Cyberpunk 2077 is out, and that’s the only thing people can talk about. But while many people are playing and enjoying it, many are facing a game that is broken and buggy – especially on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Over the past week, developer CD Projekt Red has tried to apologize to fans, but in the process has often affected feelings about the game and itself even more. And the company’s actions suggest that it was willing to risk its reputation as well as the reputation of its partners and reviewers for setting aside the launch of cyberpunk with unfounded criticism or further delays.
As a reviewer, from a profit point of view, I feel that CDPR is being cheated and used. And perhaps the company did not make a conscious choice to use the media to deceive fans. But that seems to be the case, especially in light of the company’s ongoing behavior towards partners such as Sony and Microsoft, and towards gamers themselves. This is also in line with the company’s recent history of transphobic and edgy marketing.
Last week, CD Project Red apologizes to fans For failing to reveal the PS4 and Xbox versions during the game’s promotional period. But the studio gave no reason as to why he made this decision – and yet had the clear motivation to only run Cyberpunk 2077 on a PC. The game is rough on PS4 and Xbox One due to a bug, but it also performs quite poorly. Forgiveness seems weak. This is the kind of thing that a company does when they know that it is easy to apologize, instead to be precise about the state of their product.
My immediate reaction to this happening is to take responsibility with the consumers. We should not spend money until we fully understand what we are buying. I still think so, but I think we should also acknowledge that CD Projek Red took every step possible to inform people without fully understanding the reality of the PS4 and Xbox One versions.
It seems that CD producer Red used critics to help fool consumers
CD Projekt Red designed the Cyberpunk 2077 review process, with the objective of getting the best possible reviews while minimizing the opportunities for media to inform their audience. The media is embroiled in this and should be part of the blame. But CDPR at least gave an opportunity for reviewers to understand what they agreed to participate in.
As someone reviewed Cyberpunk 2077, I should have been more skeptical. It is important to always check how the marketing machine is trying to use the media. But during this entire process, CD Projekt Red presented Cyberpunk 2077 like any other general review, without stating that the experience we were getting on the PC felt physically different than the Consols’ experience. Can.
I must recall the events of the retrospection to understand the details I have stated.
Before Thanksgiving, CDPR’s external PR firm arrived to tell the media that it was receiving codes. Media can go to a website to request a code for PS4, Xbox, Stadia, or PC. This is a simple process that has worked well in the past, so going into the long holiday weekend, most people are confident that they will get a review code for the platform of their choice.
And I remember it being a good sign for the state of the game. CDPR seemed confident by offering codes to so many people for all platforms.
But a few days later, CD Projekt Red’s internal PR began to reach a small pool of media. And at this time, the deal is that you will get a code if you plan to review it on PC.
It is not uncommon. The Cyberpunk 2077 review keys were in high demand, so it seemed that CDPR is trying to keep things quiet, so it wouldn’t bother the hundreds of people who would still have to wait for a code. But taken with everything, it also seems like part of the manipulation now – especially because my understanding of very little code ever originates for those who requested them through the PR website.
Inadvertently feeling complexity
But by most other measures, review embargo was normal. By the time we got the code, we had six days of play before it ended for written review. It’s not long, but it’s also not uncommon. And the written reviews had nothing to do with them. We can talk about any and all problems with the game, including bugs and crashes.
But even that unrestricted written review Embargo now seems like a diversionary tactic. As part of written reviews, you can post a video, but you can only use CD Projekt Red’s B-roll. Now, generally, this is also not uncommon. Sony games often come with Ambrose which can restrict the videos used in your content. It is more rare, however, that the review Embargo prohibits the use of any captured footage and restricts only to official B-rolls. Typically, other companies say that you can use footage from this beginning area or do something to that effect.
This red flag should be raised, but the video embargo also ended before the game’s release. And as a site that works primarily in text, this was not something I thought about much.
When I wrote my review, I assumed that I was usually playing the same game that everyone would get. This is a failure of imagination on my part, but in my view, the CDPR created a false sense of assurance in the first place.
Along with the hitch, CDPR’s action in the review process seems to tamper with me.
- The company never featured Cyberpunk 2077 on PlayStation 4 or Xbox One prior to release.
- It has been clearly stated that the game surprisingly runs well on those systems.
- Through its external PR, it suggested that the console codes were ready to go before release.
- It then silently lets only reviewers experience the game on PC.
