Last night, Sony took the unprecedented step of removing Cyberpunk 2077 from its digital storefront. If you own a PlayStation 4 or PlayStation 5, you can no longer buy Cyberpunk 2077 from the comfort of your couch. It is still possible to buy and play Cyberpunk 2077 by purchasing a physical copy of the game, but nonetheless, this was an unprecedented move.
I find these “shitty release” stories have their waves and counter-waves. First off the game gets mediocre-ish reviews, fanboys are furious. Then the game comes out, fanboys are furious at the game. Then a few days later people are like “oh, it’s not that bad, I’m having fun”. And on and on, until months later some narrative solidifies if the game is good or bad.
We were right in the middle of that “not so bad” moment when all this shit dropped. This is now not just a bad release, but one of the the worst releases of all time. It is incredible.
This game might have just limped on to patches and patches. But damn. They’ve botched every step of this and managed to make everybody, regardless of view, mad.
first, i feel bad for everyone who put so much time and overtime and effort into this game having to see it get released in such an embarrassing state as this…
…on the other hand, seeing CDPR, who i think are a deplorable company, have their edgelord baby game implode on the launchpad in such an unprecedented manner, after all the hype, is just so gawd damn entertaining.
The thing is, the people who actually put in all the work know exactly what was going out the door, so I don’t think they’re at all put out by the fact that the chickens are coming home to roost. Under the circumstances (since they were never going to get the time or resources to do things properly), gamers getting up in arms about the bugs is like the best case scenario, since it considerably weakens the position of management. Whereas if the game came out and the reception was positive or even middling, they’d have no leverage to push back on unrealistic deadlines in the future.
Lost in all this mess I’m just glad that CDPR had at least one braincell left in them to just say “fuck it, refunds.” It’s the ultimate move to save face of just allowing refunds all the way down. The problem is retailers fucking HATE doing that and have so many different plans in place to prevent them that just saying to them “Let people refund our game” pisses them off extraordinarily. Which honestly I don’t mind either. Refunds should always be a standard.
I don’t know that we’re gonna see any change in this intractably toxic development pipeline until some of these “Good Ol’ Boys” start leaving their positions as team leaders. We need more situations like what happened to Dan Houser, imo.
Every corporation is some kind of terrible but the CDPR/Rockstar management posture of thinking they’re creative business geniuses reminds me of every successful family-owned or privately-owned company I’ve every worked for. When all the power resides in the hands of people who founded the company and have made a lot of money in the process, the dehumanising grind of wage slavery is supplemented with sheer ego mania.
Just be honest about the fact that you’re taking years off my life instead of telling me the reason I haven’t stopped working is because I’m changing the world please for the love of god.
The whole battlefront debacle was similarly messy, but I think CDPR’s status as a “good” company taking such a drastic nosedive and basically razing any level of goodwill sets it apart.
Like, it’s a case of EA following through on a history of skeevy monetization practices and taking it to it’s logical extreme to the point that the whole system ultimately caves in on itself compared to CDPR taking the concept of brand exceptionalism and hype culture to it’s logical extreme and imploding in just about the most complete example of why that practice is inherently insidious and harmful on every level.
It’s wild just how hot CDPR was right up to this thing’s launch. On sheer scope of both the game and its hype, this has got to be the most spectacularly an attempt to crassly play and win at the market has publicly imploded like this.
I almost with there was a Houser type there to point and laugh at singularly, but then again no i don’t at all.
The Rockstar comparison is interesting because they obviously had ambitions of a similar scale, and I think part of the reason it crashed so badly Can be examplified by how Iwinski comes off as so much more drawn to the spotlight compared to the Housers who generally try to stay Behind the scenes.
Like, the wall of silence around anything internal to Rockstar is arguably what sets their escapades apart from CDPR, because I don’t think the backlash to CP2077 would be nearly as severe if the company and Iwinski hadn’t actively cultivated such a palpable air of transparancy and relatability.
They wanted the attention and the hype and fanned the flames at every single opportunity. Consider how much was put out about Cyberpunk in the past year compared to how tightly guarded most of the info was about RDR2. It never got messy, largely because Rockstar and the Housers made sure never to put enough out there for it to get messy. The closest they got was the Crunch interview, which they managed to largely get away from by closing ranks and clarifying in the press.
Rockstar, for all the fucked up shit that goes on there, are really fucking good at controlling the narrative by tightly controlling the information, and letting the hype build largely on it’s own. In contrast Iwinski and CDPR have basically been running a full on social media PR campaign for the past, what, 2 years? Interviews, twitter, influencer events, they’ve been relentlessly pumping this thing up for ages and it made controlling the narrative in the event of something going awry fucking impossible. It’s basically what happened to Saun Murray and NMS but at an astronomically higher scale.