CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwiński has addressed the launch issues surrounding Cyberpunk 2077 and the company’s plans for the game’s future in a video released last night. In addition, he gives an update on the game’s future roadmap, with the free DLC planned for “early 2021” pushed back, and the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S optimised upgrades for the game now expected in the latter half of 2021.
In the video titled ‘Our Commitment to Quality‘, Iwiński noted the goodwill that the company’s actions had previously generated, saying that because of this, “you’ve trusted us and pre-ordered our game, and despite good reviews on PC, the console version of Cyberpunk 2077 did not meet the quality standard we wanted it to meet. I, and the entire leadership team, are deeply sorry for this and this video is me publicly owning up to this.”
He goes on to issue a plea not to demonise their developers, and says that it was the management team’s decision to release the game in the state it was in.
Digging into the reasons for the issues with the game’s launch, and in particular the performance problems found on PS4 and Xbox One, he states that these were issues that stemmed from the game’s scope and densely designed envionment, with a “multitude of custom objects, interacting systems, and mechanics. In the game, everything is not stretched out over flat terrain where we can make things less taxing hardware-wise, but condensed in one big city and in a relatively loading-free environment.”
The error that CDPR seem to have made is in designing the game first for PC and make it look “epic” and then trying to fit that onto the PS4 and Xbox One. “Things did not look super difficult at first,” he claims, but “time has proven that we’ve underestimated the task”.
The prime culprit was the need to continually improve the streaming system for hard drive-based Xbox One and PS4, but their “testing did not show a big part of the issues you experienced while playing the game.” During the months long crunch that preceded the game’s release they “saw significant improvements each and every day, and we really believed we would deliver in the final day one update.”
If you remember, CDPR’s Adam Kiciński talking about the performance of Cyberpunk 2077 on PlayStation 4, on November 25th, fifteen days before the game launched:
PS5 is great. PS4 is still very good. I mean, we had those extra three weeks and we achieved a lot by – within this final stretch. So, we believe that the game is performing great on every platform.
It’s very difficult to reconcile that statement with the frankly awful performance that was shipped. The issues are so universal something that simply cannot have been invisible to testers. Instead, it will almost certainly have been a case that all manner of issues, including poor performance, were flagged and deemed acceptable to hit the launch deadline.
Plainly laying out what happened surrounding reviews, he plainly outlines that PC review code was sent to reviewers at the start of December, but that console code was only issued on 8th December. While this was “later than planned”, he doesn’t note that this was after the review embargo had dropped, nor does he address that PC reviewers (for the game that they “were and still are very proud of”) were not allowed to capture and share footage of the game during the review process. With a lawsuit filed against CD Projekt, he’s no doubt had to be very careful with what he’s saying.
Moving on to the game’s future, their “ultimate goal is to fix the bugs and crashes players are experiencing across platforms” – there’s no mention or promises regarding improved performance. The first update of 2021 will appear in 10 days, with a more significant one coming in the following weeks.
While the original plan for the free DLC was to release them shortly after release, they have decided instead to focus first on fixing the game, and will release the DLC after that point. Similarly, the free PS5 and Xbox Series X|S upgrades will still be coming in 2021, but later than previously suggested and aimed for the second half of the year.
In a Q&A post on the Cyberpunk 2077 website, they echo the commitment they made after The Witcher 3 was released to minimise crunch – which didn’t exactly pan out. “The team is working to bring relevant fixes to the game without any obligatory overtime. Avoiding crunch on all of our future projects is one of our top priorities.”