Cyberpunk 2077: One Year Later - Reloaded

Cyberpunk 2077: One Year Later - Reloaded

Cyberpunk 2077

For a year now, more or less since last December, every morning an editor of Eurogamer wakes up and publishes a review on the site, already knowing that in the comments a reader will come to accuse him of the vote of the Cyberpunk 2077 review.

For heaven's sake, that the score of a video game is contested is a great classic of our profession, and someone who has been in the field for some time, someone like Stefano Silvestri, will be able to confirm that even in the era of paper magazines, it could happen to receive letters in the editorial office with readers' complaints. The launch of Cyberpunk 2077, however, marked something profoundly different, a great schism between public and critics which after twelve months is still struggling to heal and which has caused incalculable damage to the relationship of trust between reader and critic.

The console versions of Cyberpunk 2077 (to which the press never had access, before the game's launch) were in disastrous conditions and if the PC version instead highlighted all the great merits of the work, it was the unfulfilled promises by the Polish studio to ignite the public. CD Projekt Red in fact set up a gargantuan marketing campaign that made players' expectations skyrocket, but the price to pay for the explosion of pre-orders was very high.

In this article, however, we will not go back to addressing the Cyberpunk 2077 review theme, but rather we will retrace the stages of post-launch support one year after the game's release, to understand how much and in what aspects the game has improved compared to day one. In short, if Cyberpunk failed to convince you a year ago, could it succeed now?

The trailer dedicated to the console versions of Cyberpunk 2077 carefully avoided showing the gameplay of the game on PS4 fat. Bad move.

Watch on YouTube. For starters, let's quickly go back to December 10, 2021 to paint the complicated context of those days: the game is on physical and digital shelves all over the world, and despite the collective lynching it is slowly starting to hit the social accounts of developers and employees of CD Projekt. Red, Cyberpunk 2077 burns all kinds of predictions by placing over 13 million copies in the days immediately following its release.

The commercial success of the title is simply grandiose, even if in the rooms of the Polish studio the banknotes are probably used to stop the sweat, tears and blood that the team is shedding in the hectic post-launch hours. The issue is magnified and as any critical analysis of the work is swept away by the videos on the most serious bugs in the game of YouTubers and influencers looking for easy consensus, here is what really happens that no one could really imagine.

Due to the disastrous conditions of the game on PS4, where the software cannot even reach 30 fps and is plagued by hundreds of bugs, Sony decides to remove the title from the PlayStation Store indefinitely, a decision that in dismay and bewilderment. overall, it is simply unprecedented in modern video game history. To try to put a stop to the deluge of controversy, the studio decides to allow anyone to refund their copy of the game. Not only that: three days after the launch he publishes a video in which Marcin Iwiński, cofounder of CD Projekt, apologizes for the condition of the console versions, also drawing a precise roadmap of what would have been the post-launch support of Cyberpunk 2077.

Thinking about it today, that long update plan and targeted interventions, a sort of game code remediation campaign, really got off to a good start. Just as expected from the roadmap, the 1.04 hotfix arrived as early as December 11, closely followed by the 1.05 hotfix, released on December 19. A few days later, on the 23rd of the same month, the 1.06 hotfix closed this triptych of small updates, aimed primarily at solving the causes of frequent crashes, as well as various bugs related to the main and secondary quests of Cyberpunk, rather than to optimizing its performance on old generation consoles

One month after the game's release, Marcin Iwiński faced the issue of the launch of Cyberpunk 2077 by unveiling the roadmap of the updates that would arrive in 2021.

Watch on YouTube. The first, relevant interventions in this sense have materialized with the arrival of patch 1.1, also in perfect time on the schedule. The update, released on January 22, not only eliminated another bevy of bugs from the updated build, but finally intervened on the stability and performance of the old gen versions by optimizing the game's memory use, also improving the performance of the crowd. which on consoles was one of the most critical elements of all. Night City now seemed alive, colorful and vibrant like a metropolis of the future, even on PS4 FAT.

In short, the timely and periodic release of updates had given us hope for the best: CD Projekt RED had been seized by a seemingly temporary défaillance, but as happened with The Witcher 3, the development team seemed determined to put together the pieces of a catastrophe that perhaps could be solved. Once the technical problems with which Cyberpunk was haunted were wiped out, the public would begin to notice its qualities, and after all the Warsaw team had done the exact same thing with the third chapter of the Strigo, which at launch was not the masterpiece that everyone we remember now.

Unfortunately, our shy optimism collapsed as quickly as the career of the Samurai after the passing of Johnny Silverhand. As if reality had suddenly turned into the cyberpunk dystopia that sets the game, on February 8, 2021 CD Projekt RED was hit by a very severe cyber attack, which allowed a group of hackers not only to obtain the source codes. of all the videogames of the studio and lots of accounting and internal management documents, but also to encrypt all the devices present in the company offices and the servers on which the work of the development team was stored.

The attack has had an incalculable impact on Cyberpunk 2077's stream of updates, more than everyone initially anticipated. Patch 1.2 has been postponed by only one month, and in itself this did not represent a big problem since the title was finally playable also on old gen consoles: the frame rate was now firmly anchored around 30 fps, and the constant and repeated drops were now only a memory.

On February 8, 2021 CD Projekt RED was hit by a very severe cyber attack. The modest delay, however, was due to the fact that most of the work on the update had probably been completed at the time of the attack. If since the launch of the game CD Projekt RED had managed to publish constant updates within a few weeks of each other, it took three long months to go from patch 1.2 to 1.23.

