The standalone multiplayer version of Cyberpunk 2077 has been cancelled, along with the game’s reception changing how CD Projekt market their upcoming titles.
The news comes via the CD Projekt Group: Strategy Update for investors. Adam Kicinsk, President and Joint CEO of Projekt Red, explained the companies’ future plans for growth, and changes. This video was produced due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic making an in-person meeting impossible. You can find the full rundown on that video here.
The company’s missions going forward aim to “create revolutionary story-driven RPGs,” “to be counted among the world’s top three video game developers,” and “to ensure a lasting place for our brands in the global popular culture.” They also state their core values include “quality as out top priority” and a “Gamer-centric approach.”
Kicinsk addressed quality, given the reception of Cyberpunk 2077. CD Projekt has had months of negative press thank to the game; numerous delays and leaked footage were not the end of the woes. One reviewer suffered a major epileptic seizure, and accused the developer on basing the Braindance headset off a medical device designed to intentionally induce seizures.
Despite high praise from initial reviews, users complained of Cyberpunk 2077‘s numerous glitches and bugs; along with poor optimization, and the console version having inferior graphics and more bugs. Even critic reviews that praised the game also discussed those issues.
CD Projekt Red stock value dropped by 29% in a week after the game launched. CD Projekt Red apologized for the game’s advertising and launch, and offered full refunds. However, two lawsuits have been launched by investors- one in Poland also being an attorney.
Despite selling 13 million copies, the founders of developer CD Projekt Red were predicted to have lost $1 billion USD. The company also shared their “Commitment to Quality” agenda, and FAQ trying to explain how the issues came about. The Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (UOKiK) is also monitoring CD Projekt.
Kicinsk stated the game’s launch did not meet their quality standards, and their commitment to improve the game. The company’s new strategic development framework will allow better planning and streamlining not only game development, but “strategies to widen the reach of our franchises.”
Kicinsk also noted they will be “changing how we communicate and market our game system, taking lessons from past marketing campaigns.” This was accompanied by footage of Cyberpunk 2077, who some have accused of being falsely advertised via its trailers not reflecting the final product.
Michal Nowakowski (Member of the Board, SVP Business Development) also addressed the lessons the company learned form marketing and PR campaigns for Cyberpunk 2077. This will include marketing and PR campaigns happening closer to the game’s actual launch; yet new projects might still teased early on.
When these campaigns do start, they aim to “properly manage expectations across all platforms.” This will be via game communication focused on “more polished footage and demos” rather than concept, and showcase footage for all platforms a game will be released on.
Other goals for CD Projekt include minimizing stress and burnout, and continue making the workplace inclusive, diverse, and promoting well-being via workshops. Representatives are also being elected by staff, who will then work with the board to ensure all are heard.
Cyberpunk 2077’s director Adam Badowski had previously denied claims made in a Bloomberg report that cited anonymous employees. These included development troubles, staff speaking their native-languages among English-speaking co-workers, and excessive overtime.
Online technologies will also be utilized in the future, while CD Projekt Red are still focused on single-player RPGs. At this time, Kicinsk also announced the cancellation of the stand-alone multiplayer version of Cyberpunk 2077.
“Previously we hinted that our next AAA game would be a multiplayer Cyberpunk game. But we have decided to reconsider this time. Given our new, more systematic, and agile approach; instead of focusing on one big online experience or game, we are focusing on bringing online into all of our franchises one day.”
However, Kicinsk also stated that the studio would be bringing online elements to all their franchises in the future.
Finally, VGC reports that during a conference call on March 30th Michal Nowakowski (Member of the Board, SVP Business Development) was asked when the game would be returning to the PlayStation Store.
“So, regarding this process, we have published several patches, we have just published a really big one yesterday, and we have published several hotfixes, and each and every one of them brings us closer to going back to the PSN store. However, the final decision you have to understand belongs to Sony. We do believe we’re closer than further, but of course the final call is theirs, so let’s wait and see.”
Nowakowski was also asked for an updated sales forecast. While he did not provide figures, Nowakowski stated the next-gen version of the game launching in the second half of 2021, and the game returning to the PlayStation Store would (in VGC’s words) heavily impact sales.
However, Nowakowski did hint that the game not being on the PlayStation Store may have harmed sales across all platforms.
“As far as Cyberpunk sales for this year are concerned, first of all I believe they will be driven by two major elements that we keep working on. First, patching and updating the game, and this should also result in coming back to the Sony store. Obviously, Sony’s decision is much awaited by many gamers and we believe it may also influence purchasing decisions of not only those playing on PlayStation but also on other platforms, so this is important to us.”
Cyberpunk 2077 is available on Windows PC (via Epic Games, GOG, and Steam), PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Google Stadia. The game is also coming to PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S in 2021, and players on PlayStation 4 and Xbox One respectively will be able to upgrade to the next-gen for free.
Image: Previously released press release.