Since the fall of 2012, players have been seeing images of Cyberpunk 2077. The title reveal sparked something in players, something that piqued their interest and had them begging for more. Many players can still imagine the first image of the game that floated around the internet of a woman on her knees, mantis blades out, and bullets flying through the air as police swarmed her. Players felt the peril she was in as they witnessed the blood that darkened her white shirt. That taste had them hooked.
Fast forward to today, January 2021. News headlines across multiple platforms have gone wild about the developers being sued by investors and Sony and Microsoft handing out refunds because of the poor game quality. For over a month players couldn’t look on their favorite news sites without mention of the game. It seemed one thing after another was going wrong and CD Projekt Red had their hands full. But what happened that made the game so terrible for some and so great for others? Are gamers to blame for Cyberpunk 2077‘s poor launch and overall quality?
What Happened At Launch?
Before the launch of Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red was forced to delay the game multiple times from earlier in 2020 to almost the end of the year. Despite the constant delays, CD Projekt sounded hopeful for the launch. When launch day came, hope faded into dismay as people quickly started returning their copies that they had waited eight long years for. Despite having good reviews from companies that mentioned the great gameplay, players fell into a trap of constant glitches and bugs that made the game virtually unplayable.
Some gamers got lucky; they were able to play the game without issue, but that was only on higher-end consoles. PC, PS4, and Xbox One players all united to say that the game was a catastrophe. Reports showed that developers from the company had to put in insane amounts of overtime to get the game out when it was scheduled. This time (known as crunch time) had been going on for months before the release of the game. Some employees even mentioned that they lost family over the amount of time they had to spend working on the game. Other employees left the company because of poor conditions. Surely, this all played an important role in the creation of the game and why it was so disastrous.
The marketing for Cyberpunk 2077 was one that was filled with controversy from both employees and fans alike. When new art was released for the game, many fans argued that they shouldn’t show depictions of transgendered characters. Before the game released, over eight million people had preordered it. That large number came from the marketing team who worked tirelessly online to promote what was going to be their downfall. Their Twitter account seemed to take on a persona of sorts that clashed with gamers. Even though there was controversy, people still clung to the ideas that the team promised.
On the side of the company, they boasted about many features. They talked about an endlessly customizable world that players could wander forever. They mentioned all of the crazy customizations that players could add to their character. Even Keanu Reeves joined in. No matter what the company promised, it seemed that they were hellbent on delivering. The more promises that were made, the more the team had to work.
Did Gamers Play A Role In The Destruction?
The short answer here is yes… and no. While gamers don’t have a direct action that puts them at fault, there is more to consider here. We as a culture always want the next big thing. For some, that means that we are willing to hurt others in the process. As fans, we all have a way of influencing what goes on in games. After all, who are the companies trying to impress if it’s not us? That is why so many games end up having events. They want to draw in a fanbase. They want to show the world what their game has to offer.
What happens when gamers become impatient? Well, Cyberpunk 2077 and CDPR found out the hard way. With the constant delay of the game from April to September to November and then finally settling in December, gamers became furious. Many gamers took days off of work to enjoy a game that they expected to be amazing, but when it didn’t release on that day they took to the internet to voice their concerns. During the fall, CDPR received death threats from many sources. In return, they asked for human decency while they work on the game. Are games really worth threatening life over?
We Can All Do Better
In the instance of Cyberpunk, everyone is at fault. Lack of communication around a game that everyone had their eye on led to players feeling like they had no idea what was going on. Marketing hyped up the game and made promises that developers just couldn’t keep. Crunch time had developers on their last limb. One former employee even brought money to the table when they stated “The owners treat the company as a machine to earn money, and do not see employees as people but more like data in the table.”
The moral of the story is that everyone needs to do better. Developers are people too, and need to be treated with dignity from the company they work for and the gamers they try so hard to please. Everyone should remember that their actions have consequences. It doesn’t matter if it is death threats or laying down the fear of losing a job from the company they work for, developers are the most important members of the team.