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Cyberpunk 2077 Released

Previously published Feb 26. 2021
Trusted Reviews

Previously published Feb 26. 2021

Warning: Cyberpunk 2077 is rated M (Mature) and 17+, with warnings for intense violence with blood and gore, strong language, the use of drugs and alcohol, and nudity. Although the article does not discuss or show these features, online searches about this game may reveal references to said mature features.

There are spoilers in this article.

Cyberpunk 2077 was one of the most hyped and anticipated games of 2020. Having spent 8 years in development and its developer, CD Projekt Red, having won numerous awards for their first original game series, The Witcher, fans of the studio were on the edge of the seat as the game neared its supposed release date even as COVID-19 pushed development back a few months. The dystopian roleplaying game even stars Keanu Reeves, as if there wasn’t already enough excitement engulfing it.

But now, Cyberpunk2077 has been released for 2 months and has left a hole of unfulfilled satisfaction among gamers. What happened? Why did the game fall short of expectations, and what was the journey it took from idea to release?

I. CD Projekt Red’s Background

CD Projekt Red is a Polish video game developer studio under the video game developer, distributor, and publisher CD Projekt. CD Projekt was founded in 1994 by Marcin Iwiński and Michał Kicińskim, initially focused on distributing foreign games. In 2002, CD Projekt Red was founded to develop their original game, The Witcher, based on The Witcher book series written by Andrzej Sapkowski. The Witcher video game series (The Witcher, The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and following DLC’s) have in total garnered hundreds of awards and have been adapted into a TV series (The Witcher (2019)). They also developed the REDEngine, a game engine that helped them stay afloat during the financial crisis of 2007-2008.

In May 2020, CD Projekt became the most valuable video game company in Europe with successful sales from The Witcher 3 and enthusiasm from The Witcher TV series and Cyberpunk 2077’s near release.

II. Cyberpunk 2077’s Development

Cyberpunk 2077’s development began in 2012, drawing its influence from the manga Ghost in the Shell and 1982 film Blade Runner, though the game is mainly based on Mike Pondsmith’s roleplaying game Cyberpunk. The game’s budget was $3.13 million (1.2 billion Polish zlotych), making it one of the most expensive games ever developed. Pre-production began in 2016 following The Witcher: Wild Hunt – Blood and Wine’s release.

CD Projekt Red partnered with Nvidia, QLOC, Jali Research, Digital Scapes, and urban planners to design Night City and implement specific game features. Night City was designed concerning Brutalism, a style of architecture from post-WWII England that encapsulates minimalist, monochrome buildings emphasizing structure over decoration. Marcello Gandini’s vehicle designs inspired vehicles in the 1980s’-90s. The Witcher 3’s composer Marcin Przybyłowicz wrote Cyberpunk 2077’s score, composing over 7 hours of music with quest-specific customizations.

III. Cyberpunk 2077 Release

Cyberpunk 2077 was initially supposed to be released in the Summer of 2020. However, after being postponed twice because of COVID-19, the highly anticipated game finally dropped on December 10. The delays gave the developers extra time to “finish playtesting, fixing, and polishing” the game for the new PS5 and Xbox X. Although the setback went unnoticed by players, the updates likely improved the quality of Cyberpunk 2077.

IV. Cyberpunk 2077 Reception and Controversy

Primarily focusing on the newer consoles and computers, Cyberpunk played smoothly the PS5, Xbox, and high-end pcs. However, CD Projekt attempted to expand their compatibility by running their game on older generations consoles such as the PS4 and Xbox One. Many gamers still own this generation of consoles due to the competitive demand and price for the newer consoles, so it could largely increase their sales.

However, the game was too demanding for the incapable CPU and memory on these consoles. On Amazon and other sites, Cyberpunk received several 1 stars since it frequently crashed and blacked out. Even though it could run on newer generation consoles and PCs, many fans were disappointed because of the annoying glitches, which would ruin the experience. The most common glitches are floating in or under the ground, characters and objects losing their shape, and enemies becoming overpowered with infinite health and gun power. Thus, customers do not recommend buying Cyberpunk (especially if you are not older than 18) on old consoles.

The game also received backlash from the transgender community regarding how V’s pronouns are tied to their voice; high-pitched voice meant she/her pronouns, while a deeper voice meant he/him pronouns, with no nonbinary pronouns choice. Although there are body modifications allowed and the game included transgender people in Night City, much of the transgender representation was high sexualized, and there was still little to no representation of gender non-conforming people. The bartender Claire, voiced by a trans woman, is one of few well-represented transgender people.

V. Opinion: Was it worth the hype?

So was Cyberpunk 2077 worth all the hype it received? The short answer is no. It had so many desired features that few other games do not have, such as the ability to recall your car. The graphics also differentiate it from similar video games such as Watch Dogs and GTA V. The main reason the game is not enjoyable is the glitches and compatibility issues. To get the game, players need an expensive and highly in-demand PC or console, restricting many fans from affording it. After getting a good PC or console, the irritating glitches can either make the experience frustrating or laughable, as some errors kill V, and others are more subtle and silly. The free world can be compared to GTA V’s map since both have a city and desert. However, Cyberpunk has a tighter divide between the two areas while players will have to drive for a while to go to the city from sandy locations. This video (DO NOT WATCH IF UNDER 18) does a good job exhibiting how ridiculous and random some glitches can be.

The storyline, world, and Night City’s lore were detailed and generally enjoyable, although it lacks nuance. The game’s central idea surrounds an anti-corporation, anti-elitist sentiment in an unregulated, crime-ridden dystopian city—an idea that can easily slip into cliche and overuse without unique characters or a unique plot. Cyberpunk 2077 managed to create a coherent storyline with V and Silverhand’s journey, although it lacks depth or true novelty. The characters kill and fulfill tasks and try to survive, but there is little uniqueness that would truly create a “wow, that’s a brilliant concept/story” moment.

Despite their shortfalls in plot writing, the world-building and lore were quite enjoyable. Night City was detailed and diverse with its own set of lore and encapsulated the well-known “cyberpunk” aesthetic without losing too much novelty. It includes paradisal palm-tree resorts—really capturing the essence of Los Angeles—and empty deserts used for wind energy to break up the crowded, smoky, neon-lighted cityscape that can easily get repetitive (which seem to resemble Central Valley). The color palette shift between day and night—from yellow, brown, off-white, and orange palettes that strongly resemble Brutalism with a touch of grimy landfills visible during the daytime to black, neon violet, cyan, and red, similar to Japanese cyberpunk style at night—create two contrasting moods of the city. The “Welcome to Night City” website further brings the city to life with descriptions of tourist attractions, city culture, history, city politics, etc. Overall, Night City as a world is wonderfully built and diverse, while the storyline was rather plain and lacking.

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Aman Varshney
Aman Varshney, Staff Writer

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