*Full disclosure. I have not played Cyberpunk 2077 and won't until I get a Series X. This is just an opinion piece on all the stories/coverage I've seen about Cyberpunk*
Well now, where to start with this? The numerous release date push backs that still resulted in a sub-par experience on PS4/Xbox One? Though, I hear if you have the Pro and the One X the experience isn't as bad as base models of these 10 year old systems.And, lets face it, if you haven't upgraded to a Pro or Series X by now, do you even game?(Haha, I'm 50/50 kidding with that)
One thing that makes me seriously question CD Projekt Red's release approach is the delays they had. Did they know about the horrible experience on base PS4/Xbox One consoles and this is the sole reason Cyberpunk got pushed back as much? But they just couldn't get the 10 year old tech up to snuff in time so they just released it the way it was and hoped people would just give them a chance and wait for updates to fix it? Or, did they know the game was buggy/glitchy all around on all platforms and were just pushing the release date back in order to get their PR team ready for this debacle? Then, there's the review shenanigans we had with a YouTuber and all the MSM gaming outlets over a reviewer who clearly just blasted through the game and didn't really try out ANY of the crafting, side quests, outfits or anything that actually makes an RPG an RPG. They just powered through the story I suppose? It could be argued that even though this reviewer says they put 70hrs into the game that they did play the game...but that's like saying you just did the main story line for Skyrim and didn't touch anything else. You DID play Skyrim but did you experience Skyrim?
While I don't think this certain YouTuber should've given this person the time of day to do a segment on, it happened, and a whole bunch of drama came of it. When you're that large of a YouTuber even if you say "don't interact with these people" you know what's going to happen if you bring light to a story. If you don't realize what's going to happen do you deserve that kind of influence? Seems like maybe you'd second guess something like this knowing there's a 90% probability a shit storm will be sent towards them. And on the other end of this fiasco, the targeted harassment/reporting campaign/flagging campaign that was being aimed at this certain YouTuber was uncalled for because, at the end of the day, all this YouTuber did was report on the failure of someone to do their job(arguably, but really, come on) while they still get to sit in the Ivory Tower of game journalism and be protected because this reviewer is "one of us".
While most people are totally ignoring the fact that the news outlet this reviewer works for messed up by giving such a short time period for a review on such a huge open world game. So, can you really blame this reviewer for powering through if there's a hard deadline? Shouldn't we be ultimately blaming the gaming news outlet this journalist works for? Or did this news outlet specifically give the review to this journalist because they have such a choppy history with "woke" takes on reviews and thought it would further feed into the controversy surrounding the game already and net them even more clicks?
It just seems that by now most people should understand that a review is merely someone's opinion on the game and doesn't warrant all the negativity thrown their way, regardless of what outlet they work for. Both MSM Gaming News outlets, and big influencer channels, need to realize that their views do hold sway over a lot of people. That both of these entities(?) should take a step back and think about what they put out into the public sphere. Both have "armies" of zealot like followers that do have minds of their own and will take things to the extreme to protect/defend their idol. Just seems like there should be some responsibility on both sides to mitigate the chances of unneeded retribution by their zealot following.
Now, CD Projekt Red is giving refunds to players, their stocks tanked within the first few days of Cyberpunk's launch, there was the seizure problem the game had. It just seriously seems like CD Projekt Red dropped the ball on this launch, even with the delays Cyberpunk had.
Lets also not forget the huge trans issue that was going on with Cyberpunk as well. I don't see how this is an issue considering CD Projekt Red went through a huge painstaking process to add so much diversity to their character creation process that you could literally make ANY character type you wanted so you could feel represented. My personal take on this issue though? Was that once your character was made you are treated as pretty much normal from what I hear. That being trans, or whatever else, in this dystopian, futuristic, highly fantasized cyber-enhanced futuristic world is nothing special anymore. Even back in the day with Shadowrun on the Genesis/SNES there was a trans option. The only thing it really did for the game was open up some new dialogue options and allow you to interact better with certain characters. I don't recall any backlash for that? But isn't that the end goal though? To just be treated as normal and accepted as a whole? Not to be seen as some anomaly?
But, what's going to come of all these hiccups you might ask yourself? Absolutely nothing is going to come of it. Sure, right now you have some things happening but once the dust settles and the patches have been put out into the wild, people are still going to buy the game. CD Projekt Red made up their dev costs within the first two or three days of launch, making the benchmark for everyone involved to get their bonuses. Even with the refunds going on and the stock plummet, they're still sitting pretty. CD Projekt Red basically pulled a Bethesda on everyone. Which, I hate to admit, is fine. Thinking anything is going to happen is like thinking something is going to happen to Bethesda with all the famously bugged out launches they've had. People complain, people get refunds sometimes, totally review bomb the game, and people still line up to buy the game due to the name recognition AND the fun Bethesda games ultimately dole out after patches get released and and the modding community gets to work. I'm personally of the mindset that CD Projekt Red knows that since they gave us The Witcher series, they've reached Bethesda status in the industry and they could just release the game how it is. Then play catch up with patches while maybe taking a bit of a PR hit/financial hit but ultimately be able to withstand the storm. CD Projekt Red knows that in the long run, they'll be able to make up the financial hit they had with new sales of the game later on. After the patches are made and reviewers begin to tell their following that now the game is fixed, it's worth buying.
To be fair, however, a lot of the initial reviews we've seen were done with pre-Day 1 patched versions of the game. It seems in this day and age, to give a review of a game that we all know is going to have a Day 1 patch, is asinine or maybe even irresponsible. The way that the industry seems to work now there shouldn't be any early reviews unless the game is completely finished and isn't going to require a Day 1 update to fix issues. Which means we probably wouldn't ever get reviews of games before they release anymore. And that is fine. I'd honestly rather wait a while to get a thorough review of a game vs what is basically a polished, overly glamorized, "first impressions" review of a game disguised as an official review just so outlets can get their clicks, revenue and to fulfill some sort of contractual agreement.
In conclusion I don't think all the flak that CD Projekt Red has had over Cyberpunk is totally warranted. Yes, it was an overly hyped game, there were huge expectations right out of the gate that weren't met but do we all expect any less anymore? I also think that there was some major hubris on CD Projekt Red's behalf and I defer you back to my Bethesda comment further back in this article. All in all, this seems to be just a typical AAA title launch. We all either need to accept that these kinds of launches are the normal now(have been for the past 5 years at least) or start withholding shelling out our cash on Day 1 so it takes a while for developers/publishers to recoup their costs. Then maybe we'd start seeing more finished versions of games coming out vs having to wait a few weeks after launch to get what we all should've got on Day 1. Because cranking up a game and having to sit through a 20+gb update has become the bane of modern day gamer's existence.