Apart from the Last of Us: Part II, Cyberpunk 2077 has been the most anticipated game of the year. CD Projekt’s futuristic action role-playing game, perhaps, has been more ‘hyped up ‘than Naughty Dog’s masterpiece, as it is a multiplatform game that also happens to be a cross generational game for the Xbox Series X, and the PlayStation 5.
It is not an understatement to say that Cyberpunk 2077 has gained a passionate – if not rabid – fan following. I can’t recall another game that has been crowned as the “Game of Year” (months before anyone has gotten a chance to even to play it) by as many ‘fans’ as this one has on social media forums.
So, given the irrationality of some of these fans (Who crowns an unreleased game as the “Game of Year” without even playing it? Seriously! Who does that?), I am not surprised that these very same fans have now sent death threats to CD Projekt developers, after learning that their “Game of the Year” has once again been delayed until December 10.
Cyberpunk 2077, An Ambitious RPG Plagued By Delays and Controversies
Watch a preview video, or even a screenshot of Cyberpunk 2077, and the first thing that jumps to mind is how amazing the game looks. Utilizing its RED engine 4 (The Witcher 3 ran on the RED Engine 3), CD Projekt has managed to craft visuals here that outshine those previously seen on the 3rd entry of its critically acclaimed Witcher series.
To complicated matters further, the game has to run on seven different hardware configurations – we are not even counting the PC version – in the Xbox One S, Xbox One X, PS4, PS4 Pro, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X, and PlayStation 5.
There is a massive gulf in power between the lowest common denominator on consoles (Xbox One S) and the highest (Xbox Series X). We have seen the Xbox One struggle recently in the most demanding open world games, and the 7 year old machine might have run into a wall with Cyberpunk 2077. Rumors had it that Microsoft’s base machine was the culprit for one of the earlier delays this year.
Optimizing a game as ambitious as Cyberpunk 2077 for 7 year old machines has to be a nightmarish undertaking, and thus, when news leaked out that CD Projekt employees were being overworked, no one was surprised. Inherently, the game will have bugs, and different issues to fix (as all open world RPGs do), but the pressure to provide a stable version on base consoles does not help matters.
Want an example of just how hard it is to get every console configuration right? Just today, Ubisoft was forced to announce that the Xbox One X version of its upcoming Watchdogs: Legion has a game breaking bug during one of the game’s missions. Yes, the Xbox One X, the console that Ubisoft marketed as the premier version of the game is having issues.
Apparently the game causes the Xbox One X to overheat in such a way that the console shuts itself down to prevent a Red Ring of Death scenario from taking place. Considering that this ‘bug’ doesn’t happen on the base consoles, it might just be that we have reached the point where even the mighty Xbox One X’s 6TFlop GPU can’t quite do 1800p- 2160p resolutions in graphically intensive games anymore.
Still, this is a very recent example of some of the issues that CD Projekt might be facing in regards to its work on 7 different hardware configurations.
Social Media and The Lack of Accountability
With the knowledge that multiplatform game development is an extremely complex undertaking in hand, it is incredibly disappointing – and difficult to understand – that some gamers these days feel entitled to issue death threats to game developers.
This isn’t the first instance where something like this happens. Earlier this year, The Last of Us: Part II arrived to massive critical acclaim (93 Metacritic, 10/10 NER score), and record breaking sales for a PS4 exclusive game. Yet, a very vocal segment was offended by the game’s plot direction, and some of its themes.
This vocal group went as far as to death threaten both, the developers and the game’s voice cast ( as if the actors had any say on how the plot went). Brilliant writing (The Last of Us: Part II is full of it), can cause that irrational reaction from those who are feeble of mind.
And so, it seems that the ‘Feeble of mind gaming crew’ has struck yet again:
I want to address one thing in regards of the @CyberpunkGame delay.
I understand you're feeling angry, disappointed and want to voice your opinion about it.
However, sending death threats to the developers is absolutely unacceptable and just wrong. We are people, just like you.
— Andrzej Zawadzki (@ZawAndy) October 27, 2020
Zawadzki, makes a few good points in his response, most pertinent to this article, however, is his “voice your opinion” comment. Social media, and the internet as a whole is great, as everyone can voice their opinion. The problem arises when some of these ‘trolls’ (there is no other way to address them as), begin to voice opinions – threats – that many, if not all, wouldn’t issue if they were face to face with the person they are addressing.
Why? Because social media has offered them security blanket in which they can say whatever they please without fear of repercussions. I have seen this behavior in other walks of entertainment, and sports. Many times I have witnessed how some twitter ‘trolls’ refer to some professional boxer as a ‘bum’, full well knowing that they wouldn’t dare to say the same thing to the athlete’s face because there would be painful repercussions.
Most of these developers will probably take these ‘troll’ attacks for what they are: empty threats. But others, considering the stressing conditions of crunch time, might be affected by the stress of having their social media inboxes filled with hate messages from unknown ‘pricks’.
I would like to think that the vast majority of the gaming community is much better than this. It would be nice if one of these ‘trolls’ gets arrested for issuing these death threats, and has to pay some hefty fines as the punishment.
My take might seem a little extreme, but it is the only way that other ‘trolls’ will learn the lesson that even in Social Media there can be accountability as IP addresses can be tracked.
All this said, the Witcher 3 is one of the defining experiences of this generation, and I wish – and hope – for CD Projekt to successfully come through with Cyberpunk 2077.