It’s been two weeks since Cyberpunk 2077 officially released. In my initial impressions, I wrote that I was ready for everyone—developer CD Projekt Red, the studio’s PR people, fans—to stop talking about the game and just let me play it. I’ve been playing steadily since before launch, but weeks later, it feels like there’s barely room in the conversation to talk about the game itself.
Of course, talking about what’s inside Cyberpunk is hard if you can’t stomach its content, can’t play it for your physical health, or can’t make it work on your console. After a long cycle of pre-release hype, social media missteps, and crunch, Cyberpunk freefell out of the gate by giving one journalist a seizure. Its post-release life has been about the game’s poor performance on consoles, so rife with bugs and crashes that CDPR offered refunds. This declaration basically amounted to the studio simply saying players could refund it, leading to console-makers and retail stores taking matters into their own hands. In addition to offering refunds, Sony took the extreme step of removing the game from the PlayStation store altogether. Many people who could actually run the game were disappointed by its lack of promised features and how little it resembled what CDPR had spent years promoting. Meetings between CDPR management and investors and management and staff suggest a mishandled project, a host of unrealistic expectations, and something between willful ignorance and intentional deception to hide the game’s abysmal state.
Meanwhile, the conversation about the game went just as disastrously as the game’s launch. Some fans bombarded reviewers with hate and harassment for giving the game low scores or for pointing out it gave them a seizure, then changed their tune post-release to bombard reviewers with hate and harassment for scoring it too high. Some fans, and even critics, felt the press were complicit with CDPR in hiding the game’s poor performance. (From what I could see, the hiding was very much done by the publisher. CDPR only offered the better-performing PC version for review, and restricted when reviewers could show their own video; while the lack of console code certainly made us at Kotaku wonder what was up, no reviewer that I know of had any special insight into the console version, nor did CDPR seem to impose any restrictions that would prevent a reviewer from giving their honest assessment of the game or talking about its bugs.)