The Controversy and Chaos Behind CD Projekt's Cyberpunk 2077 Release
Cyberpunk 2077 is arguably one of the biggest game releases of this year. It had several years of hype and fanfare behind it, its developer had won a lot of goodwill with the impressive action RPG The Witcher 3, and the game was quite a looker to boot. Here we are roughly a week after release, however, and everything's looking pretty bad for developer CD Projekt Red. How did we get here, and what exactly's been going on? As with most developing stories, there are a lot of layers to this one, as a lot's been happening on numerous fronts. Let's start with a simple recap of everything that happened after the game's official launch.
Cyberpunk launched on the 10th of December this year for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One (as well as Stadia). While the PC version was met with praise for its graphical fidelity and performance, the console versions suffered from a variety of bugs and performance issues, ranging from fairly harmless to near game-breaking. It didn't take long for the Internet to be flooded with screenshots and videos of these problems, leading to many players requesting ways to refund the purchase. CD Projekt didn't appear to anticipate this, as they responded by telling players they could refund their games digitally and physically at their respective online stores and retailers. Players went to do this, but quickly found these companies weren't taking refunds for various reasons. Cue even more backlash and anger from both the player base and CD Projekt's partner sellers for the miscommunication.
It's gotten so bad in recent days that just yesterday Sony decided to pull the game entirely from the PS4 page. This was apparently due to a decision reached by both Sony and CD Projekt, according to the latter in a recent statement. Updates to the PS4 version will still be made regardless, and CD Projekt intends to put the game back on the PSN store as soon as they can. There hasn't been any word yet on what Microsoft will do either. Meanwhile, during all of this chaos, CD Projekt issued a formal apology to everyone for the misleading marketing. All promotional material of the game was using either the PC version or the still-in-development PS5/XSX versions, leaving the curtain closed over the last-gen versions until release. Needless to say, CD Projekt hasn't been looking to good in the public spotlight these days.
This wasn't helped by a recent incident involving the first-person horror game Devotion either. The game was famously pulled from Steam for containing a joke about Xi Jinping, which has made it impossible to buy and play. It was going to be re-released on CD Projekt's very own GOG online store the other day, but the very same day it was supposed to launch, CD Projekt walked back on the decision. According to them, it was due to receiving "many messages from gamers", which came off as a bit of vague reasoning. Devotion's developers Red Candle Games later released a statement that while they're upset about it being walked back, they respect CD Projekt's decision and will keep trying other avenues. As of this writing, all of these situations (Cyberpunk, Devotion) are still developing. It's hard to say what will happen with both Cyberpunk and CD Projekt going forward. There's no doubt the last-gen ports of the game will be optimized in due time, and there's always the next-gen versions in 2021, but the whole situation really paints a picture of bad decisions, rushed releasing, and the unfortunate nature of things like crunch.