Marcin Ewiski, the chief executive of CD Prozac SA, created a public campaign in December this week about the disastrous rollout of the video game Cyberpunk 2077. He took personal responsibility and told fans not to blame the team.
In a somber Five minute video With the address and blog post, Iwi Accomski accepted the game as “the quality standard we did not want to meet was not met. I and the entire leadership team are deeply sorry for this. “
Iwiski’s apology, the second within a month, was an attempt to restore the reputation of the Polish company with scores of fans – and investors – who had waited eight years for the game, only to find it With bugs and performance issues when it was finally released. UP caused a 30% drop in shares of CD Projek from mid-January to January 10 over a botched debut.
Interviews with more than 20 current and former CD Project staff, most of whom requested anonymity so as not to risk their careers, portray a development process fueled by uncontrolled ambition, poor planning, and technical shortcomings. Employees, discussing the creation of the game for the first time, described a company that focuses on marketing at the expense of development, and an unrealistic time that pressures into broader overtime while doing some work. Last push before long. CD Projekt declined to comment or interview the story.
The Polish company is working on fixing Cyber Plan 2077 for the next few months, instead planning to expand the game or embark on the next installment of its other popular franchise, The Witcher. Iwi newski said that the first new update will be released in late January and the second week.
This was not how the development team started 2021. Now, instead of celebrating a successful release, they would like to turn Cyberpunk 2077 into a redemption story. It will be a tough fight. Unlike rivals such as Electronic Arts Inc. and Ubisoft Entertainment SA, CD Project releases only one major game every few years, so the company was counting on Cyberpunk 2077 to be a critical hit.
Much was done to it in Cyberpunk 2077, a role-playing game set in a cyber fi dystopia. The Warsaw-based CD Projek was already famous for an earlier blockbuster title, The Witcher 3, and Cyberpunk benefitted from a major advertising blitz and a leading role of the actor Keanu Reeves. Thanks to pre-launch promotions, the game sold 13 million copies at $ 60 Appy in the first 10 days after its release. For some time, CD Prozac was the most valuable company in Poland.
Initial reviews were generally good, but once players got the game in their hands, they realized that there was a problem on the PC and it was almost nonexistent with consoles. It performed so poorly that Sony Corp. removed the game from the PlayStation store and Microsoft offered an unprecedented move, slapping funds on a label warning customers, that they “may experience performance issues on the Xbox One until the game is updated.” CD Prozac is facing an investor lawsuit over claims that were misleading him.
In your message, Iwiński Admits that the company has “underestimated the work.” He said that because the city of the game was “so packed and this is what the disk bandwidth of the old-gen console is, it challenges us.” While the company tested extensively before the game’s release, Iwiski said that it does not show the many issues that veteran players do. Developers working on the game argued otherwise, stating that many common problems were discovered. The staff did not have time to fix them.
Cyberpunk 2077 was an ambitious project by any standard. The previous success of CD Prozac, The Witcher, was in a medieval fantasy world filled with swords and spells. But everything in cyberpunk was a departure from that structure. Cyberpunk was sci-fi rather than fiction. Instead of a third-person camera in which the player’s character appears on screen, Cyberpunk used a first-person view. Creating cyberpunk would require CD Prozac to invest in new technology, new employees and new technologies that they had not discovered before.
Another indication of how CD Prozac stretched things too far was that it tried to develop the engine technology behind Cyberpunk 2077, much of it new, as well as games, which slowed down production. A team member compared the process of trying to drive the train while the tracks were being laid in front of you at the same time. It could have run more smoothly when the track-layers started a few months.
Adrian Zakubić, a former audio programmer at CD Project, said that one of his partners asked during a meeting how the company felt it would be able to pull off a technically more challenging project under consideration at the same timeframe. “Someone answered: ‘We’ll find out,” he said.
For years, the CD project grew on that mindset. But this time, the company was not able to pull it off. “I knew it wasn’t going to go well,” Jakubic said. “I just didn’t know how devastating it would be.”
Part of the fans’ frustration is proportional to the amount of time they spent waiting for the game. Although Cyberpunk was announced in 2012, the company was still primarily focused on its final title and did not begin full development until the end of 2016, employees said. According to people familiar with the project, when the CD project essentially hit the reset button.
