In the video game industry, the trajectory of a game can pivot from a disastrous release to a resounding success, given a lot of time, effort, and care - Cyberpunk 2077 stands as a testament to this.
A title that, despite its initial stumbles, has gone on to prove that perseverance and dedication to quality can make all the difference.
After nearly three arduous years and close to 560k reviews on Steam, CD Projekt RED's futuristic RPG has achieved the impossible: an overall "Very Positive" review score with 80% player approval, as per SteamDB - a slight but still marked improvement over its rating as recently as two months ago.
Recall the early days of the release of Cyberpunk 2077, despite being deemed as the best on PC compared to consoles, was caught in a web of controversies. The game's buggy gameplay, omitted features, and unmet high expectations led to an unfavorable reception. Yet, from this adversity arose a redemption arc akin to No Man's Sky, setting the stage for one of gaming's most commendable comebacks.
For almost two years, the CD Projekt RED team committed to optimizing the game's performance, squashing tens of thousands of bugs, and enhancing gameplay elements. One cannot ignore the visually stunning "Overdrive" ray-tracing mode that solidified Cyberpunk 2077's position as perhaps the most visually mesmerizing PC game currently available.
However, it's pertinent to note that at its core, Cyberpunk was never as flawed of a game as the prevailing narrative on the internet suggested. Even though it's not as bustling as expected, Night City remains bursting with character and in a class that's arguably on its own in terms of detail and depth. The intrinsic narrative and the intriguing side-storylines are a showcase of its intricate storytelling. The protagonist, V, delivers an unparalleled first-person performance, a proof of exceptional game-acting. The initial stumbling blocks were not the game's essence but the glitches and performance issues that plagued its debut.
Looking ahead, the Cyberpunk 2077 journey isn't at its climax. The forthcoming expansion, Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty, slated for a September 26 release, isn't a mere content addition. It's a reflection of the lessons learned, a grand project with a budget surpassing even that of The Witcher: Blood and Wine.
Expect overhauls ranging from intricate skill trees to a more intelligent police AI, aiming to further elevate Cyberpunk 2077's standing. But, that's not all. The next free Cyberpunk 2077 update will completely overhaul the game, turning it into something that's more likely to resemble what everyone envision the game was going to be all these years instead of the paltry imitation that we all got.
What could be the reason for this upswing? Is it the hard work and effort of CD Projekt RED to fix Cyberpunk 2077? Or was it the premiere of Cyberpunk: Edgerunners? Maybe it's the hype surrounding the release of the Cyberpunk 2.0 update and/or the Phantom Liberty expansion?
The truth is that it's a mix of all of these, and, at the end of the day, what matters is that Cyberpunk 2077 is finally close to peaking.
Contemplating a "what if" scenario can be intriguing. What if CD Projekt RED had postponed Cyberpunk 2077's release by a couple of years? Perhaps the gaming community would have been greeted with a product that matched its hype from day one. But then again, consider the potential uproar if the game were announced exclusively for the Xbox Series S/X and the PlayStation 5, rendering it inaccessible for older hardware users.
Ultimately, the story of Cyberpunk 2077 is an inspiring lesson in commitment and redemption. It's a testament to CD Projekt RED's tenacity, who, despite the early backlash, polished their vision to create a gem that shines brighter than ever.