Why another Cyberpunk 2077 delay may have been necessary

The Witcher 3 hadn’t even hit GOG when the Cyberpunk 2077 hype train left the station. Geralt’s third game was still over two years out when the first Cyberpunk trailer dropped on that fateful day in January 2013 after its first announcement in May 2012. Eight or so long years of hype, trailers, and delays, and the highly anticipated RPG is here. Yet, despite a lengthy development cycle, the game still isn’t ready and it’s baffling why it came out this year at all.

Cyberpunk 2077 PS4 and Xbox One players get stiffed

Why another Cyberpunk 2077 delay may have been necessary

You only get to make a first impression once, and CD Projekt Red semi-acknowledged this by only sending out PC code pre-launch. While there were still bugs aplenty, it was deemed mostly manageable by those who played it before its release. However, the untested PS4 and Xbox One versions are now out in the wild, and players aren’t pleased.

Videos on social media displaying the unfinished aspects of the game have spread like wildfire, showcasing the console versions running at suboptimal frame rates and relatively low resolutions on top of the myriad bugs and glitches. They’re all a total mess to the naked eye and get even worse when broken down. Numbers don’t lie as seen in the Digital Foundry breakdown, where it teeters into unplayable territory in certain scenarios. It’s hard to imagine that all of the console players would have bought the game if they were shown the appropriate footage prior to the game’s launch.

A lot of these mishaps remained hidden until around launch because all pre-launch reviews were only of the PC version. That iteration has its own issues to the point where it almost feels like two different games were launched (although it still runs capably with some settings tinkering). With few reviews and little footage available of the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game before launch, CDPR kept the worst versions of the game out of sight leading to an inevitable post-launch backlash.

A PS5 and Xbox Series X experience tied to the last generation

Why another Cyberpunk 2077 delay may have been necessary

Cyberpunk 2077 has received post-launch patches, though there are still a number of bugs present through the game. These include T-posing enemies and people standing on top of one another, to more significant issues like scripting errors and hard crashes. Cyberpunk 2077 is decidedly unfinished, and while many games now release with issues that are rectified in future updates, the issues faced by the RPG on last-gen consoles in particular are inexcusable. Many players on PS4 and Xbox One have been looking forward to this game, and the hardest of the hardcore with their bathtub Geralt statue and Ciri body pillow are the ones who will have to put up with this game at its worst.

Stronger hardware wouldn’t immediately absolve the game of its technical sins, but it would at least make them prettier and help bring the experience to current standards. Native PS5 and Xbox Series X ports are coming down the line (as a free upgrade), but launching without them is just puzzling as many people are getting used to their new systems. Many console owners probably want to see Night City with ray tracing and blazing fast load times as those features are quickly becoming the norm. Going back to the PS4 and Xbox One-era of technology seems antithetical to something so obsessed with futurism and technology. PC-less players will have settle for a lesser sophisticated experience, despite jumping into the new generation.

Crunching for nothing

Why another Cyberpunk 2077 delay may have been necessary

Rushing to the finish line has come at a human cost, too, as CD Projekt Red has reportedly undergone crunch to prematurely take this undercooked turkey out of the oven before the holiday dinner. Reports from Kotaku and Bloomberg have made allegations about the round-the-clock work the Polish studio’s developers have been put through to get this game past the finish line.

And given the incomplete result, why was that necessary? Of course, crunch is never good, but why grind a team and still come up short anyway? While patches can certainly help a game post-launch, such shoddiness on the PS4 and Xbox One has left an indelible mark on its release. Scores of people burning out to hit an arbitrary 2020 deadline is not an apt substitute for good planning and more time, especially when the consequence of hitting that deadline is to fail to finish development on the game anyway.

With such restrictive coverage, a slew of technical problems, the absence of PS5 and Xbox Series X versions, and widely reported crunch practices, Cyberpunk 2077 would have benefited from another delay. Waiting may seem hard especially with such loud, toxic fans, but even the most vitriolic of onlookers would likely concede that Cyberpunk 2077 didn’t need to launch right now.  It would be disheartening to see any game do stumble at the final hurdle like this, but doubly so for Cyberpunk 2077, as submitting to capitalism to deliver a product that is unfinished is decidedly not punk and, sadly, quite Corpo.