Christmas means nothing in the world of venture capitalism, as CD Projekt Red learned on December 24, 2020 when one of their investors filed a class-action lawsuit against the company for the less than ideal shape in which Cyberpunk 2077 launched. This was the most extreme reaction to what may be the past year's most botched video game release, and it looks to hover over the developers for months to come.
Depending on who you ask, the release of one of the most anticipated games in recent memory was anywhere between "fine" and "disastrous". Bugs were universal, and many players experience game breaking errors in high quantities including both performance issues and design mishaps. Performance was particularly troubled on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
The lawsuit came after Sony pulled Cyberpunk 2077 from the PlayStation Store and a number of major retailers enacted unconditional refund policies for the title. CD Projekt Red vowed to honor every refund request. Even accounting for refunds, Cyberpunk 2077 has sold over 13 million copies in two weeks and even more since then.
Filed by the New York-based Rosen Law Firm, the text of the lawsuit itself is pretty scathing, focusing on the worst aspects of the launch, citing the "virtually unplayable state" of the game on Xbox One and PS4 as well as the developers' 'misrepresentation' of the state the game was in to investors. The number of bugs is described as "enormous".
The stance implies that the developers presented the state of the game being much more favorable than it really was, leading investors to assume that there will be a smooth and unhindered launch as opposed to the highly controversial one they ended up with. When the problems began, there rumblings of multiple investors filing lawsuits but so far only one went through with the plan.
You can read additional details about the lawsuit here.
CDPR has offered a belated official response to the filing. The company points out that the filed suit does not specify sought damages which usually weakens a case, and declared that it would "undertake vigorous action to defend itself against any such claims". Lawsuits like these tend to drag on for a while.
If we were to hazard a guess, this will end in an out-of-court settlement. Despite the controversy, the refunds and the removals from storefronts, through the power of sheer momentum Cyberpunk 2077 is a financial success, and the drama surrounding it did little to dent sales. Bugs or no, the game is printing money, and neither the investor who filed the claim nor the developers want to waste time with lengthy legal proceedings, probably.
Many fans who remain satisfied with the state of the game claim that the issues have been blown wildly out of proportion, and are judged more harshly than they should be because of unrealistic expectations established by a very lengthy period of hype. The truth, as always, likely sits somewhere in the middle between the two stances.
We'll bring you any outstanding updates regarding this lawsuit as they develop.