CD Projekt Red, a developer whose stock has sagged 40 percent since it launched the long-awaited, much-hyped Cyberpunk 2077, has finally acknowledged that it launched an unacceptable, execrable product as far as the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are concerned.
To quickly recap: Prior to the launch of CP2077, CDPR refused to give out game codes for anything but the PC version. On launch day, gamers found out why. The game is horribly blurred on last-gen consoles. Its TAA implementation doesn’t appear to work effectively at the 720p (or less) resolution that last-gen consoles maintain, and the game looks far worse than other open-world titles that have debuted for last-gen consoles.
The company has now released a statement (shown above), in which it claims it “should have paid more attention to making the game play better on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One,” but neglects to mention that its own surveys showed a full 41 percent of the player base was going to pick the game up for console.
Piractwo ? Jakie piractwo 😀 gratulacje #CDProjekt
— Leniwiec (@WVasaio) December 10, 2020
Here’s another tweet that’s aged exceptionally well:
We are truly humbled that so many of you trusted us and decided to support #Cyberpunk2077 before the release! Even 8 million thank yous isn’t enough! The journey has just begun and we are hard at work on the upcoming fixes and updates to the game. See you in Night City! pic.twitter.com/ycIe2kN0Zq
— Cyberpunk 2077 (@CyberpunkGame) December 10, 2020
Let’s do some math: 8 million pre-orders, 41 percent of them on console. That’s 3.2M sales, and since we’re talking preorders, those sales are to gamers who expect to play on Xbox One / PS4 hardware.
Cyberpunk 2077 Is Not a Next-Gen Game
It’s important to note here that CP2077 is not, and was never intended as, a next-gen game to showcase the performance of the PS5 and Xbox Series X. While ray tracing might be a natural, obvious fit for the neon-drenched streets of Night City, the next-generation enhancements that are supposed to be baked into Cyberpunk 2077 won’t arrive until next year. This game began development in 2012, and the Xbox One and PS4 were the mainstream consoles for its development. CDPR certainly indicated it would enhance the game for next-gen consoles, but it never declared that CP2077 was going to be a next-gen title. If it was, the next-generation enhancements would already be baked in, and both Microsoft and Sony would be prominently pointing to it as a launch game, as opposed to acknowledging that true next-gen games are yet to arrive.
Xbox Series S owners appear to get a hybrid mode between the terrible Xbox One S version and the full Xbox Series X implementation. Eurogamer writes: “Resolution is clearly much, much lower – it can run beneath 1080p. However, the resolution bounds also increase beyond PS5’s best, reaching around 1296p. More to the point, it retains most — if not all — of the quality mode advantages, meaning that you get the higher vehicle count and crowd density, plus features like ambient occlusion. It’s still a somewhat blurry and grainy presentation overall though.”
It’s good that the Xbox Series S gets a hybrid mode, here. Microsoft’s declaration that the Xbox Series S would receive the base Xbox One version of any previous-generation game rather than a reduced-detail variant of the Xbox Series X version, never made sense. It may be that CP2077 will turn out to be an exception rather than the rule, as far as Xbox support, but we’re still glad to see that the XSS got something better than warmed-over awful.
While CDPR hopes that you don’t request a refund, ExtremeTech recommends a different policy: All PS4 / Xbox One console players should request refunds. By the time the game is actually patched up for you to play it sometime in Feb, the price will likely have dropped or the hype will have worn off and you can make a decision as to whether you’d rather have this title or something else in the first place. You can buy a game from a developer that respects you enough not to deliberately obfuscate the abominable state of their game to avoid the terror of justly-deserved bad reviews, or you can reward their behavior. Given that the developer already prominently promised not to crunch its developers, only to turn around and treat them to months of crunch, I’d say CDPR has already forfeited its chance to request any trust from anyone. It lies to its developers. It lies to its customers. I’d treat this promise with exactly the level of credibility the company deserves: none whatsoever.
This kind of garbage, “Who cares if one platform gets an utterly terrible experience?” approach was inexcusable when Warner Bros forced Arkham Knight out the door, and it’s just as wrong when it happens to console players. If you can’t be arsed to fix your game for a platform, delay the launch for that platform, or actually demonstrate some credibility and don’t launch the product at all.
Offering a refund is great and all, but CDPR knew exactly what they were doing and did it on purpose. This is not a case of “We discovered a flaw at the last second and want to make it up to you.” This is “We got caught doing something we fully intended to do, and are hoping our minimal apology will keep you from punishing us for it.”