In Defense of Cyberpunk 2077

The gaming industry is much ado about… something.

This will not be a full-blown review of Cyberpunk: 2077 for me, as I want to finish a few more things in the game to round out my full list of impressions. However, I decided to dip into the shitstorm surrounding this game’s release to stand up for it. Note that I mean the game itself, not necessarily the publisher.

There is no excuse for the state the game was released in, even on higher end machines. I have played it on a base model Xbox One and have had an amazing time overall, however I know for many console players and even some PC gamers this has not been the case, and I am sorry for that. I don’t blame anyone for feeling pissed or letdown, though, I can’t help at the same but feel that Cyberpunk and CD Projekt Red are getting proportionally more hate than AAA dumpster fires such as Fallout 4, Fallout 76, or the recent Call of Duty releases. Fallout 4 to this day remains one of the most unstable, unreliable games in my library, and yet it was met with glowing praise and high scores, praise from some of the same people now condemning Cyberpunk 2077. Standards should be consistent, yo. It seems like hating on this game and studio has become trendy.

The game’s development was horribly mismanaged, and the executives who forced this thing out the door should frankly lose their jobs over this in my opinion. I feel no ill will toward the artists, composers, programmers, and other members of the development team who worked hard and managed to deliver an amazing product underneath the unfortunate mire of technical and visual struggles. It is obvious to me that whoever directed the project from jump allowed too much emphasis to be placed on the high concepts, story, characters, art, music, and other aesthetics without having a stable and solid game to act as the foundation. All of those things are important but it feels painfully obvious to me as a veteran player that all of the amazing visual and aural elements were forced on top of a poorly optimized and insufficiently tested gameplay engine, and not nearly enough attention was paid to game stability and cohesiveness. CDPR should definitely have tried to emulate Rockstar Games’ formula for Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption, in that those open world games play and run smooth before you add in their varying layers of complexity. I don’t really like the recent GTA entries but I recognize polish and proper design emphasis when I see it.

Ultimately it’s tragic that the stupid decisions of a small number of executives and shareholders have denied some gamers from enjoying an incredible wealth of creative content. I would have been disappointed to see the game delayed again but recognize that it should have happened. Someone high up in CDPR management should have recognized that any 2020 deadline was unrealistic based on the state of the game. But here we are.

Cyberpunk 2077 has some of the most incredible art, music, characters, and storytelling I’ve seen collected in one package. I’ve been emotionally affected by many moments in the narrative. The gameplay, when running as intended, is a blast. Night City is a wonderful place to get lost in, and I have had many a moment where I could feel tingly echoes of Blade Runner, RoboCop, and Dredd, totally delighting my inner sci-fi and cyberpunk nerd.

Also, for those who are trying to get easy clicks and ad revenue by saying this game is transphobic? Get stuffed. This is one of the most LGBTQ accommodating games I have ever played, and I applaud it for its inclusiveness even if the dystopian-skewed representation isn’t at neat and tidy as the extreme SJWs would prefer. You can never please them anyway.

More to come in the full review. Thanks for indulging my thoughts so far.

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