Cyberpunk 2077 is now available for around a week and a real drama is going on around the release of the title. It is criticized, defended, praised, hated, exchanged and exchanged refused, played despite bugs, enjoyed on the PC, cursed on the consoles - and everything culminated in the fact that Sony officially removed the game from its store due to the clarity of the quality defects so to facilitate the refunds in consultation with CDPR. Chaos was preprogrammed: CD Projekt Red had put itself in a position from which there was no escape.
- a comment by André Volkmann
The final development phase of Cyberpunk 2077 has not been under a good star for a long time. Postponements, the dreaded and much-criticized crunch - for the release on December 10th, the action RPG had to be played. Was it brave to launch Cyberpunk 2077 at the beginning of the month? No. It would have been brave to postpone the game one more time and therefore possibly endure a shitstorm that one experiences twice and three times after the now unsuccessful release. To put it another way: Is it brave if a hero confronts ten twelve-headed giant snakes at the same time?
Cyberpunk 2077: Full steam ahead in the shit
The shareholders of CD Projekt Red are currently making quasi-losses, the share has plummeted after the problems of the action role-playing game became known and the critical voices became louder. This is now being realized in losses of billions for the founders of the company, analysts from Bloomberg speak of around one billion US dollars. Although a slight recovery in the share is currently visible, the chart image is symbolic of the unsuccessful launch that CD Projekt Red conjured up itself, so to speak.
Cyberpunk 4 is a disaster, especially on the last-gen consoles Xbox One and Playstation 2077: Muddy textures, textures that do not load, bugs, glitches, regular crashes - there are many things that fans rightly criticize about the role-playing game at the moment. On the current-gen consoles, at least the performance problems are intercepted, the game runs more smoothly, but still anything but “smooth”. Soft, silky and pretty are currently only available for PC gamers, and that's exactly where the problem lies.
Not that you don't want the owners of expensive gaming computers, on the contrary: If you pump thousands of euros into a calculating machine, you should also be able to enjoy a great gaming experience. Who “only” owns a Playstation 4 or Xbox One, of course, had to reckon with the fact that Cyberpunk 2077 would look different on the screen, maybe even play differently - that is, less smoothly and silky. However, the prerequisite for this experience is that you can play a game at all - and there is a huge problem. Encouraged by months of marketing talk, CD Projekt Red had earned advance praise and millions of advance orders. Fired on by months of marketing talk, the image of a perfect role-playing game had been created in the minds of the players. And if even Keanu Reeves has more TV advertising minutes in the start week than the Parship actors, then Cyberpunk 2077 simply has to be the big hit.
Reality now shows: It wasn't. At least not on all platforms. Potential problems could have been communicated in advance of the release, perhaps through the flower of any difficulties that console gamers can expect. It was - presumably quite deliberately - avoided. Instead, well-known magazines fueled sales with terrific tests of the PC version. There weren't any reviews of the console version, CD Projekt Red simply didn't distribute any keys. Serious?
It almost seems as if the games press has been instrumentalized. If critics had been able to publish reviews of the console version of Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red would probably have had to face an uncomfortable truth: The development status on last-gen consoles is not that far.
Now one could ask: Who is still interested in last-gen consoles? In the transition period between two generations of consoles, millions of fans are showing interest! Many are still waiting for their Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X, for others the new models are still too expensive - and anyway: There is still no next-gen version of Cyberpunk 2077. The action role-playing game should therefore have been developed in a much more focused manner for PS4 and Xbox One, so that the great disaster cannot happen at all. The really large target group was simply ignored. And if even the otherwise rather staid Tagesschau is dedicated to the topic of “Gaming, Sony and Cyberpunk”, then something must have gone wrong.
And among online retailers, the Collector's Edition of the Playstation 4 version is being advertised with statements from specialist magazines that hardly fit this version: “It looks incredible”, “May be the best video game ever made” or still better: “Incredible amount of detail”. Anyone who looked all the ghost faces of the PS4 version in the face and saw nothing more than ... nothing ... should shake their head at this brazen use of the quotes. And of course you don't bother to create a different, less superlative banner for the last-gen versions: Truth is the opposite of marketing. And the opposite of marketing doesn't sell games.
CD Projekt Red has received numerous praise for its terrific marketing in the past few months. It's just stupid if you can't keep what you've promised. It's not even the lack of trust in the developers' abilities. After the releases of The Witcher titles, it was clear to everyone: Cyberpunk 2077 will also be a hit! One would have liked to have waited another weeks or months for the game, accepted another short-term postponement, just to be able to celebrate the developers as they actually deserved it. Instead, the community is divided into several camps: PC gamers celebrate the game, last-gen owners are annoyed about their 70-euro investment - and current-gen fans are somewhere in between because they play Cyberpunk 2077, but actually but wait for the optimized console sockets. And what do the Konsoleros do now? They feel pretty pissed off at the moment. If Cyberpunk 2077 weren't Cyberpunk 2077 and CD Projekt Red wasn't CD Projekt Red, one would have long since shouted: That's not how you treat customers!
Almost even more annoying: The premature release now leads to the opposite of appreciation for the work of the developers at CD Projekt Red. One would like to celebrate and say thank you for the “crunch”, but one is too busy with the criticism that comes up that you can't escape, that you don't really want to practice, but have to, so that something like this doesn't happen again in the future. And when you write these lines you almost have a guilty conscience: Ubisoft, Electronic Arts or Square Enix - all of them can be publicly and excessively criticized for their “failures” in the games industry. But you can't blame CD Projekt Red, you get the feeling.