Cyberpunk 2077 will get free PS5 and Xbox Series X enhanced upgrades, but not at launch [updated]

Update 18:00: Following the reporting from their conference call, the Cyberpunk 2077 twitter account has offered a little more clarity on their plans for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X support and upgrades.

Essentially, the current generation versions of the game will run just fine on next-gen consoles at launch, with CD Projekt Red then planning to come back to the game and give a free upgrade to a next-gen versions that take full advantage of their power.

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There’s still some leeway in how CD Projekt Red plan to achieve this. They could simply rely on both consoles’ backward compatibility and boost mode, which will allow for the game to take advantage of the added power to stabilise a dynamic resolution and frame rate, but largely look the same as on PS4 Pro/Xbox One X.

Alternatively, they can create next-gen specific builds of the game that are optimised for the faster hardware through the compiler, potentially taking advantage of each console’s SSD for more efficient storage usage and optimised asset loading, while setting next-gen specific resolution and frame rate targets in the game engine. This would also deliver an experience roughly equivalent to the higher powered current gen consoles, but require more active development from a company that is seemingly struggling to reach their deadlines.

Either way, CDPR would then follow up to provide higher quality graphics in a deeper upgrade, most likely in 2021, though no target date has been set.

The original story follows.


Following yet another delay for Cyberpunk 2077, CD Projekt Red have now confirmed in a conference call that their highly anticipated game will work on both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X as soon as they are available, taking advantage of the next-gen consoles’ increased power with a free upgrade for anyone buying on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One.

Cyberpunk 2077 is now scheduled for release on 19th November, right in the window we expect the PS5 and Xbox Series X to be released.

Day one support is exciting, but it sounds like it will be a brute force improvement to start with. “It will look better on next-generation consoles,” the company said in the call, before saying that “a more robust update” will come later to enhance the PS5 and Xbox Series X version further.

The wording suggests that, while the game will have full support on these consoles, seemingly beyond basic backward compatibility, it will mainly be targeting higher resolutions and a more stable frame rate than current gen consoles can manage. The studio seem unsure of when the wider update might arrive, possibly in 2021, and possibly not, not having truly planned for new versions of the game to be released.

The full details of the upgrade scheme have not been announced for PlayStation 5, though it will be free for anyone buying the game on PlayStation 4. Sony have yet to announce any plans for a cross-gen upgrade plan equivalent to Microsoft’s Smart Delivery, though a number of developers, like Bungie with Destiny 2, have gone ahead to announce free upgrades. Cyberpunk 2077 was the first game confirmed for Smart Delivery, giving anyone buying the game on Xbox One access to a Series X optimised version of the game.

The delay to Cyberpunk 2077 will also have a knock on effect for the game’s post-launch support. The DLC expansion have been pushed back, and the already delayed Cyberpunk 2077 multiplayer has also been pushed back further. The entire focus is on polishing the main game.

The game has gone through a string of late delays in its development process. It was first pinned down for March 2020 at last year’s E3, but but in mid-January, they dropped the bombshell that they would delay the game until September so that they could polish and refine it further.

Thankfully, this will likely be the last delay. CD Projekt Red’s CEO Adam Kicinski said “We truly believe this will be the final date. Any decision like this costs us trust. We try to be as reasonable as possible to make a final decision.”

Fans are currently waiting for the Night City Watch stream to reveal more of the game. Originally planned for 12th June, it was delayed until 25th June out of respect and support for the Black Lives Matter protests.

via Gamespot

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7 Comments

  1. Here we are seeing the 2 steps of forward compatibility of each platform, possibly to ensure parity of experience for players on each.

    It sounds like they will recompile the code for the new platforms and change some parameters (a PS5 requirement from next month), but better assets and ssd leverage (the optimised smart delivery version) for example will be a few months later

    If they only met each platform’s requirements on the platform, would we see Cyberpunk with a PS5 native version but Series X playing the One X version in back compat? I haven’t seen a stipulation from MS for devs to make Series X version like Sony have put in. As this game is partnered with Xbox for marketingI can’t see that being an acceptable situation

    Then Smart delivery. I have to say I thought this was just a PR term previously – of course you will get the correct version, but the actual subtle advantage is a version that more than just supports it and it works – a proper port you could say. Of course there is no stopping this happening on the PS5 versions either for multiplatform games

    The possibilities in back/forward compat may get a little confusing and we might see edge cases that break parity at the points mentioned above

    • Sony’s new requirements are “it’s got to work on the PS5” from next month. Nothing about having to take advantage of the PS5 features. Just that the PS4 version has to work on the PS5. There’s a pretty good chance MS have the same conditions, or will have at some point before the Series X launches.

      And yes, “smart delivery” is just some marketing bollocks for something both MS and Sony already have with the One X and Pro upgrades. And MS already have for the previous gen games running on the XBone.

      I don’t know what policies MS have on the One X upgrades, but we know Sony have a policy of “it has to be free”. MS pushing this new “smart delivery” thing could be a bit worrying if it’s “you can do it this way if you want, but you can charge for the Series X version, or restrict how long you can upgrade for”. It could all get a bit messy.

      • Smart Delivery is marketing, but it’s also pressure being applied to third parties to do what MS are doing themselves. Publishers are free to do their own thing, as EA is, but if they’re not lenient enough then there can be pushback from fans, as we saw with EA extended the upgrade period on NFL Madden from 3 months to a whole year.

        And One X enhanced game updates were free. That was within the generation, so no free and a shared build of the game. Smart Delivery will require the game to be recompiled for Xbox Series X – a proper port, as beeje says – even if the same 4K resolution and 30/60fps frame rate targets are set by the devs in the game engine.

        CDPR are announcing that there will also be a native port for PS5 at launch, and Sony are seemingly happy to let everyone do what they want without reviving the Cross-buy branding for this.

  2. Well this is interesting, have we ever seen a cross-generation single version of a game before?

    • Apart from all those PS3/PS4/Vita cross-buy games?

      • Yes, cross-buy has happened in the past for indie games, and there were cross-gen upgrades available for some AAA games around the start of the current generation, though typically with an accompanying fee or with a trade-in scheme agreed with retailers. So this and AC Valhalla are kind of firsts of their kind.

      • I’d forgotten about cross but games, good point. But in terms of a physical version I guess this is new territory, unless you count the NES playing Gameboy games and the Mega Drive playing Master System games.

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