- However, even on PC, it did not let critics post footage of the bug and crash until the game stopped its initial review.
- During this process, CDPR never told viewers or media that the PS4 or Xbox One versions would run poorly.
Most people who bought or preordered the game for PS4 and Xbox One did not see the game’s sub-par performance and bugs until the day Cyberpunk released. Even if some fans saw the footage first, they likely saw a 90-plus Metacritic score.
And over the weekend, I had assumed that a lot of it was circumstantial evidence that turned out to be nothing but unfortunate coincidence. But before I saw it, CDPR was treating Sony, Microsoft and its fans the same way.
CD Projekt Red’s hopeless behavior is now a pattern
I can only get so mad at CD Project Red. Yes – I think the studio tried to use me to mislead people. But it seems that the company is taking a drastic action due to pressure to run a publicly traded gaming studio. One of the true frustrations of capitalism is the futility of punishing others. If the system is going to remain like this, what is the matter? This is when someone dismisses a character in the film, “It’s just business.”
But this does not mean that we have to forget the behavior of CDPR during the cyberpunk launch. I only want to be realistic about the power that I hold. And it is limited because I am not interested in handing out pitchfork and flashlight.
It is limited because I am not Sony or Microsoft. And I think those are the species that CD Projekt Red may actually have to answer.
CD Projekt Red threw those companies under the bus by revealing Cyberpunk 2077 to be able to bypass the final Xbox and PlayStation certification. This is for a game that was launched with a scene that caused epileptic seizures. Developers are aware that they can get weavers to launch on the console without final certification as long as they plan to fix the issues by launch. But that’s not what some developers say out loud to gaming fans. Because the implication that CD Projekt Red has drawn is that Microsoft and Sony are complicit through the inaction of releasing a game that can injure vulnerable people.
Presumably an attempt to take some heat from your studio sounds like it is a bad idea to expose your business partners to liability (deservedly so).
On top of that, as part of its apology, CD Projekt Red put the burden of refund on Sony and Microsoft. The studio asked customers to return the games to those companies. But this is not something CDRP discussed or arranged with Sony or Microsoft, according to its emergency call with investors on Tuesday. Many are reporting that Sony is denying refunds. In an effort to heat up its game once again, CDPR looks like it is putting one of its peers in the crosshairs.
CDPR’s actions appear to be poised to pull Sony and Microsoft’s reputation with it. And if this is true, then it seems clear to me that it will also jeopardize the reputation of critics in the media.
Comparing CDPR with major platforms to ignite its reputation, critics at barely even rates.
So far, Microsoft and Sony have not said much about CD Project Red or Cyberpunk. PlayStation customer-support representatives are asking customers to wait for the patch.
After emailing their “help” address for a refund, people are starting to withdraw this response from CD Project Red. This language is interesting: it does not ask you to request a refund from Sony. You are going to wait pic.twitter.com/Hb77SQ5teD
– Patrick Klepek (@patrickklepek) 16 December 2020
GameStop is now also asking people to seek refunds directly from CD Project Red.
Eventually persuaded me to write this, however, as the GOG backed down on its plan to release the survival-horror game Devotional today. The game was first launched on Steam before it was pulled due to a review bombardment by the developer as it included a light jab of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Earlier today, GOG, which owns CD Projekt Group, said that the game will arrive in its stores.
A few hours later, the company posted it on Twitter:
Earlier today, it was announced that Khel Bhakti was coming to the GOG. After receiving many messages from gamers, we have decided not to list the game in our store.
– GOG.COM (@GOGcom) 16 December 2020
It is disappointing that yet another company is succumbing to the pressure of censorship from China. But again, we live under capitalism, and “don’t talk about China” is the unstable rule in almost every media company in the world. But what really stands out for me is how GOG phrases its logic.
“After receiving several messages from gamers” is how the tweet reads. Once again, a CD project group did something and once again the blame is going elsewhere. It was not the cowardice of the GOG – they are doing it just for gamers.
And burning critics is a small thing. Burning Microsoft and Sony is another matter. But using gamers as their shield to give into censorship is most telling. When the back of this company is against the wall, it will pull someone else in front of it.
But I am not angry. I think my anger will not add anything to the lawyers of Sony and Microsoft. Instead, I am writing this, and I am doing so as a reminder to myself and others to treat CD Project Red with complete skepticism in the future. We should assume that the company is hiding something.
This is the best way to better yourself against companies that behave like CD Projek Red.
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