CD Projekt's latest comments on the state of Cyberpunk 2077 outline a path forward following the game's catastrophic launch, and aims to offer an explanation of how the game was launched despite being borderline unplayable on consoles.
It's a statement that also comes with a carefully worded promise about the role crunch will play in the patching progress, and for CD Projekt Red games moving forward.
According to a FAQ published alongside today's statement from CD Projekt co-founder Marcin Iwinski, "the team is working to bring relevant fixes to the game without any obligatory overtime" and that avoiding crunch is a priority for future projects as well.
However it is worth noting here that CD Projekt has made statements vowing to avoid crunch in the past, only to turn around and (in the case of Cyberpunk 2077's final weeks before launch) mandate six-day workweeks to get the game out the door.
In a video shared to social media today, Iwinski places the blame for Cyberpunk 2077's myriad of issues firmly on the shoulders of studio leadership and its board of directors, not on the developers themselves.
"I, and the entire leadership team, are deeply sorry for this and this video is me publicly owning up to that," says Iwinski. "Please don't fault any of our teams for what happened. They all are incredibly talented and hard working. Myself and the board are the final decision makers, and it was our call to release the game."
"Although, believe me," he adds. "We never ever intended for anything like this to happen."
Iwinski says that the decision to focus first on PC and then retrofit the game to work on less powerful console hardware is ultimately to blame for the performance issues seen across many versions of the game at launch.
"The main culprit was having to constantly improve our in-game streaming system for old-gen consoles," he explains. "Streaming is responsible for 'feeding' the engine with what you see on screen, as well as the game mechanics. Since the city is so packed and the disk bandwidth of old-gen consoles is what it is, it something that constantly challenged us."
From the inside, CD Projekt leadership believed that all would be resolved by the time the day zero patch rolled out. In a comment now receiving some flak online for seemingly throwing QA under the bus, Iwinski says that many of the issues reported by console players at launch weren't flagged during CDPR's own testing processes during development.
"As it turned out, our testing did not show many of the issues you experienced while playing the game," says Iwinski. "As we got closer to the final release, we saw significant improvements each and every day, and we really believed we’d deliver in the final day zero update."
The road forward for Cyberpunk 2077 sees the development team both working to release a duo of patches early in 2021 and, later in the year, releasing the free DLC and next-gen patches already promised for the game alongside a steady slew of updates and improvements through the rest of the year.
"Our plans for supporting Cyberpunk 2077 in the long-term are unchanged," says Iwinski. "And we will continue to introduce updates and patches to give all players across all consoles and PCs a better experience with the game."