To say that Cyberpunk 2077 had a rough launch is a bit of an understatement, as it’s one of the worst game launches ever. Well, a CD Projekt Red co-founder has issued an apology/explanation of what happened in the days leading up to the game’s release. It answers quite a bit of questions in regards to the differences between PC and console versions. A hint as to when the next-gen versions will be ready was also given in the statement.
Marcin Iwinski, the co-founder who spoke about the game’s problems, did divulge about the decision to release:
“Despite good reviews on PC, the console version of Cyberpunk 2077 did not meet the quality standard we wanted it to meet. I and the entire leadership team are deeply sorry for this, and this video is me publicly owning up to that.”
He went on further to explain that it wasn’t the developing teams that messed this up:
“Please, don’t fault any of our teams for what happened. They are all incredibly talented and hard-working. Myself and the board are the final decision-makers, and it was our call to release the game. Although, believe me, we never ever intended for anything like this to happen. I assure you that we will do our best to regain your trust.”
Iwinski also dove deep into the specific issues with the last-gen console versions of Cyberpunk 2077. He stated the complex nature of the game led to problems, in particular, the “main culprit” being related to how the team had to constantly improve the in-game streaming system for old-gen. The hard drive bandwidth of last-gen was a constant challenge for the developers.
The studio’s own testing of this streaming technology showed improvements, which led them to believe the game was in a good place with the Day Zero patch. Iwinski also stated that working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic, led to further complications for Cyberpunk 2077.
CD Projekt Red has already released three hotfixes for Cyberpunk, but they plan fixing more bugs and crashes. The next update will arrive within the next ten days, with a more significant update coming in the following weeks.
In addition to these updates, CD Projekt Red still has plans to release free DLC packs for Cyberpunk 2077 later this year. A free next-gen upgrade for PS5 and Xbox Series X is planned for the second half of 2021.
According to Bloomberg, several of the game’s developers thought 2022 was a better release window. The game’s development engine and the game itself were being made in tandem, which only helped to make matter worse.
Additionally, CD Projekt Red said it hopes to work with Sony to bring the PS4 version of Cyberpunk 2077 back to PlayStation store.
Despite the problems, Cyberpunk 2077 was one of 2020’s biggest games, selling over 13 million copies — even including refunds. Further insight was given in the form on an FAQ page on CD Projekt Red’s website, which you can see below:
Cyberpunk 2077 FAQ
Q: Why is there such a gap between PC versions of Cyberpunk 2077 and old-gen consoles?
A: Cyberpunk 2077 is huge in scope, it features a multitude of custom objects, interacting systems and mechanics. In the game, everything is not stretched out over flat terrain where we can make things less taxing hardware-wise, but condensed in one big city and in a relatively loading-free environment. We made it even more difficult for ourselves by first wanting to make the game look epic on PCs and then adjusting it to consoles — especially old-gens. That was our core assumption. And things did not look super difficult at first, while we knew the hardware gap, ultimately, time has proven that we’ve underestimated the task.
Q: What was the main issue that made development for consoles that difficult?
A: The main culprit was having to constantly improve our in-game streaming system for old-gen consoles. Streaming is responsible for “feeding” the engine with what you see on screen, as well as the game mechanics. Since the city is so packed and the disk bandwidth of old-gen consoles is what it is, this is something that constantly challenged us.
Q: Didn’t you test old-gen consoles to keep tabs on the experience?
A: We did. As it turned out, our testing did not show many of the issues you experienced while playing the game. As we got closer to launch, we saw significant improvements each and every day, and we really believed we’d deliver in the final day zero update.
Q: Why was there a gap between PC and console reviews?
A: We started sending out PC review keys to start the review process in the first week of December. Come December 10th, launch day, we had a really good start with PC reviews, and while it’s not perfect, this is a version of the game we were, and still are, very proud of. When it comes to the review process for consoles, at the same time PC codes were sent out we were still working hard to improve the quality of the game on old-gen consoles. Every extra day that we worked on the day zero update brought visible improvement — that’s why we started sending console codes for reviews on the 8th December, which was later than we had planned.
Q: What have you done since launch to make the game better?
A: Our top priority since launch has been to fix bugs in Cyberpunk 2077. We have already released three hotfixes which have improved the game, but these are just the beginning.
Q: What are you going to do going forward to fix Cyberpunk 2077?
A: We are focused on fixing the bugs and crashes players are experiencing across every platform. You can expect more in the way of patches — both small and large — to be released regularly. The first update will drop in the next 10 days, and it will be followed by a larger, more significant update, in the weeks after. Our plans for supporting Cyberpunk 2077 in the long-term are unchanged, and we will continue to introduce updates and patches to give all players across all consoles and PCs a better experience with the game.
Q: You have said there would be free DLC for the game in ‘early 2021’, will this be impacted by improvements?
A: We’re still planning on releasing free DLC for the game, just like with The Witcher 3. However, we have decided that our priority is working on the most important fixes and updates. We will be releasing free DLC afterwards — we’ll have more to say about that in the coming months.
Q: When can we expect the next-gen update for Cyberpunk 2077?
A: For those who are playing the game on next-gen consoles via backwards compatibility, we are planning the free, next-gen update for Cyberpunk 2077 on Xbox Series consoles, and PlayStation 5, this year. We’re aiming for the second half of the year and we’ll reveal more when we have more to share.
Q: Are you making the team crunch to work on the patches?
A: The team is working to bring relevant fixes to the game without any obligatory overtime. Avoiding crunch on all of our future projects is one of our top priorities.
Q: When is the game coming back to PlayStation Store?
A: We are working on fixes and updates, and are working with Sony to bring Cyberpunk 2077 back to PlayStation Store as soon as possible.
Q: What is the status of the Help Me Refund initiative?
A: The initiative is progressing according to plan and we just sent out the first wave of reimbursements.