CD Projekt Red management seems hell bent on completing their speedrun of 'how to wipe away years of good faith' with the most recent announcement that Cyberpunk 2077 is delayed once again, this time to December 10, following multiple promises that the November 19 date would be final.
Though unfortunate, the response of the fandom was far too extreme, involving some death threats being thrown at the developers - who, incidentally, learned of the delay at the same time as us.
There is a lot to unpack here, and none of it nice.
The air of blissful excitement around Cyberpunk 2077 has become quite tainted these past few weeks, starting with another broken promise: despite vowing to avoid forcing workers into crunch, CD Projekt Red revealed earlier that mandatory crunch would be enforced until the game's release.
As problematic as this was, things didn't seem too bad at first glance, until employees revealed that most have effectively been working under crunch conditions for months or more. At least there was a clear and defined end-date for the crunch time, right?
Wrong - not only does this delay push the alleged end of the development crunch out to December 10, employees revealed that post-launch patch development would also be done under crunch conditions. This all brings to question how exactly the game "went gold" earlier this month.
CDPR has clarified at the game's PC version is ready, but the next-gen console ports need additional polishing. The term "gone gold" has been muddied, and players are understandably frustrated that it doesn't quite mean what it used to - i.e. that the game is complete - since day zero and day one patches have become the norm.
Another glaring issue here is the fact that the developers themselves learned about the delay the same day as everyone else, and the same way - from the news. The utter lack of internal communication in CDPR about such a significant decision is appalling, and following the mandatory crunch and less than ideal working conditions described by some developers on Reddit, this is only helping the company towards losing its "good guy" status that was carefully built over the years.
Not all of the onus is on them, however.
Angry fans decided the most appropriate reaction to news of this delay is to send death threats to the people working under the duress of crunch to finish this game. Now, even if the developers were squarely to blame, under no circumstances is sending death threats near the same ballpark as "acceptable" or "appropriate". This is a video game. However, this isn't the fault of the developers, who - as we stated above - only learned of the delay alongside us.
A screenshot has been making the rounds of the official Cyberpunk 2077 Twitter account "fully confirming" the November 19 release date to a fan asking about it, because they took a day off from work for it. The reply was posted one day before the delay announcement. The social media team didn't know about it either.
Since the controversy around this issue came to a boil, CDPR has given some statements - including some that make them seem even worse.
CD Projekt Red’s CEO Adam Kicinski and VP of Business Development, Michał Nowakowski spoke to investors recently and stated that they are aiming for a score of 90+ on Metacritic, which is the main reason they chose to delay the game again.
Large game companies gauging the quality of their product by Metacritic scores has been a problem plaguing the industry for years now, with some even enacting policies where developer bonuses are calculated based on Metacritic scores, ignoring the fact that such immense, nuanced experiences can hardly be distilled to one number that accurately represents their worth and value.
This controversy is one that could have very easily been avoided, or at least mitigated, with a bare minimum of communication on the part of CD Projekt Red's management and self restraint on the part of the players. The developers are caught between a toxic workplace and a toxic fandom, crunching to satisfy and arbitrary number that will undoubtedly be skewed by inflated expectations due to hype and bitterness due to delays. The team here at Xfire hopes they're doing well.
Cyberpunk 2077 launches on the 10th of December, 2020.