Arrived in June, the game it had improved in all respects but some key features, such as the artificial intelligence of the enemies and the behavioral pattern of the police, were still in the state they were in at launch. In addition, we didn't have any news about Cyberpunk 2077's next-gen update, and there was no trace of the free DLC that Marcin Iwiński promised by putting his face in the video we referred to a few paragraphs ago.

Although the roadmap was now irretrievably derailed, patch 1.23 marked the return of the game to the PlayStation Store, a fundamental step for Cyberpunk and CD Projekt RED on the long journey towards regaining public trust. With the 1.31 of August, then, the very first additional contents arrived, which however did not prove in any way up to the expectations of the players: these three "DLCs", in fact, only concern an alternative aspect for Johnny, two jackets for V, and an unreleased version of a car already included in the game. Definitely a bit cheap.

On the additional content front, Cyberpunk 2077 is guilty late on the roadmap and if you have played it at the release in one of its best versions, there are no real ones to date reasons to return to breathe the smells and atmospheres of the splendid Night City. However, as the few lines of the patch notes relating to the September 1.31 update, the last received by the game, demonstrate, it is now truly devoid of all those imperfections that probably prompted you to postpone the purchase.

Sul in the face of new content, CD Projekt has done too little: just two new items of clothing, a car and a brand new look for Johnny Silverhand. The real DLCs have yet to come out. Of course, Night City is still incomparable to Los Santos but if what you are looking for is sandbox gameplay, a 360-degree interaction with the city, its inhabitants and its police forces, perhaps you have never really understood what Cyberpunk 2077 is. really wants to offer you and one hypothesis is that it is not the type of game for you.

As proof of this, we were not surprised to find that thanks to the black friday sales, the game has experienced a second youth, climbing the platform's sales charts in the second half of November. In this second round of sales, the reviews of the game on Steam have been mostly "Very positive" and among the total ones, over 400 thousand, the "Mostly positive" ones are the most successful, confirming the fact that the base is finally solid and already in its original incarnation the plot contents regarding the main quests and side stories were of a high standard.

Although the game is therefore facing a small redemption, it remains however peremptory for us to highlight it as something, in the post support -Launch of the game, did not properly go as we would have expected. CD Projekt RED had its fair share of bad luck and the cyber attack clearly slowed the team's progress towards the previously established programmatic points, but the feeling is that the studio really had too much work to do, before they could take care. of the next-gen versions and additional DLCs of the game.

The roadmap in Iwiński's message was far too optimistic and not a mistake you can afford to make if your credibility is at stake already largely compromised by a launch for oldgen consoles obviously too early. Thanks to a report. by Jason Schreier, a Bloomberg journalist accustomed to shedding light on the hidden dynamics behind video game development, we also have a pretty clear picture of what went wrong during the making of Cyberpunk 2077.

The roadmap announced by Iwiński was far too optimistic, as we have learned over the years. Speaking to over twenty anonymous developers, Schreier reconstructed the reasons that led CD Projekt to the disastrous launch in December 2020. It starts with the most classic of the changes in the running of the development team leader, with the arrival of Adam Badowski in 2016 which resulted in a runaway change in Cyberpunk 2077's story and gameplay, including the visual. This led to the departure of many high-level developers who had contributed to the success of The Witcher series at the time.

There was no shortage of technical problems, with the brand new graphics engine being developed at the same time as the game itself, dramatically lengthening development times. Schreier underlined a general disorganization of the workforce, also caused by the dizzying increase in employees who reached over 500 during the construction of Cyberpunk 2077, not all fluent in English: a problem not just and exacerbated by the smartworking forced by the pandemic. The icing on the cake was the ambition in terms of content that led entire quests, costing months of work, to then be dramatically canceled from the final product.

Lagging behind the previously established plans and with the Throated investors anxious to finally arrive at a release, the studio also found itself wedged between the expectations of fans tired of having to digest postponements after postponements. The game was incredibly followed by the public, also due to a colossal marketing campaign that for Schreier led the top management of CD Projekt to neglect the actual development. Since almost the entire 2021 roadmap has been disregarded, it is difficult today to talk to you about the promises of the Warsaw studio without hiding a certain skepticism.

The development team has announced that the PS5 and Xbox Series S / X versions of Cyberpunk 2077 will arrive by the first quarter of 2022. Most read now

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In October, the development team announced that there would be no further updates for the rest of the year and that the PS5 and Xbox Series S versions / X of Cyberpunk 2077 will arrive by the first quarter of 2022. The Q1 of the new year is also expected to coincide with the publication of u n new, important update for all platforms, while always according to the same press release, work is underway on the first expansion of the game. Absolutely nothing is known about either of these projects, and we can't wait for the company to shed some light on the scheduled releases in 2022 announced last month.

Reiterating with conviction the vote that the game managed to snatch in the review, our advice can only be to recover this gem from the Polish studio on PC, taking advantage of a price cut that allows you to take the game home to you for less than half its original price. Cyberpunk 2077, on Home Computer is a must-have for anyone, whether you love RPGs or not. On this platform the game is a real bomb and even if you still notice some graphic bugs (characters clipped in strange places, some uncertainty in the scripts of some cutscenes) it is certainly the best place to get lost for about seventy hours between main and side quest, a hundred if you are an avid completist.

On old generation consoles, although it is now much better performing than in the past, the recommendation is to proceed with the purchase only if you consider yourself a fanatic of the genre or of the reference setting. In this case, also consider other options such as streaming. Otherwise, it is absolutely better to wait for the publication of the game for the PS5 or Xbox Series X. Cyberpunk 2077 is only a shadow of itself on PS4 and Xbox One and for the history and quality of the contents offered it deserves to be experienced only to the full. of its potential when a dedicated version will be published and above all, the new Sony and Microsoft consoles will be available without restrictions.

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