CD Projekt RED’s 8-year hype resulted in one of the most anticipated games of all time. Cyberpunk 2077 sold 8 million pre-orders, with 4.72 million copies sold on the PC platform alone. Beating out Activision Blizzard’s World of Warcraft: Shadowlands record of 3.7 million pre-orders a mere week later. The gaming community has been waiting on Cyberpunk 2077, with anticipation building with each delay. But records aren’t the only thing Cyberpunk 2077 has been breaking.
And It All Came Tumbling Down
As it stands, Cyberpunk 2077 is sitting at 87 on Metacritic’s review site. Even with such a high average review score, the game itself is the topic of major controversy. Cyberpunk 2077 is the result of a beloved company releasing an unfinished game.
As reviews started coming out for Cyberpunk 2077, it was apparent that something was amiss. Reviewers were critiquing a game with a highly restrictive review embargo. Unable to use their own gameplay footage, they had to feature footage provided by CD Projekt RED. Although the scores were quite positive, very little was said about performance as all reviews done before release were for PC. Now the PC version isn’t perfect per se, but it’s undoubtedly the most stable version in terms of performance. It raised some red flags when all the released footage was on PC and not on consoles.
A Glitch in the Matrix
It didn’t get any better post-launch. Gamers found themselves running into significant, and often comical, technical issues, particularly on last-gen consoles. Making it abundantly clear that Cyberpunk 2077 wasn’t ready for launch. Nor truly compatible with last-gen consoles. It’s a buggy mess and often completely unplayable.
On PlayStation 4 and the original Xbox One, frame rates can often dip into single digits during heavy encounters. Textures can take a significant amount of time to load, and there’s often hilarious clipping issues. Night City, a city that should be teeming with life, feels lifeless in these versions of the games. The last-gen hardware is unable to render an entire city filled with NPC’s. These issues break the immersive feel of a game trying to make you feel like a part of its world. In one particular case, a reviewer cited suffering a seizure from a scene that involved flashing light patterns. A warning has since been added to the games’ EULA, but it’s another symptom of a potential lack of attention to detail during creation.
The current user score reflects fan frustrations over the lack of polish and outright mess that Cyberpunk 2077 has been. A day after its launch, CD Projekt RED stock even fell by 29%. A loss partly attributed to the ensuing backlash and reports of bugs and technical glitches that spread like wildfire over social media. It seems that confidence in CD Projekt RED, a company loved by many, is at an all-time low.
CD Projekt RED immediately began deploying patches to stabilize the game, starting with a hefty 43GB launch day patch. There is a patch planned within the next 7 days, and there are two additional large patches announced for January and February. Each promising stability and performance improvements across all platforms.
Keep in mind that this game was announced 8 years ago in advance of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One launch. Slated for release originally in April, it was not designed for current-gen PS5 or Xbox Series X|S consoles, which means that two generations of consoles were released during the length of creation. It makes you wonder where things went wrong.
Reviews for last-gen consoles have slowly been trickling in as sites like IGN review the game on base model PS4 and Xbox One. Citing that even with the most recent patch, dips in frame rates continue and sometimes appear to run even below 720p. There have been increasing recommendations that people wait to play the game until performance issues are resolved. Suggestions that last-gen gamers get a refund if they have had a bad experience are also increasing. A sentiment with which we most definitely agree.
Our recommendation reflects that of many people out there. If you’re thinking about playing Cyberpunk 2077, wait for a few more patches until the game provides a playable and enjoyable experience. In its current state, this game is clearly not ready and would have benefited from another delay.
Too little, Too Late
CD Projekt RED has released a statement apologizing for the performance of last-gen ports. A letter in which they acknowledged that they knowingly withheld showing the game running on last-gen consoles. A decision that feels deceitful.
A day after the statement, CD Projekt RED called for an emergency board meeting in which they discussed the current state of the game, what went wrong, and the future. CEO Adam Kiciński notes they “ignored the signals about the need for additional time to refine the game on the base last-gen consoles. It was the wrong approach and against our business philosophy.” It appears that not only did CD Projekt RED mislead consumers, but it also misled Sony and Microsoft during its certification process. Stating that responsibility falls entirely on them and they had hoped to fix the game upon release.
It Gets Worse
If things couldn’t get ANY worse. In an unprecedented move yesterday, Sony pulled Cyberpunk 2077 from PlayStation Network and began offering refunds to dissatisfied customers. In a statement that read:
“SIE strives to ensure a high level of customer satisfaction, therefore we will begin to offer a full refund for all gamers who have purchased Cyberpunk 2077 via PlayStation Store. SIE will also be removing Cyberpunk 2077 from PlayStation Store until further notice.
Once we have confirmed that you purchased Cyberpunk 2077 via PlayStation Store, we will begin processing your refund. Please note that completion of the refund may vary based on your payment method and financial institution.”
Currently, the PSN page for Cyberpunk 2077 is blank.
Today, December 18th, Microsoft followed suit and began offering refunds to gamers who purchased the game on Xbox’s digital storefront. Stating the following:
“Cyberpunk 2077: To ensure that every player can get the experience they expect on Xbox, we will be expanding our existing refund policy to offer full refunds to anyone who purchased Cyberpunk 2077 digitally from the Microsoft Store, until further notice.”
So far, my experience with Cyberpunk 2077 has been one of wonder and frustration. Playing on the Series X, the game runs at a smooth and steady frame rate, for the most part, but the technical glitches are often disruptive and jarring. It truly takes away from an experience that otherwise would be unmatched. Don’t get me wrong. Cyberpunk 2077 is a fantastic game. When it functions properly. But we cannot and should not continue to be okay with companies releasing unfinished games. Often-times we pay $60 to $100+ only to wait weeks, sometimes months, before games are playable as intended. With the increase in standard pricing from $60 to $70 for this generation of consoles, it’s time to say enough is enough.
At the time of writing, Metacritic has finally updated the scores for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions of the game. With the PS4 version of the game sitting at 55 and the Xbox One version at 55, and an abysmal 3.1 user score for PS4 and 4.3 for Xbox One.
Cyberpunk retails for $59.99 for all versions of the game, but we can’t in good conscience recommend it in its current state.