I was recently reading my friend Jane Park’s great article about playing Cyberpunk 2077, a game about a character with a medical condition, while he himself is currently battling cancer. It’s a great read, and I found Jin to be a rare clan spirit in his love for Cyberpunk, or at least what she’s become. Later, in further discussion, he equated it with “already playing” GTA 6. Previously, I made the argument that it is actually better than GTA 5 in a myriad of ways.
Over a year and a half after its release now, Cyberpunk 2077 continues to stay with me. Not only in terms of the game itself, which I played in the early days when it was very buggy, but in terms of could It was my CDPR executive not kicking him out the door very well before he was ready.
That’s right, Cyberpunk had already experienced a number of significant delays by the time it was released in December 2020, however with another major one, another year, I think we could have seen the full story about the game’s transformation, which is perhaps the whole industry changed, into Somewhat.
I think people forget how much hype there was around Cyberpunk 2077 prior to its release. That was enough to drive the game to an absolutely unexpected sales of 13.7 million in the last three weeks of December, a total so staggering that Elden Ring didn’t match last year in the same time period. Those are, for lack of a better comparison point, the Grand Theft Auto numbers.
The point is, if Cyberpunk debuted in better shape, I really think we could live in an industry with a legitimate competitor to Rockstar’s GTA series. The interest was there, and the early sales were there. And a year or so later, the full actual game was in there as well. But the window has already been lost, and reputational damage, for both CDPR and Cyberpunk itself, has occurred.
I don’t think everyone has been following how much has been patched with Cyberpunk 2077 since its release. Not only are there thousands upon thousands of bug fixes and performance upgrades, they’ve re-balanced the economy, difficulty level, combat, and driving controls, basically every major aspect of the game.
That’s right, some things were never fixed, like a powerful police wanted system or real car chases of any kind, which are the categories GTA still wins. But Cyberpunk, once you’re no longer battling wacky bugs or really bad performance issues, caused Sony to pillage it from the PlayStation Store, become a really cool thing, and truly become the most meaningful crime-city sandbox entry since any other GTA title. Nothing else is particularly close.
This, combined with the apparent interest in the game, could have created a future in which Cyberpunk reached success in Holiday 2021, thousands of bugs disappeared, it performed well on all platforms, and QoL changes were made. CDPR could not have shed 80% of its stock price, as industry confidence fled it after the release. Cyberpunk could have produced more DLC earlier, instead of spending a year and a half just fixing things. We could have had two major expansions instead of just one. The multiplayer game that was planned may not have been canceled. And Cyberpunk 2 may have been a priority rather than just an open question now, that Can We can see it one day once The Witcher 4 comes out five more years later, or whatever that will be. Cyberpunk would have been one of the most famous and popular IP addresses of the generation.
With only one year.
I really believe in that. Anyway, go play it now, and wonder what it could be.
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