it’s the biggest game of the year, and one of the most anticipated of the decade (considering it was first announced way back in 2012). CD Projekt Red became a landmark video game developer after the release of 2015’s The Witcher 3, so everyone was excited about what they were going to do next. Cyberpunk 2077 has sold over thirteen million copies in less than two weeks after its release.
It has also attracted plenty of pre-release controversy for its depiction of marginalized groups, but even more so for delaying its release three times in 2020. When it came out in December, people loved its massive open-world to explore, but were shocked at how many bugs and glitches were still there. Read on to understand all the hype and drama surrounding this game, and where it goes from here.
The Best Dystopian Nightmare You Can Get
The term ‘Cyberpunk’ is from the early eighties, and it refers to a genre of science fiction that takes place in the future where there is plenty of advanced technology, corporate corruption and attempts by the masses to struggle against them with a bleak city as a backdrop. The video game itself is based on a table-top RPG game ‘Cyberpunk’, and its creator Mike Pondsmith was an advisor for the game.
The premise is not so much a single story, but many stories that you can take part in as a character of your own making. The way you can design your characters physical and social characteristics is quite extensive, meaning you can play as a sexy trans sugar baby if you wish. if you wish. The decisions you make – and you are giving plenty when you interact with various characters – affect the outcomes of several different stories.
Right from the start, one of the biggest things CD Projekt Red promised about the game is how good it was going to look. The graphics were going to be mind-blowing, showing the beauty and ugliness of a high-tech future. That means incredible artistry in the design of buildings, vehicles and characters. However, there was also ray-tracing (meaning reflected surfaces accurately reflected what was in front of them, even taking the character moving position into consideration), and highly advanced lighting techniques, all meant to immerse the character in the world like no game had done before.
Trying to really imagine what technology would look like meant you would be able to hack into people’s (half cyber) brains and change the way they behave. You yourself could get plenty of bizarre electronic implants to enhance your abilities. Your role in the setting of Night City can start in several different ways, and have multiple endings as well.
The ‘Problematic’ Lead-Up
There was a slow drip of information about the game for years, until the Electronic Entertainment Expo (in E3) in 2018, where its trailer was one of the most talked-about and won many awards. At the same events the following year, Cyberpunk 2077 was given a lengthy presentation, which revealed extensive game footage and even featured Keanu Reeves (who has a large role in the game).
Some other promotional releases imagery included fake ads that would appear in the game, one of which had a scantily clad feminine model sporting a rather large erection beneath a skin-tight suit. While the idea was that the game would always push the boundaries, it was questioned whether it would just be a graphically enhanced version of RPG sex games.
Some of the gameplay also featured people of colour in unfortunately stereotypical roles of gangsters and criminals, and while the game was meant to be dystopic and dark in nature, it was still seen by some as a disappointment that more prominent roles were not cast. The same could be said about the depiction of LGBTQ characters, especially when one considers that the Cyberpunk genre itself readily embraces these groups, frequently making them main characters in many works.
It didn’t help that some of the official social media pages of the game were also viewed as trying to be edgy and insensitive about these issues. On the other hand, there is usually no such thing as bad publicity, and the whole gaming world was abuzz.
The ‘Problematic’ Release
The initial release date was April 2020, but at the beginning of the year it was delayed to September, and then to November, and finally, only a month before that date, it pushed to December 10th. For each delay CD Projekt Red stated that they were just ironing out the last bit of bugs and issues and that the game was, for the most part, complete. But it was initially suspicious that advanced copies for critics were only issued for PC, not for the PS4 and Xbox One consoles.
While the critics acknowledged there were some problems with glitches and gameplay on PC, there ended up being many more serious problems on these consoles when players booted it up. Apparently, there is such a thing as bad publicity, and it’s many, many gamers saving all their glitches and crashes and sharing them on social media while calling the game ‘broken’. Even mainstream, non-gaming media outlets covered its release, rise and problems.
While it makes sense that high-end gaming PCs and the more powerful ninth-generation consoles can play the game with fewer glitches and crashes, the game was always expected to come out on the Playstation 4 and the Xbox One. The fact that for the moment they have serious problems playing on these seven-year-old systems has been an embarrassment for CD Projekt Red. It is why they are offering refunds for those who have purchased the game, and Playstation has even pulled it from their online store.
That’s why while the reviews for the actual game have been very positive, it would be advised that if you have these older consoles, you wait for the developers to iron out the problems before playing Cyberpunk yourself.