TGO Daily | December 8, 2020 | Cyberpunk 2077

In The News

Today, we’re talking about one thing: Cyberpunk 2077. It’s the latest game from CD Projekt Red (The Witcher 3), and it will release on December 10th after multiple delays and an extreme amount of hype.

The Reviews

The review embargo has lifted, and its the talk of the town. If you want to see the scores, check them out on OpenCritic. As you might expect, the game was received well — plenty of high scores from critics across the board. There’s some important things to note, though.

First of all, many of the non-perfect scores point to game-breaking bugs. From GameSpot:

“Cyberpunk 2077 is phenomenally buggy…These bugs, more than any game I’ve played in years, took me out of the experience often…The technical problems not only took me out of the game literally but also led me to question whether certain things throughout the game were intentional.”

Of course, as PC Gamer mentions, these bugs will likely be fixed over time. But if you’re someone who plans on purchasing the game on day one, you’re likely to run into issues that will take you out of the experience. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you.

Something else to note: reviewers could not capture their own footage of the game — they were required to use B-roll or nothing. This stopped some video outlets from uploading their reviews because they weren’t willing to comply with that embargo.

More significantly, nobody received a console code. Every review that you read before the launch date is from someone who played on PC. And if it’s a buggy mess there, then nobody knows what it will look like on Xbox or PlayStation. Again, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The Crunch

As with most AAA games, I think it’s always worth noting the conditions of the workforce who made this game.

The team who made this game, CD Projekt Red, crunched long hours for more than a year. Despite the CEO stated publicly that nobody would be required to work overtime, they eventually mandated a 6-day work week. Some developers worked nights and weekends for a significant amount of time, with no reprieve when the game was delayed many times over.

Crunch is something that has plagued the industry for decades. The more aware we are of it, the better we can be moving forward.

The Marketing

I think what has stood out to me the most in the leadup to Cyberpunk’s release is its marketing. For what is supposed to be the biggest release in a long time, I would’ve hoped that it didn’t run into the issues that it did.

It’s been a heavily discussed topic — if you spent time on social media, I’m sure you’ve come across it. But the company clearly leaned into its more “edgy” audience. From Polygon:

“Cyberpunk 2077’s advertising has been saying the quiet part loud. It has maintained the spiky, anti-SJW, anti-woke persona throughout its marketing campaign, careful to always pepper any diverse characters’ inclusion with stereotyping or humor designed to mock its own ideas. As such, it has earned an army of fans who will defend it from criticism, whether that be from accusations of transphobia, racism, or even crunch.”

Indeed, trans representation in the lead-up to this game has been handled extremely poorly. I won’t get into the details about the specifics of the marketing, but feel free to read that Polygon article which covers it nicely.

As for the game itself, outside of the marketing, from Kotaku:

“But so far, all the game’s representation, the kinds of things many of us rightly demand from video games, feels employed more for color in the game’s futuristic world, or because it’s been used in cyberpunk media before…There are queer people because everyone in the game’s world indulges their sexual desires to their fullest. There are trans people because everyone’s modifying their bodies in all kinds of ways. The world’s diversity doesn’t feel forced, but race, queerness, or transness don’t feel like topics the developers are interested in specifically addressing or exploring.”

More succinctly:

“While Cyberpunk draws on diversity, it doesn’t really do anything with that, in ways that are disappointing if you hoped for more, or anger-inducing if you’re sick of watching people who don’t share your identity use it as a trope or gimmick. Diversity of all kinds feels like it’s in Cyberpunk because it got caught in the tide of stuff CDPR wanted to put inside the game.”

The Game

I’m not here to poop on your party, or make you feel bad for buying the game. I just think this an important conversation to have. A lot of people will tell you that it is worth buying the game, regardless of everything I talked about today. And that’s totally okay.

I have a duty to my readers and listeners to keep you informed. Knowing what’s going on about the reviews is important, and understanding the context of the game’s release is important. The rest I leave up to you.