For those of you familiar with my work over at fovmag.com, you will know we have been covering the whole Cyberpunk drama pretty closely. In short, this massively hyped game saw a disastrous release, filled with bugs and seeing a slew of complaints and refund demands. The latest news is that the developers behind Cyberpunk, CD Projekt, are now being sued by investors over the whole mess.
But why? What happened? How did a game almost ten years in the making end up being released with so many errors? The answer may shock you, even though it really shouldn’t. Because the answer is the same answer to many of life’s questions where drama and rage ends up being involved. That answer, is money.
See, when developers are making games, they need to stick to certain deadlines to stay within their budget. Now, do not be under any illusions here. Cyberpunk had a massive budget to play with. But the fact that it took almost ten years to see a release, meant that this huge amount of funding would be needed.
Games are tested vigorously before being made live for the fans. So, that fact that Cyberpunk was released with so many bugs still present means either one of two things. That it wasn’t sufficiently tested and CD Projekt was not aware of the issues. Or that developers chose to release it knowing the bugs were present.
Neither of these scenarios paints the developers in a positive light. But further testing, or taking time to correct the problems, would have cost more money. And it may have been money they simply did not have. Ultimately, they chose to hedge their bets and push the game live as it was. With unfortunately disastrous results.
Some gaming developers may choose to release a game before it is ready, therefore making the game playing public beta testers. They report issues as they arise, the developers fix them, and they have still met their release date and are raking in funds from sales. Is this dishonest? Or just a clever business strategy? I guess we’ll find out once the current pending lawsuit against CD Projekt is settled.
Either way, it is pretty clear from what’s happened that Cyberpunk 2077 was pushed live before it was ready, for reasons only known to the developers at this time. Hopefully there’s a lesson here, for them and for other game developers. Don’t rush. Take your time. Because short term savings can lead to long term implications; lack of trust from gamers, disappointed investors, and huge costs in repairing a live game.