Today, CD Projekt Red released the once-delayed Patch 1.2 for their controversial yet still-successful RPG, Cyberpunk 2077.
The update, which is an absolute monster coming in at over 35 GB and fixing well over a hundred bugs comes right on the heels of a pretty legitimate looking DLC leak, which have put the buzz back into the community - but how is the game doing, really?
Despite the inordinate amount of hype surrounding the futuristic open world role playing game, and the magnitude of the fallout and controversy that followed one of the most botched AAA game launches in the history of the industry, discussion and news about the title sizzled out quite fast. Before the double whammy of the patch and leak, you couldn't see much of the embattled blockbuster in the headlines throughout March or February.
With the status quo well and truly shaken up, let's take a look at where Cyberpunk 2077 is now and where it is headed along the revised roadmap, and what players can expect to change.
What was wrong?
In case you somehow missed the immense crapstorm that gripped gaming media throughout December 2020 and much of January, the gist is that after multiple delays, reports of severe crunch despite a promise to avoid it and years of extreme hype, CD Projekt Red released Cyberpunk 2077 in a troubled state - even unplayable, if you were trying to jump into Night City on certain consoles.
Cyberpunk 2077 was weighed down by an immense quantity of bugs, many game-breaking, alongside severe performance issues on every platform with consoles hit hardest. For many players the game was essentially unplayable - this term gets thrown around a lot hyperbolically by angry gamers, but here it was actually valid in many cases - on Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
Alongside severe issues impacting or preventing gameplay, fans noticed that Cyberpunk 2077 lacked many features that it was supposed to contain according to developers leading up to launch. All of these combined issues led to some pretty drastic measures.
Sony removed the game from the PlayStation Store (exactly 100 days ago today, actually) and in an unprecedented move offered full refunds, no questions asked. Microsoft followed suit in offering refunds, as did many other retailers. One investor went on to file a class action lawsuit against CD Projekt for their handling of Cyberpunk 2077. The legal battle is still on-going.
The company responded with a public apology and a revised post-launch roadmap, placing the emphasis on whipping the game into shape before moving forward with additional content. Long before the game was released we already knew from the developers that there would be a Free DLC Program akin to what was seen in The Witcher 3, alongside major paid expansions rolling out later on - not to mention the release of multiplayer in a distant future.
How are things now?
Better! We're not quite there yet, but the state of Cyberpunk 2077 is definitely closer to what players were expecting - this conclusion would surely not be as rosy had the article been written before the release of Patch 1.2.
With delays practically being a 'tradition' for the game, it's nice to see that this major bug-fixing patch managed to roll out after just one delay. Of course, the revised roadmap also delayed the planned rollout for all additional content. The Free DLC Program should have kicked off sometime in January, and here we are at the end of March with nothing in sight - just as well, the base game ought to be cleaned up before the developers think of adding more stuff that has the potential to break.
Cyberpunk 2077's disappearance from the spotlight, while sudden, was to be expected. After the flash-fire outrage among the fans and the quick succession of newsworthy fallout, there was not much left to be said until CDPR started fixing things. Had the game launched in a better state, we probably would have continued to hear about it plenty, since that idealized scenario implies the Free DLC Program not being delayed. Alas, controversy is fleeting, and the game is likely only going to pop up for the next few months whenever a patch is released, pushing it closer and closer to an ideal state.
It seems that performance issues on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 persist, which were among the outstanding issues from day one. Various gameplay related bugs on all platforms have been patched today - with the fixes numbering well over 100, all players ought to experience significant and noticeable improvements, but it still may not be completely smooth sailing. Performance on PC and the newest consoles should be markedly improved as well.
Hopefully Patch 1.2 didn't introduce any new game-breaking or save file corrupting bugs like previous patches.
Cyberpunk 2077 remains unavailable via the PlayStation Store.
Where is Cyberpunk 2077 headed?
While there is no way to know what exactly the future holds for Cyberpunk 2077 - if we'd have the ability of prescience we'd use it for more interesting ends - all the potential for a redemption story is right here. There have been several games throughout the storied past of the industry that launched to as much ire and controversy as Cyberpunk 2077 only to get fixed up after, going on to become great, sometimes even beloved titles. Games like No Man's Sky, Final Fantasy XIV, Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (the EA one) and most recently Fallout 76 come to mind - with the last one being a particularly surprising twist.
With Patch 1.2 live, we have stepped into the more nebulous "Multiple Updates & Improvements" portion of the revised roadmap that CD Projekt Red shared earlier this year which looks like it will include the release of the Free DLC Program as well as the promised Next-Gen Console Update, spanning the whole remainder of the year.
Patch 1.2 did wonders for the game, but it isn't the end of the road with many more bugs and performance issues waiting to be fixed, but if CDPR can keep to this current roadmap, it's possible that Cyberpunk 2077 will be in a good state by the end of the year in technical terms.
While it may be a little early to start thinking about DLC, there is a subset of players who were and are lucky enough to experience little to no issues with the game, reportedly. Likely a minority considering the widespread documentation of rampant bugs and glitches, these players would definitely appreciate the new content offered in the Free DLC Program nonetheless.
Since the recently posted leak showing DLC listings on the Epic Games Store suggests that the free updates aren't as small as once thought, these DLCs rolling out could be the saving grace of Cyberpunk 2077. As opposed to truly minor tidbits like the odd weapon here, new piece of cyberware there, maybe one minor quest, it seems that CDPR is using the free DLCs as a means of rolling out larger features and game mechanics that had to be cut from the initial release, which they since had time to implement properly.
Listings include updates titled "Gangs of Night City", "Body of Chrome" and "Ripperdocs expansion", among others, suggesting there will be quite substantial quality-of-life, customization and functional improvements involved with these expansions, all of which will be free for owners of the game. It also seems like CD Projekt Red has rearranged some of the content, as the originally reported 18 pieces of free DLC is down to 10, while we're now looking at 3 major paid expansions instead of 2.
The most likely explanation is that, though the start of the Free DLC Program was delayed, CDPR might be keen on keeping the original end-date, meaning they revised the release schedule to be tighter. To make up for lost time, some updates were collated, meaning there is the same amount of actual content in the program, but it is distributed in 10 bigger chunks instead of 18 smaller ones. Of course, the cynical fan might think that the 8 "missing" DLC got repacked as the third paid expansion, but there is no evidence to suggest this - and the negative PR that such an underhanded move would inevitably cause is the last thing CD Projekt Red needs right now.
Meanwhile, it seems that multiplayer has fallen off the end of the roadmap entirely, though with all the delays this is to be expected. The multiplayer mode was never the primary focus of Cyberpunk 2077, and even originally was planned to release at least a full year after the game. Right now, our best guess is not to expect it before the latter half of 2022 - though maybe 2023 is a safer bet.
As disastrous as the launch was, and as loud the voices of the critics are (deservedly, all things considered), CD Projekt Red has everything it needs to turn Cyberpunk 2077 into a real success, and a game remembered as one of the medium's most unlikely redemption stories.
If FO76 did it, so can Cyberpunk 2077.
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