Cyberpunk 2077 - Controversies
I think that it would not be an understatement to say that Cyberpunk 2077 was the most anticipated game of 2020. The release date had been pushed back numerous times. Players were disappointed every time that it was delayed. I for one, was very excited for it. I always told myself that I wanted this to be one of the first games that I would play on the XBOX Series X. I just knew that it would probably run better on the latest and greatest console.
In case that you were not aware, Cyberpunk 2077 was created by the same team that developed the Witcher III. Some would say that The Witcher III: Wild Hunt was one of, or the best game of the last generation.
Cyberpunk 2077 has been in development since about 2013, so they had time to plan things and make sure that things were going to be great. There was no reason to think otherwise.
The marketing for Cyberpunk was also in full force. They created special console editions, merchandise and even are part of the Death Stranding game. Although, that one is surprising as as far as I know it is only available on PC.
So after all that the excitement was pretty high.
The game was actually released on December 10th, 2020. I think the internet broke down because everyone was downloading it.
Unfortunately, the game hit some snags. Upon its release, there were reported of many bugs especially on the base console models of the last generations (Playstation 4 and XBOX One). There were also reports of frame rate issues on lower end machines.
For the most part reviews came out about Cyberpunk 2077 and they were mostly positive. These were mostly reviewed on PC as these were the review codes that were sent out to reviewers. However there were many criticisms as the embargo or NDA (Non Disclosure Agreements) were very strict. Reviewers could not just release the footage they wanted. Once this was known, it did not sit well with players.
Then, different outlets started playing the game and consoles and that is where all the negative press mostly started. Reviewers were saying the game ran like garbage on older consoles. Players let their feelings known that they were deceived by CD Projekt Red.
The backlash led to a few things happening. First, since its release, there have been numerous patches fixing mostly the game breaking bugs that would hinder one's progress and not allow the player to move forward.
To add insult to injury, it was reported that parts of the game uses the same flashing colours as ones used to induce seizures. CD Projekt Red has kind of addressed this by saying that they will make it clearer that this could happen.
In addition to the above, Playstation decided to remove the game from its PSN store and offered refunds to everyone that wanted one. Microsoft did not go as far, but still are offering refunds for a longer period than their normal terms of service.
To say that the company has been on damage control would be an understatement. They gave a press release pretty much apologizing and advising that they would give refunds to players that wanted to, through their website. However, this was only available until December 21st, 2020. Not sure what happens after that.
However, even after all of that, sales were pretty good. This is from the Cyberpunk 2077 Wikipedia page:
Cyberpunk 2077 received 8 million pre-orders on all platforms, of which 74% were digital, and it received more pre-orders than The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, one third of PC sales were through GOG.com. It was a best-seller on Steam in China. CD Projekt Red has stated that digital preorders for the title alone recouped the game's production cost as well as the game's 2020 marketing cost. According to a CD Projekt investors call, sales saw a drastic decline four days after release owing to the technical issues present. As of 20 December 2020, the game sold over 13 million copies.
Within twelve hours after its release, the game had over one million concurrent players on Steam.The PlayStation 4 version of Cyberpunk 2077 sold an estimated 104,600 physical copies during its debut week in Japan, making it the second highest selling retail game of the week in the country
I am sure that I am missing some things but in the end what this means is that there were issues at launch.
Here are my thoughts on the matter. I admit that these views may not flow with the narrative that everyone is complaining about.
First of all, before I get into the details, I want to say that CD Projekt Red screwed up pretty badly. It is almost as bad as the Fallout 76 launch. At least CD Projekt Red has addressed the issues for the most part. However, it will take years for them to regain the trust of the public.
Having said that, I also find some players and reviewers had knee jerk reactions that I think is a little over the top. Let me explain.
A lot of players had pre-ordered the game. Some of them almost over a year ago when it was first announced that pre-orders were available. Everyone, knows what the dangers are of pre-ordering. Yes, the player may get some perks for ordering early, but nowadays, AAA games always have bugs upon release. Just look at games released recently, Spiderman: Miles Morales, Assassin's Creed Valhalla, Call of Duty: Black Ops and now Cyberpunk 2077. Every AAA game has had patches roll out either upon day 1 of release or in the first week. So this is to be expected as it has been the case for at least the last 5 years.
I understand that this was an anticipated game but waiting a little would not hurt anyone. I know I may sound like a hypocrite as I bought Assassin's Creed Valhalla to play upon release. The reason for this is that I wanted to play a new game on my XBOX Series X. Technically, I did not need to, but it is a franchise that I wanted to play. All things considered the game has been playing pretty well until now. I am about 50 hours in.
I have been on Facebook gaming pages notably IGN and the comments that I found are a little too negative for my taste. Some people seem to just be raving mad. Like CD Projekt Red is utter garbage and they should be sued and banned. I understand where the frustration comes from, but not sure that is a proper way to approach things.
We can all agree that video games are a distraction like movies are. If a movie has a bad opening weekend and is controversial, people usually are not going to sue the movie company. It is just that in the end, the movie studio has tarnished their reputation and that technically will hinder them long term. Here, it is the same story.
A lot of players are mad that the game runs sluggish on older consoles. I said this before all this started on my Twitch streams. Even though they advertised that the game would play on the older generation of consoles, I said that it would run like poop. The reason that I had said this is that my base XBOX One machine and my XBOX One S machine could barely run the later games in the cycle. I had trouble running Gears 5, The Outer Worlds, and Assassin's Creed Odyssey just to name a few. For me it was expected, but I guess people did not want to see the obvious and just thought things would run smoothly. The XBOX One base model is the least powerful of all the last generation consoles.
Players that have played it on PC, XBOX Series X or Playstation 5, have all enjoyed the game with few issues. There are glitches but not to the extent of the PS4 and XBOX One. A lot of the players are enjoying the game very much.
I agree that CD Projekt Red had some shady practices in terms of how they handled the release. As expected they got the backlash and that is that. People will forget about it in 6 months time. The game still sold solidly all around the world.
They wanted the best version of the game to be reviewed. I agree that they should have given reviewers access codes to lower end consoles to review as well. However, are they the first gaming company to give the best version to review? I am sure there are other developers and publishers that have done the same thing in the past. The only difference is that CD Projekt Red got caught and they looked really bad in the process.
Are there lessons to be learned here? Yep there is and I hope that other publishers and developers are taking note. However, for me, I will not be asking for a refund as I already paid for the game. I will probably just play it later in the year when things have calmed down. Patches will be rolled out and things will run better. I do not expect the game to ever run properly on older consoles. My suggestion would be to get it on PC or new consoles. If you do not have the hardware then just forget it and move on to the next game.
What do you think? Let us know below.