At the end of 2020, one of the most highly anticipated games of the generation was released to mixed reviews. CD Projekt Red's Cyberpunk 2077 ran great, beautifully even, on high-end PCs - but it also glitched and crashed extensively on past-gen consoles. It became the most controversial release of the year, rather than the most wildly celebrated, and CDPR has had to come to terms with the fact the game needed more work to run on outgoing hardware.
The team has now released a video that gives us a little more context on what was going on at CD Projekt Red in the days leading up to Cyberpunk 2077's release, and why the performance of the game was so poor on certain platforms. Marcin Iwiński, co-founder of CDPR, talks in a new video which begins with the leadership team, including himself, taking the blame for the issues the game experienced upon release. It was their "call to release the game" in that state, and the teams on the project shouldn't be blamed for that.
The co-founder then goes on to talk about what the situation looked like from the inside, albeit in very limited detail. "Cyberpunk 2077 is huge in scope. And I'm not only talking about quests or things you see at first glance, I'm talking about 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. On its own this is a challenge, but we made it even more difficult for ourselves by 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. We knew the hardware gap, yes, but ultimately, I think that time has proven that we've underestimated the task."
Iwiński goes on to explain a big task they underestimated was the streaming system which is "responsible for 'feeding' the engine with what you see on screen, as well as the game mechanics". It's also apparently the culprit for many of the problems you see on-screen on old-gen systems like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
The developer also addresses the controversial review process. Reviews for the game were largely geared towards PC rather than console because PC review codes were the only ones available up until 48 hours before the full release of the game. When a game can be over 100 hours long (well, contain that much content - you can beat the game a lot quicker), this is obviously not enough time to release a full review of the title. Ergo, many consumers were looking at PC reviews when thinking of buying the game on old-gen hardware - versions of a different, significantly lower quality.
Iwiński says: "We were fighting for quality on old-gen consoles until the very last moment, and every extra day of us working on the day-zero update brought visible improvement. This is why we started sending console review keys on the 8th of December, which was later than we originally planned." This comment is aimed at clearing up some accusations of trying to mislead consumers on the quality of the game on consoles, we assume.
The video closes out with a timeline showing the plans for Cyberpunk 2077, up until 2022. There are already hotfixes in place to deal with some of the issues that gamers have been experiencing, but there will be further updates and eventual free DLC in 2021.
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