Studio head Adam Badowski took over as director, seeking an overhaul of Cyberpunk’s gameplay and story. For the following year, everything was changing, including fundamental elements such as a game-play perspective. The top staffers working on The Witcher 3 had strong opinions on how the cyber rink should be built, which collided with Badowski and led to the eventual departure of several top developers.
According to many people, CD Prozac, who worked in Cyber Proper 2077, was more focused on influencing the outside world. A slice of the gameplay was featured at E3, the industry’s main trade show in 2018. It showed the main character embarking on a mission, giving players a grand tour of the spectacular, crime-ridden Night City.
Fans and journalists were worn by the ambition and scale of Cyberpunk 2077. Little did they know that the demo was almost completely fake. CD Projekt has not yet finalized and coded the underlying gameplay system, which is why many features like the car ambush were missing from the final product. The developers said they felt that the demo was a waste of months that should have gone towards making the game.
Employees had been working long hours, even though Ivisky had told employees that overtime on Cyberpunk 2077 would not be mandatory. More than a dozen workers said they felt pressured by their managers or colleagues to put in extra hours.
Former audio programmer Zakubik said, “There were times when I used to crunch for 13 hours daily – I had a little record on it – and I’d work five days a week.” Company after marriage. “I have some friends who have lost their family due to such shenanigans.”
Overtime did not develop the game any faster. In June 2019 at E3, CD Project announced that the game would begin on April 16, 2020. Fans were left out, but internally, some members of the team could only scratch their heads, wondering how they could possibly end the game by then. One person said that they thought the date was a joke. Based on the team’s progress, they expected the game to be ready in 2022. The developers created memes about the game being delayed, placing bets on when it would happen.
The developers said the cancellation of the facilities and reducing the size of Cyberpunk’s metropolis helped, but some departments were hampered in team development.
While The Witcher 3 was built by around 240 in-house staff, according to the company, Cyberpunk’s credits suggest the game had more than 500 internal developers. But because the CD project was not accustomed to such size, people working on the game said that their teams often felt silent and unorganized.
At the same time, the CD project did not make sense. Games, such as Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption II, are often held up as examples of the quality the company had to maintain, with dozens of offices and thousands built.
Cultural barriers also arose by hiring expats from the US and Western Europe. The studio obliged everyone to speak English during meetings with non-Polish speakers, but not all followed the rules.
Even as the timeline seemed increasingly unrealistic, management said delaying it was not an option. Their goal was to release Cyberpunk 2077 before the new consoles from Microsoft and Sony were expected to drop by 2020, even announced. In this way, the company can launch the game on existing PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC, then “double dip” by releasing versions down the road for the next generation of consoles. Those purchasing older console versions will receive a free upgrade when new ones are available. Some engineers felt that cyberpunk was too complex of a game to run well on a seven-year-old console, with a bustling crowd and buildings in its city. He said management dismissed his concerns, however, citing his success in pulling The Witcher 3.
But by the end of 2019, management finally acknowledged that cyberpunk needed to be delayed. Last January, the company advanced the game’s release in September. In March, as the epidemic began to break up the world and forced people to stay inside, CD Prozac employees had to complete the game from their homes. Without access to the office’s console development kit, most developers build the game on their home computers, so it wasn’t clear to everyone how Cyberpunk could run on the PS4 and Xbox One. External testing, however, showed obvious performance issues.
Iwiski also said that communication issues from teams working at home between the Kovid-19 restrictions meant “a lot of mobility we usually take” lost on video calls or emails. The start of the game again slipped to November.
As the launch date drew closer, everyone in the studio knew that the game was in rough shape and required more time, according to many people familiar with the development. Connections were missing. Some tasks were not done properly. When management announced in October that the game had “gone gold” – it was ready to be pressed for disk – there were still major bugs to be discovered. The game was delayed by another three weeks as tired programmers scrambled to recover as much as possible.
When Cyberpunk 2077 finally launched on 10 December, the backlash was fast and furious. Players shared screen videos of small trees or characters sliding into pants and compiled List of features that were promised, but not in the final product.
According to the developers, many of the glitches and graphical issues can be fixed, although it is unclear what it would take to regain a place in the PlayStation store. Fans may find it difficult to win, but there is precedent in the video game world. Games like No Man’s Sky, Space Simulator; Final Fantasy XIV, an online gameplay game; And Destiny, a multiplayer shooter, recovered from the rocky launch and earned critical acclaim by slowly improving after its release. And the market looks full of hope. CD Prozac’s shares rose 6% after Iji’sski’s message, the most in six weeks.