Cyberpunk 2077 Studio Co-Founder Releases A Personal Explanation About What Happened

CD Projekt Red founder Marcin Iwinski has released an in-depth statement about the days leading up to the game's release.

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Following the rocky launch of Cyberpunk 2077 in December, developer CD Projekt Red has released a statement from studio co-founder Marcin Iwinski in which he offers a personal explanation of what happened in the days leading up to the game's release. They shed some light on just how there could have been such a disparity between the PC and console versions. The team also hinted at when the full next-gen versions will be ready.

"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 that," Iwinski said.

"Please, don't fault any of our teams for what happened. They are all incredibly talented and hard-working. Myself and the board are the final decision-makers, and it was our call to release the game. Although, believe me, we never ever intended for anything like this to happen. I assure you that we will do our best to regain your trust."

Iwinski proceeds to dive deep into the specific issues with the last-gen console versions of Cyberpunk 2077. He said the technically complex nature of the game led to some issues. In particular, he said the "main culprit" for the issues was related to how the team had to constantly improve the in-game streaming system for old-gen consoles. The hard drive bandwidth of the last-gen consoles was a constant challenge for the developer.

The studio's own testing of this streaming technology showed improvements, and the studio felt the last-gen edition may be in a good place with the Day Zero patch, Iwinski said.

The executive pointed out that issues related to COVID-19 and working from home led to some further complications and problems for Cyberpunk 2077.

CD Projekt Red has already released three hot fixes for Cyberpunk 2077, but the company isn't stopping there. The goal is to fix more bugs and crashes, and the next update will arrive within the next 10 days, Iwinski said. Another, more significant update is coming in the following weeks.

In addition to that, CD Projekt Red still plans to release free DLC packs for Cyberpunk 2077 later this year, while the free next-gen update for PS5 and Xbox Series X is planned for the second half of 2021.

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A FAQ page posted to CD Projekt Red's website has some further insight on what the studio is doing to make things right. In particular, the studio says it is trying to avoid crunch--the industry term for developers working long hours to finish a project--for the upcoming patches. "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," the studio said.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, several of the game's developers believed 2022 was a more realistic release window. Issues stemmed from the game's development engine being made in tandem with the game itself. It is also being made with a much smaller team than that of some similar studios, even after increasing in size following The Witcher 3.

Additionally, CD Projekt Red said it hopes to be able to work with Sony to bring the PS4 edition of Cyberpunk 2077 back to the PlayStation Store soon. It isn't clear exactly when that will be, but presumably after its biggest bugs are addressed.

"We are working on fixes and updates, and are working with Sony to bring Cyberpunk 2077 back to PlayStation Store as soon as possible," the studio said.

Despite the issues, Cyberpunk 2077 was one of 2020's biggest games commercially, selling 13 million copies--and that includes refunds.

Cyberpunk 2077 FAQ

Q: Why is there such a gap between PC versions of Cyberpunk 2077 and old-gen consoles?

A: Cyberpunk 2077 is huge in scope, it features 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. We made it even more difficult for ourselves by first wanting to make the game look epic on PCs and then adjusting it to consoles — especially old-gens. That was our core assumption. And things did not look super difficult at first, while we knew the hardware gap, ultimately, time has proven that we've underestimated the task.

Q: What was the main issue that made development for consoles that difficult?

A: The main culprit was having to constantly improve our in-game streaming system for old-gen consoles. Streaming is responsible for “feeding” the engine with what you see on screen, as well as the game mechanics. Since the city is so packed and the disk bandwidth of old-gen consoles is what it is, this is something that constantly challenged us.

Q: Didn’t you test old-gen consoles to keep tabs on the experience?

A: We did. As it turned out, our testing did not show many of the issues you experienced while playing the game. As we got closer to launch, we saw significant improvements each and every day, and we really believed we’d deliver in the final day zero update.

Q: Why was there a gap between PC and console reviews?

A: We started sending out PC review keys to start the review process in the first week of December. Come December 10th, launch day, we had a really good start with PC reviews, and while it’s not perfect, this is a version of the game we were, and still are, very proud of. When it comes to the review process for consoles, at the same time PC codes were sent out we were still working hard to improve the quality of the game on old-gen consoles. Every extra day that we worked on the day zero update brought visible improvement — that’s why we started sending console codes for reviews on the 8th December, which was later than we had planned.

Q: What have you done since launch to make the game better?

A: Our top priority since launch has been to fix bugs in Cyberpunk 2077. We have already released three hotfixes which have improved the game, but these are just the beginning.

Q: What are you going to do going forward to fix Cyberpunk 2077?

A: We are focused on fixing the bugs and crashes players are experiencing across every platform. You can expect more in the way of patches — both small and large — to be released regularly. The first update will drop in the next 10 days, and it will be followed by a larger, more significant update, in the weeks after. Our plans for supporting Cyberpunk 2077 in the long-term are unchanged, and we will continue to introduce updates and patches to give all players across all consoles and PCs a better experience with the game.

Q: You have said there would be free DLC for the game in ‘early 2021’, will this be impacted by improvements?

A: We’re still planning on releasing free DLC for the game, just like with The Witcher 3. However, we have decided that our priority is working on the most important fixes and updates. We will be releasing free DLC afterwards — we’ll have more to say about that in the coming months.

Q: When can we expect the next-gen update for Cyberpunk 2077?

A: For those who are playing the game on next-gen consoles via backwards compatibility, we are planning the free, next-gen update for Cyberpunk 2077 on Xbox Series consoles, and PlayStation 5, this year. We’re aiming for the second half of the year and we’ll reveal more when we have more to share.

Q: Are you making the team crunch to work on the patches?

A: 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.

Q: When is the game coming back to PlayStation Store?

A: We are working on fixes and updates, and are working with Sony to bring Cyberpunk 2077 back to PlayStation Store as soon as possible.

Q: What is the status of the Help Me Refund initiative?

A: The initiative is progressing according to plan and we just sent out the first wave of reimbursements.

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