The redemption of “Cyberpunk 2077”

Wade Wiser, Contributing Writer

In 2013, CD Projekt Red announced that “Cyberpunk 2077” was in development. Flying cars, technologically enhanced humans, and an overall dystopian feel fed the hype for the game almost immediately. It seemed that “Cyberpunk” was shaping up to be yet another remarkable game, as CD Projekt Red, mostly known for the critically acclaimed “The Witcher” game franchise, which scored nines across the board from Gamespot, IGN, and Pocket-Innit. 

And then nothing—for five years. Finally, during the Xbox “E3 2018” conference, CD Projekt Red showed off a brand new trailer for the game. The prospect of exploring a higher advanced society, where “Cyber-enhancements”and modified humans was the norm created new buzz for the game. Even though five years had passed since its initial announcement, no set release date was shown, which led some fans to wonder if the game would ever truly come out. 

Yet another year passed without news. At “E3 2019” CD Projekt Red debuted another trailer for the game. This one was triple the length of all the other trailers. It showed off characters, the Night City setting, and saved one big reveal for the end – Keanu Reeves would be voicing and lending his face to a major character in the game. The crowd went even more wild when Keanu came up on the stage, leading to the famous “No, you’re breathtaking!” clip. And finally, they announced an April 16th, 2020 release date.

Then came the delays. First, until September of 2020. Then November of the same year. Fans weren’t happy, but figured all that extra time was going into the making of a masterpiece. Finally, after seven years, CD Projekt Red released the new game on December 10.  

It was a disaster of global proportions. Cyberpunk 2077’s release was an event that went down in infamy in the gaming community. It was littered with bugs that made the game unplayable, and it even made someone’s computer literally explode (luckily, no one was harmed). There was no warning for the game’s excessive use of flashing lights. And it was unplayable on the PS4 and Xbox One, so players on these consoles essentially wasted $60 on a game they could not play until they got next generation consoles. Many PC gamers, myself included, immediately returned the game. After its abysmal launch, CD Projekt Red made statements about their commitment to quality, and promised to fix its many problems in the future. And that’s where a lot of people left Cyberpunk: on the sidelines as a game they might never touch again.

And then, a plot twist: A year and a half later CD Projekt Red released an anime titled “Cyberpunk: Edgerunners” to massive critical acclaim, some even saying that despite it only being ten episodes, it was a nominee for anime of the year. Lifted by its outstanding animation, compelling story, and lovable characters, it was a redemption arc that no one saw coming. 

This brought many old and new fans back into the game. It had little to no bugs, and people were not having trouble running it. The game even added references to the anime, even though they weren’t massive additions to the experience, it brought even more fans of the anime to play the game. Word continued to spread about the game, and its player base kept growing. The game even hit its peak for most concurrent players on PC – that being a whopping 830,000 players. Finally, after all this time, CD Projekt Red created the game it had promised nearly a decade earlier.