CD Projekt Red co-founder Marcin Iwinski attributed development challenges to the rocky release of Cyberpunk 2077, which received criticism from reviewers and players for its bugs and glitches after its December launch.
In a video released Wednesday by the polish video game developer, Iwinski acknowledged just how expansive the open world role-playing game is, not just in terms of quests, but customizable elements, interactivity systems and mechanics. He then identified the in-game streaming system as the “main culprit” of problems for the game, which was buggy for gamers playing on older consoles.
“When I started CD Projekt 25 years ago, one of its founding principles was honest and direct communication with gamers,” said Iwinski at the beginning of the video. “When CD Projekt Red, the game development part of CD Projekt was born, it added something important to the principal, the ambition to make the best games in the world. It became our mission and something that guides us up until now.”
Iwinski acknowledged that Cyberpunk 2077, which received favorable reviews on PC, “did not meet the quality standard we wanted it to meet.” He apologized for this, asking that viewers don’t fault any team members for what happened. “They all are incredibly talented and hard working. Myself and the board are the final decision makers, and it was our call to release the game.”
Following the consumer backlash to Cyberpunk, Sony pulled the game from the PlayStation Store and offered full refunds. Microsoft offered refunds to customers who downloaded the game via the Microsoft Store and experienced issues playing it on the Xbox One. CD Projekt Red apologized at that time, pledging to release updates to fix the issues in coming months.
In terms of the huge scope, Iwinski explained that “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 PC’s and then adjusting it to consoles — especially old gens.”
While things did not look “super difficult” at first, Iwinski said that, in time, it became clear that the team underestimated the task at hand. Specifically, the in-game streaming system had to be constantly improved due to streaming being responsible for “feeding” the engine with all the details seen on screen, as well as the game mechanics. This was a “constant challenge,” he explained, as every change needed to be tested.
He continued that the PC launch on Dec. 10 was “not perfect,” but a version of the game that CD Projekt Red is proud of. On old-gen consoles, they had to “fight for quality.” The fact that all the work was completed remotely due to COVID-19 restrictions, via video calls or over email, provided another challenge for the developer.
Looking forward, Iwinski said that he and the team will be working hard to ensure that trust is restored with consumers. He noted that three hotfixes have already been released to improve the game on consoles, but the ultimate goal is “to fix the bugs and crashes gamers are experiencing across platforms.” Players can expect “bigger and smaller patches” on a regular basis, with the first of these updates dropping within the next ten days. In the following weeks, another “more significant” update will be released.
Beyond that, the game will continue to be worked on with the most important updates and fixes released first, followed by DLC content. “For those of you playing on next-gen consoles in backward compatibility, you can still expect the free next-gen update for Xbox Series consoles and PlayStation 5 arriving in 2021.”
View the entire video below.
Below, you’ll find CD PROJEKT’s co-founder’s personal explanation of what the days leading up to the launch of Cyberpunk 2077 looked like, sharing the studio’s perspective on what happened with the game on old-generation consoles. pic.twitter.com/XjdCKizewq
— Cyberpunk 2077 (@CyberpunkGame) January 13, 2021