The Cyberpunk 2077 post-launch disaster pile keeps getting bigger and bigger, and now new information reveals huge development missteps, to the point that a 2018 gameplay slice was “almost entirely fake.”
A report by Jason Schreier of Bloomberg reveals that during the time, CDPR’s focus was to impress the outside world. They showed gameplay footage during E3 2018 and “Fans and journalists were wowed by Cyberpunk 2077’s ambition and scale. What they didn’t know was that the demo was almost entirely fake. CD Projekt hadn’t yet finalized and coded the underlying gameplay systems, which is why so many features, such as car ambushes, were missing from the final product. Developers said they felt like the demo was a waste of months that should have gone toward making the game.”
Schreier also goes on to mention more interesting tidbits that didn’t make it into his report:
With how the game launched back in December of 2020, Cyberpunk 2077 looked like it needed more time for it to be “finished”. In fact, according to the report, “some members of the team could only scratch their heads, wondering how they could possibly finish the game by then [April 16, 2020]. One person said they thought the date was a joke. Based on the team’s progress, they expected the game to be ready in 2022.“
This has something to do with full development starting around late 2016, which saw Studio Head Adam Badowski take over as director and “demanding overhauls to Cyberpunk’s gameplay and story. For the next year, everything was changing, including fundamental elements like the game-play perspective.”
In a recent apology by none other than Marcin Iwiński, CDPR co-founder, he said that they had underestimated the task, speaking about the game running on last-gen consoles and how they believed they could fix it with a day zero patch. Obviously, we know how this all turned out, but the problems seemed to be rooted in something deeper. They have since doubled down on promises to improve the game throughout the year, offering a roadmap of what to expect.
The Bloomberg report again reveals that CDPR stretched themselves out too thin as it “tried to develop the engine technology behind Cyberpunk 2077, most of which was brand new, simultaneously with the game, which slowed down production.” Internal questions were raised as to how they would be able to meet the deadline, given that this is a bigger and more challenging endeavor than The Witcher 3. “We’ll figure it out along the way” was the answer.
Management also seemingly went with the “we pulled off The Witcher 3” argument, which sounds like a bad case of “Bioware Magic” all over again.
Ultimately, it seemed that CDPR’s goal was to “release Cyberpunk 2077 before new consoles from Microsoft and Sony, expected in the fall of 2020, were even announced. That way, the company could launch the game on existing PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC, then “double dip” by releasing versions down the road for the next generation consoles.” As the timelines became utterly unrealistic, only then was the move to delay the game committed.
You can read more about the full report on Bloomberg.