This weekend, five resonant events related to Cyberpunk 2077 happened at once — from the next excuses of the CD Projekt RED management to the recommendations of analysts to sell the studio. We have prepared a digest in which we talked about everything in detail.
1. Jason Schreier published a material about the problems of developing Cyberpunk 2077
Last Saturday, Bloomberg journalist Jason Schreier shared an investigation in which he spoke about the “failed” creation of Cyberpunk 2077.
According to him, the publication was based on interviews with 20 former and current employees of the Polish studio.
Schreier has eight main theses for CD Projekt RED:
- although Cyberpunk 2077 was officially announced in 2012, in 2016 its development was restarted from scratch;
- the project team was working on the engine for the game simultaneously with the creation of the game itself;
- some of the leading developers of the title left the studio due to serious disagreements regarding the gameplay and plot of the game with game director Adam Badowski;
- the authors of Cyberpunk 2077 regularly reworked. According to developer Adrian Jakubiak, some employees have lost their families due to crunches;
- more than 500 people worked on the game (The Witcher 3 team included 240 full-time employees). But sometimes these people could not fully work together because of the language barrier;
- CD Projekt RED’s management mainly aimed to impress the audience. Even the demo for E3 2018 was “almost completely fake.”
- When the studio announced at E3 that the title would be released in April 2020, most developers considered it a joke. According to their calculations, the release of Cyberpunk 2077 could not have taken place earlier than 2022. But CD Projekt RED management insisted that the game should be launched even before the announcement of the new generation consoles. Only in 2019 did the management change its mind;
- Some programmers warned that Cyberpunk 2077 is too complicated for PS4 and Xbox One. But project managers dismissed these concerns, citing the success of The Witcher 3.
What went wrong with Cyberpunk 2077? Interviews with more than 20 current and former CD Projekt staff paint a complex picture. Unchecked ambition, technical woes, unrealistic deadlines, and above all, one belief: "We made The Witcher 3 — it'll work out." https://t.co/T56huHkQW8
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) January 16, 2021
2. Schreier again: CD Projekt RED’s recent statement of apology could have been a reaction to his questions sent the same morning
Last Wednesday, CD Projekt RED co-founder Marcin Iwinski posted a five-minute video online in which he apologized for the problems with Cyberpunk 2077 and explained what would happen to the game next.
As Schreier wrote on Twitter the day before yesterday, the Polish studio did not just share this video on Wednesday. Perhaps she tried to tell about what happened earlier than Schreyer himself did in his Saturday investigation for Bloomberg. The fact is that on Tuesday the journalist contacted CD Projekt RED and on Wednesday morning sent them a list of questions for the article.
I don't know for sure if CD Projekt published the Cyberpunk roadmap and apology video on Wednesday afternoon to try to get ahead of my article. But I did give them a heads up Tuesday and sent them a list of questions on Wednesday morning. Which started with this… pic.twitter.com/qD2gowLURF
— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) January 16, 2021
3. The game director of Cyberpunk 2077 responded to Schreier’s criticism about the failed development of the game
On Sunday, January 17, Cyberpunk 2077 game director Adam Badowski commented on some points from Schreier’s article.
He highlighted several key points:
- the demo tile for E3 2018 was not fake. Badowski pointed out that two years before the release, it is difficult to demonstrate the game as it really turns out, but this does not make the demo fake. Games are created non-linearly and begin to look properly just a few months before launch. That’s why they put the “work in progress” bar in the demo;
- according to Badowski, Schreier was mistaken when he wrote that most developers knew and openly talked about the unavailability of Cyberpunk 2077 for release in 2020. The game director of the title noted that the journalist talked to only 20 out of 500 employees, and this is not the “majority”;
- in the end, Badowski also spoke about the language difficulties in the company. He assured that CD Projekt RED requires using English during meetings and corporate correspondence. However, in an informal setting, people can speak their native language.
— Adam Badowski⚡️ (@AdamBadowski) January 16, 2021
4. DFC analysts believe that CD Projekt RED is time to be sold because of the scandals around Cyberpunk 2077
Three days ago, the research company DFC Intelligence wrote a big article where it stated that CD Projekt RED could get back on its feet if it agreed to a takeover by another corporation.
As analysts have suggested, the Polish studio has tarnished its reputation not by bugs in Cyberpunk 2077, but by the fact that these errors caught everyone by surprise. Up until the CD release, Projekt RED claimed that everything would be fine with the game, which eventually misled the audience.
According to DFC, a different approach to marketing could help the studio avoid a series of scandals due to Cyberpunk 2077 and major stock collapses. For example, all this would not have happened if CD Projekt RED had been more open and honest with gamers, reviewers, analysts and distributors.
Despite the fact that Cyberpunk 2077 can still get recognition from players, CD Projekt RED itself will have to work on restoring its reputation, DFC said. The sale of the studio can help in this. Although the studio is still quite expensive, some companies are able to take such a risk. DFC did not name the names of possible buyers, but added that it was unlikely Microsoft. They say that she already spent $ 7.5 billion on the acquisition of ZeniMax and will not rush into a new major takeover.
5. Crowbcat blogger released a video about Cyberpunk 2077 and compared the studio’s promises with the final flaws
Yesterday, the popular blogger Crowbcat, after a year of silence, published on YouTube, in which he alternates the promises of developers with the visual glitches of Cyberpunk 2077.
There was enough content for 41 minutes.
The blogger called the video “Overpromise, Sell, Underdeliver Cyberpunk 2077”. In Russian, this can be translated as “Promise too much. Sell it. Don’t live up to expectations, Cyberpunk 2077.” Now the video has already gained more than a million views.