A new report looking into what went amiss with the rollout of Cyberpunk 2077 points to overconfidence from management at CD Projekt Red as a key problem, and reveals that “full development” of the game — announced in 2012— didn’t begin until 2016.
Jason Schreier of Bloomberg interviewed more than 20 current and former CD Projekt staff, and found that the game’s development was plagued by unrealistic deadlines and technical issues. The company “hit the reset button” on the game in 2016, but a demo of Cyberpunk 2077 showed at E3 in 2018 was “almost entirely fake,” according to the report. The development also suffered from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, with programmers on the PC version and testers of the console version working separately from each other.
In the months leading up to its December 10th launch, reports emerged of Projekt Red staff working long, arduous hours to meet the launch deadlines. Almost immediately after the the release of Cyberpunk 2077, console players encountered widespread bugs, frame rate issues, and other problems. Within a week of launch, Sony had pulled Cyberpunk from the PlayStation Store and offered refunds. One investor is suing CD Projekt Red over the botched launch, and earlier this week, the PC version of the game was available for purchase for almost half off its original price.
Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwinski issued a mea culpa for the messy release, saying that despite the generally positive reception for the PC version of Cyberpunk 2077, the console version of the game “did not meet the quality standard we wanted it to meet.” The company is planning to release the game’s first big update within the next week.
According to Bloomberg, CD Projekt Red was still focused on The Witcher 3 when Cyberpunk was announced in 2012. Company executives apparently believed they could replicate the success it had with that game in developing Cyberpunk. And in a detail that didn’t make the final edit of the Bloomberg story, Schreier tweeted that the game had changed significantly since it was first announced; up until 2016, he says, it was a third-person game.