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THE RISE AND FALL OF CYBERPUNK 2077, AND WHAT THIS TEACHES

A promise 7 years in the making, has lost its light  

“Cyberpunk’s art style” — via CD Projekt Red

By Jacobo Rodriguez Solana 

May. 21, 2021

The gaming industry has seen a rise in popularity in recent years, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic; since a lot of people are staying at their house and getting quarantined from their outside world, they immerse into this one.

This has spiked the charts of online users in the popular gaming platform Steam. The users in 2019 peaked around 95 million, but in 2020, that number got up to 120 million.  

As the pandemic continued, the majority of the studios opted to have a home office approach; one of these studios was CD Projekt Red, who has achieved a legendary status in the videogame industry for its past work.

Among these projects, we have the acclaimed series “The Witcher”, whose third entry received the award of The Game of the Year in 2015.

Following that massive success, CD Projekt Red set their eyes on another Independent Project, Cyberpunk 2077.

This game had been in development since 2012, with a lot of hype for the unique visual artstyle, having an original blend between the Futuristic and Punk movements, fusing in a pleasing design experience.

Despite these advances in the design of the game, CD Projekt Red took 7 years in order to have a “finished” product.

The Start

The first trailer was launched on the 10th of January of 2013, which portrayed a really exciting insight into the Cyberpunk universe. However, the long wait turned into something tedious. To put into perspective, a Youtube comment in the teaser trailer reads: “I started college, graduated, got married, had a family, and the game hasn’t come out yet”. 

But let’s center on the present, 7 years later, Cyberpunk came out half baked, due to the pressure of the fans and the hierarchs of CD Projekt Red. The game, in the words of the developers “Should have stayed a lot more time in the oven”.

What happened?

False advertising is what the majority of fans of CD Projekt Red are pointing fingers at, they have spotted a lot of discrepancies between what was promised in the trailers, and what the community got in return. A lack of detail in the game, such as: Game breaking bugs, character models not doing what was intended, and an overall downgrade from what was shown in the trailers.

Due to the disappointing release, some have even sued the Polish company for “Misleading investors on the state of Cyberpunk’s console release.”

“CD Projekt Red’s stocks after Cyberpunk’s 2077 release” – via Marketplacewatch.com

What followed this claim also makes sense in the eyes of the community, the date of release, the 10th of December of 2020.

It is no secret that the main goal of every company is to make a profit, which makes sense in the market, however, what CD Projekt Red did was to release an unfinished game to the audience, just to make the Christmas headline, and have a successful launch.

The problem is that this decision was not a mistake, they knew what state the game was in, and chose to release it anyways. The hierarchs squeezed the developers as much as they could to make the investors happy, and stop losing money at the Wall Street index. The point is that the version of Cyberpunk that was promised, and the one that was released on December the 10th, are two completely different things.

A beacon of light 

When the game runs as it is supposed to, Cyberpunk’s graphics, setting, and style it’s unbeatable. Night City is just breathtaking, as well as every location, it doesn’t matter if it’s a back alley, marketplace, or  even downtown,the game is full of detail.

CD Projekt Red crafted even an inside culture, with some slang terms, as well as an extensive and interesting lore to keep you entertained.

The problem with that is that Cyberpunk is only amusing from the outside, these upsides don’t serve the gameplay, “there is a lot to see, but not much to do”. 

“World detail in Cyberpunk 2077” – via CD Projekt Red

In a world that has so many stories to tell, including the more than 200 missions, some with compelling things to do, you just don’t feel immersed in the game because of some decisions made in the production, such as having an strict first person perspective, this impacting in the connection you feel with the protagonist.

A lack of exciting characters, which promise so much, but fall flat in how you, as the player, interact with others.

Mechanics that vanish after using them for the first time, one example of this is the usage of vehicles, which you use, only to leave them behind once the mission ends.

As well as the overall lack of stories that you will remember, introducing boring characters, presenting us with plots that you can easily forget, as these are normally extremely short, or don’t impact you, as the player a whole lot.

Hope for the future

In recent days, a new patch to the game has been released, which fixed a lot of bugs that the consoles had, in regards to game breaking patches that those editions of the game had. It’s an improvement, but not the fix that would return Cyberpunk to the hype giant that it was a couple of months ago.

Cyberpunk has so much potential, but for now, it feels like an ocean wide concept, but with a puddle deep in the experience.

What gives hope in the gaming community is the possible comeback of Cyberpunk in the long run, this amazing idea that just failed to please an eager community waiting for a change. 

What does this story teach us? That the industry is rotten from the inside, some only wanting to search for money, rather than pleasing the fans of the series.

Some games can stand the test of time, while others are better left to abandon in the pages of history. 

“V and Johnny Silverhand” – via CD Projekt Red       

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