PSA: Don’t pick up too many items, craft too much, or play too long in Cyberpunk 2077 or your save will corrupt

A week after release, Cyberpunk 2077 players are finding a new bug in the game. However, this issue isn’t just bad AI or glitchy collision; it’s game-breaking. Those who have played the game for a while are launching Cyberpunk 2077 to find their save files are corrupted, but this isn’t so much a bug as a feature.

Can a corrupted Cyberpunk 2077 save file be fixed?

Cyberpunk 2077 Save File Screen

Most of the time, when a save file is damaged in a game, it’s because of a bug. Sometimes these saves are lost forever, and other times devs manage to release a patch that fixes the issue. With corrupted Cyberpunk 2077 saves, the issue is built into the game purposefully, and CD Projekt Red has stated that adjusting the save file limitations isn’t currently on its roadmap.

The issue causing Cyberpunk 2077 saves to corrupt is that the game will not load any file over 8MB. If a save goes over that size, it will likely be irrevocably (for now) corrupted. The problem is, some of the major systems in the game (crafting in particular) cause the save file to grow continuously in size. Each time an item is added to the inventory or a stack increases or decreases, a new, unique ItemID is created, and given the loot and crafting heavy nature of the game, these changes add up quickly.

Is there a workaround for Cyberpunk 2077 damaged save files?

Cyberpunk 2077 GOG Save Data Corrupt Response

Of course, CD Projekt Red is passing the blame onto players for corrupted save files. So far, a moderator on the official forums has this to say about the issue:

“BUT — considering that CP2077 probably works similarly to TW3, Bethesda games, Bioware titles, etc. — this also happens to your inventory whenever you save –> reload a game. First, the game reads your save file. It loads an “active” version of your inventory into RAM, and assigns new ItemIDs to every single piece of your inventory from top to bottom. It re-saves those larger numbers for every new save / quicksave, and they become the new default. This is how a program can correctly load older savegames. It compares the newer numbers with the older ones, and chooses the older, smaller number instead. (Computers can’t “think”, and items in your inventory are not “guns” and “medkits” to the computer. They’re collections of data that it needs to be able to tell apart from one another using a numerical expression.)

Not all games are designed for unlimited, endless play. Not all games are designed for NG++++ etc. CP2077, as of now, seems to have been designed with upper limits in place (likely to avoid issues elsewhere in the engine, just like TW3).

The workaround for now?

Don’t do it. Play the game until the end, then start a new game. Don’t continue saving and reloading the same character for too long. Don’t craft thousands of items at once.

Is that ideal? No. And hopefully it can be worked out in the future. Although…maybe not. No game that CDPR has ever created has ever been designed for ongoing, unlimited play. (NG+ was added into TW3 after its release; it was never intended. It was extremely difficult to get working without major issues, is capped at level 100, still gets wildly weird at higher levels, and there is no NG++. It can only be done once per playthrough.) CDPR designs their games with a finite structure: with a beginning, a middle, and an end. They are not meant to be played on and on like Dark Souls, GTA, or an MMO. They’re meant to be restarted from the beginning with a new character and played differently. Love it or loathe it, that’s the design.

So, for right now, the best step is not to put the game in this sort of situation. It’s the nature of the machine.”

Additionally, the official workaround on GOG is:

“Unfortunately the save is damaged and can’t be recovered.

Please use an older save file to continue playing and try to keep a lower amount of items and crafting materials.

If you have used the item duplication glitch, please load a save file not affected by it.

The save file size limit might be increased in one of the future patches, but the corrupted files will remain that way.”

So, CD Projekt Red’s recommendation is basically to beeline from start to finish, don’t craft or break down items too much (even though there’s a whole tech tree dedicated to crafting), and don’t save or load the game too often. Of course, the whole gameplay loop is designed like a loot shooter, with players constantly needing to pick up dropped gear to equip or breakdown for parts, but apparently, CD Projekt Red didn’t stop to think whether that would work with the game’s save limitations.

For now, the only fix for corrupted saves in Cyberpunk 2077 is to load an older file. Players who want to continue playing for an indefinite amount of time should be choosey about picking up gear and refrain from using the crafting system. CD Projekt Red may address the save size limitation at some point, but a fix isn’t currently on the table.