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Cyberpunk 2077 publisher says it took the ‘wrong approach’ with PS4, Xbox One versions

Studio executives answered investor questions during a conference call

Talking to two characters in Cyberpunk 2077 Image: CD Projekt Red
Nicole Carpenter is a senior reporter specializing in investigative features about labor issues in the game industry, as well as the business and culture of games.

Top executives at Cyberpunk 2077 developer CD Projekt Red spoke to investors Tuesday to address the game’s recent rocky release. CD Projekt co-CEO Adam Kiciński told the group that the company’s management board was “too focused on releasing the game” and underestimated the scale of Cyberpunk 2077’s problems, according to a transcript of the call.

“We ignored signals about the need for additional time to refine the game on the base last-gen consoles,” Kiciński said. “It was the wrong approach and against our business philosophy.”

Cyberpunk 2077 was released on Dec. 10. Reviewers, including Polygon, were issued early release codes ahead of launch — but only on Windows PC, where the game runs best. Reviews were mixed, but many cited a large number of bugs even on Windows PC. Those bugs, however, were little compared to how the game ran on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Problems run the gamut from unplayable, game-breaking issues to silly bugs.

Michał Nowakowski, CD Projekt’s senior vice president of business development, reiterated that the management team didn’t address last-gen console issues well enough. When asked about how Cyberpunk 2077 got through Microsoft and Sony’s console certification process, Nowakowski said he assumed that the two companies trusted CD Projekt Red would fix the game ahead of launch.

“Obviously, that did not come together exactly as he had planned,” he added. Nowakowski said updates will come in December, January, and February — with the “larger improvements” slated for the latter two months. Players shouldn’t expect the console versions to look or run like the Windows PC version, however: “That definitely isn’t going to happen,” Nowakowski said.

“I’m not saying it’s going to be a bad game — but if you’re [sic] expectations regarding, say, visuals or other performance angle, are like this, then we’re openly stating that’s not going to be the case,” he said. “It will be a good, playable, stable game, without glitches and crashes, though. That’s the intention.”

Co-CEO Marcin Iwiński added that he hopes players will be able to enjoy the experience on consoles “by Christmas,” noting that the major updates are coming after that.

On Monday, CD Projekt Red apologized to players on Monday for not showing last-gen console footage — “not allowing [players] to make a more informed decision about [their] purchase.” In that note, published on Twitter, CD Projekt Red said players can get refunds for their game by contacting Microsoft or Sony. Some players have reported that the console makers are denying refunds. Some believed that CD Projekt Red’s message implied that refunds would be guaranteed, but the developer clarified in Tuesday’s conference call that it has no special arrangement with Microsoft or Sony regarding refunds. To get a refund on a purchase, it must meet the requirements set up via the particular storefront. For instance, Sony’s policy is that players can get a refund on purchases made within 14 days, if the software hasn’t been downloaded. Valve’s Steam storefront is similar — refunds are available for games purchased within a 14-day time frame, though it allows for two hours of play time.

During the call, CD Projekt Red did not address criticism of the developer’s mandatory “crunch” period, nor did it comment on ongoing accusations of transphobia. The full transcript of the call is available online.

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