Developer CD Projekt Red held a conference call late yesterday to address the shaky launch of its open-world RPG Cyberpunk 2077 on previous console generation hardware. Key members of the studio’s leadership answered pressing questions about why its performance is so dire and what plans are in place to deal with issues moving forward.
The call began with a statement from joint-CEO Adam Kiciński that essentially repeats the same information outlined in CDPR’s apology message to fans earlier this week, but there are two snippets worth highlighting.
First, an admission from the team that it made a critical errors in its launch strategy:
After 3 delays, we as the Management Board were too focused on releasing the game. We underestimated the scale and complexity of the issues, we ignored the signals about the need for additional time to refine the game on the base last-gen consoles. It was the wrong approach and against our business philosophy. On top of that, during the campaign, we showed the game mostly on PCs.
Second, the recognition that CD Projekt Red’s reputation has taken a huge hit from the fallout of Cyberpunk 2077’s launch:
This caused the loss of gamers’ trust and the reputation that we’ve been building through a big part of our lives. That’s why our first steps are solely focused on regaining those two things. We are concentrated on fixing Cyberpunk on last-gen consoles. The first substantial set of fixes was released over the weekend.
The next set of fixes will be released within the next seven days. Big updates are planned for January and February, together with smaller fixes. Of course, PC gamers will also be getting regular updates and fixes to improve the game. We will do everything possible to prove that we stick to our values.
The call then shifted gears to a Q&A session, which revealed a number of interesting takeaways.
As for the impact that CD Projekt Red’s refund offer has had on console sales, CFO Piotr Nielubowicz couldn’t offer any specific details yet because he claims the company is still collecting data. He has, however, promised sales numbers “before the holiday break.”
In response to the question of whether more developers would have sped up the final push before launch, joint-CEO Michał Nowakowski refuted the notion and suggested that had nothing to do with the situation.
When pressed about future content for the game and CDPR’s ability to produce the previously announced DLC and multiplayer modes, Adam Kiciński wasn’t ready to comment. He implored:
“At the moment please let us handle the situation, and please let us make some more assessments – that’s still ahead of us; we don’t know yet, and we’re now focused on improving Cyberpunk. We’ll discuss this early next year.”
The number of QA testers was then called into question, and Adam Kiciński did suggest that the impact of COVID-19 and stay-at-home work measures did make things tricky, but not so much that it was a major issue.
In terms of why Cyberpunk 2077 was able to pass Sony and Microsoft’s certification process despite all the technical issues, it’s suggested that both companies essentially trusted that CDPR would have the issues fixed ahead of launch. That was obviously something that failed to occur.
Notably, when asked whether Cyberpunk 2077 is actually capable of running on PS4 and Xbox One hardware even with bug fixes, Nowakowski explained that while it won’t ever look as good as next-generation and PC hardware “it will be a good, playable, stable game, without glitches and crashes…”
Iwiński later added that “by Christmas, gamers will be able to enjoy the game on (all) consoles.”
A burning question that both media and players have been asking is why Cyberpunk 2077’s PS4 and Xbox One versions weren’t showcased before launch. Marcin Iwiński offered the following explanation:
The reason is that we were updating the game on last-gen consoles until the very last minute, and we thought we’d make it in time. Unfortunately this resulted in giving it to reviewers just one day before the release, which was definitely too late and the media didn’t get the chance to review it properly. That was not intended; we were just fixing the game until the very last moment.
One final notable takeaway is that Adam Kiciński insists CDPR’s work schedule won’t continue in a crunch capacity as it has been leading up to Cyberpunk 2077’s launch. Despite a long list of issues that need resolving, the studio’s leadership acknowledges that its staff need a break:
We’re also scheduling holidays; people are tired and – regardless of the situation and regardless of patches, we will not simply continue working as before; our people need to rest a bit. We will have a strong team working on patches at least until February.
For a full transcript of the conference call, which includes additional questions and answers not detailed here, head to CDPR’s website.
Cyberpunk 2077 launched last week, Dec. 10, on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, PC, and Stadia. Twinfinite’s upcoming review of the game will publisher later this week and is based on a PS4 version of the game played on PS5 hardware.