It seems that a single day doesn’t pass without critics, users, and casual gamers commenting on the deep-seated issues affecting Cyberpunk 2077. Opinion is rapidly turning against developers CD Projekt, with reports of attempts to conceal in-game bugs, and baked-in mechanics to mask unfinished parts of the game's AI.
The game has been dogged by persistent problems: rendering issues have been reported globally, and the game’s open world format is seemingly unplayable across the PS4 and Xbox One, with the newly released PS5 and Xbox Series X experiencing issues as well.
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Chatter around the game’s issues started to surface last week with a multitude of glitches hindering play – angry fans reported a particularly lethargic experience across last-gen consoles, amplified by confusion over digital copies of the game being refunded by Microsoft and Sony. CD Projekt has said that console versions of the game will be fixed whatever the cost.
But further developments now point to a concerted attempt to disguise the problems. Writer and game designer, Gareth Martin (opens in new tab), has alleged explicitly engineered cover-ups of massive holes in the game. Heavily documented examples of issues with driver AI – or lack thereof – sees occupants of 2077’s vehicles mindlessly freeze before obstacles, and lack basic navigation skills to avoid obstacles and other roadside clutter.
While Martin tweets that this should lead to traffic gridlock, gameplay shows that, if a player looks away, the queuing cars magically disappear (opens in new tab); similarly, unload one of the game’s many weapons into a busy crowd, complete a 360-degree turn, and Cyberpunk's cowering pedestrians vanish. (opens in new tab)
Martin argues that CDPR has cooked in coping tools to magically evaporate glitches arising from poorly built AI. He is quick to point out that these tricks reach beyond the Cyberpunk 2077 game world and speak to the company's intentional conflation of dishonesty and glitches to excuse an underdeveloped game that was produced as a result of an understaffed and pressurised workplace. The mystery continues.
Rami Ismail (opens in new tab), game developer and editor of gamedev.world, addressed the discourse around the next gen consoles, abdicating responsibility from Sony and Microsoft for the issues plaguing the game. Certification has been the central issue inflaming the debate, specifically on where accountability falls. Ismail sees certification as a seal of approval that a game won’t spoil the console, users’ ability to use the hardware, or infringe on trademarks. In essence, the primary things that need to be OK’d ahead of a game release to not brick the hardware.
Yet, the generalised certification process doesn’t cover bugs and glitches that render a game unplayable if they are already present in the game; further, platforms don’t have an innate gauge to say “this product adheres to our standards of quality”, Ismail says. All this amounts to a game that can pass cert even though the game might not be ready to warrant launch and adds more fuel to the fire facing CDPR.