck you could even say Call of Duty is in the same boat the way they churn out games. It’s natural, but not acceptable at any cost.

End side note, the problem here is that the game had been in development for 7 years at this point, and there was a multiplayer mode being introduced later on down the line also. Remember this as we move forward.

Skip to 2020. The game experienced it’s first delay first from April 2020 to September 2020. Multiplayer mode also received a huge delay moving from 2021 to 2022. The bright side of 2020 was that members of the press managed to play parts of the game early and reception was positive with the customization options being heavily praised. The second delay came around June and slated the game for a November release. It wasn’t ready yet. The final delay came in October with December 10th being the “release date” set to hit PS4, Xbox One, Google Stadia (lol) and Windows PC. Next generation would be available through backwards compatibility and 2021 would bring the next gen patches.

I could’ve made this section much longer, but I figured I shouldn’t. The main takeaways from this section are crunch and ambition/legacy. The game’s prolonged development cycle turned it into a sort of second coming: a cult legend if you will. People thought this would be the best thing to ever happen to the gaming industry especially after CDPR’s The Witcher 3.

It’s almost December 9th and we’ve got a city to burn down samurai.

Release

Skill Up, who I aspire to be like, gave us a warning. As reviews started rolling in for Cyberpunk, we were being made aware that a) no console codes were being given out and b) reviewers had to use trailer footage in their reviews. Two huge red flags pre-launch with the game set to be playable in mere hours.

Every review you saw leading up to launch was based off of PC builds. Weird.

Fast forward to December 9th.

Cyberpunk 2077 blew up on all platforms as players started getting their hands on it. It took over Twitch with everyone streaming it, it was all over YouTube, every video game related commercial/tweet. Everywhere.

Shout out Shroud for carrying.

The game to end all games finally arrived, and CDPR got to finally relax and watch the fireworks.

Post Launch

I don’t remember how, but over the course of the next few days, Skill Up’s tweet started to manifest itself in a such a shockingly ugly manner. I don’t think we’ve ever seen something like this in gaming history… well maybe second to Star Wars: Battlefront 2‘s “pride and accomplishment” comment. I guess Anthem, Marvel’s Avengers, and Fallout 76 were pretty bad too.

PS4/Xbox One gameplay started to surface, and it was atrocious. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything as insane as this: frequent crashes, polygons instead of characters, frames taking forever to load. It was bad, and I garnered that info from me just looking at other peoples tweets and screenshots.

You thought that was bad? It only gets worse as within days of launch, console users took matters into their own hands. CDPR stock started to fall as last gen users started to tank Cyberpunk 2077’s scores. They remained speechless during the opening launch days until December 14th when they took the time to issue an apology.

This came from their Twitter, and it kind of broke the internet. You’re telling me the company that made one of most critically acclaimed titles of all time pushed out something like this? The biggest thing is the amount of distrust CDPR created when they released the title. Post launch they’ve offered a way for gamers to get their money back through full refunds. Nice of them right?

Well it doesn’t stop there samurai.

Open Critic had a field day.

Sony stepped up, pulled the game down from the PlayStation store and began offering full refunds for the title.

Holy crap.

Not even the other buggy messy titles experienced something like this.

Insert personal holiday break.

I started writing this a month ago, and I decided to take a break for a bit to see how CDPR handled the game post release into the beginning of 2021. Since the beginning of January, they’re released a roadmap detailing what to expect from the game and a very awkward ransom, I mean, apology video detailing the debacle.

Regardless, they’re trying, but they have a lot of work to go through and like the roadmap suggests, this game could be receiving patches and updates through 2022 with the game being released December 2020.

I feel like there was something else I wanted to mention, but that’s all I have. I feel bad since this game had a ton of promise, but the execution was far from it.

If you’re enjoying the game, let me know in the comments below!


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