Just days after CD Projekt Red issued a public apology and development roadmap for Cyberpunk 2077, a report from Bloomberg sheds more light on the years leading up to the game’s troubled launch. The story claims that while the game was first announced in 2012, development didn’t properly begin until 2016. At that time, Adam Badowski took over as director and the studio was still deciding on some of Cyberpunk 2077’s core elements, like whether it would be first-person or not. When CDPR publicly stated that the game would launch in 2020, some of the studio’s staffers couldn’t believe what they were hearing.
Bloomberg writes: “Fans were elated, but internally, some members of the team could only scratch their heads, wondering how they could possibly finish the game by then. One person said they thought the date was a joke. Based on the team’s progress, they expected the game to be ready in 2022. Developers created memes about the game getting delayed, making bets on when it would happen.”
The report adds that Cyberpunk 2077’s impressive E3 2018 demo was “almost entirely fake,” adding: “CD Projekt hadn’t yet finalized and coded the underlying gameplay systems, which is why so many features, such as car ambushes, were missing from the final product. Developers said they felt like the demo was a waste of months that should have gone toward making the game.”
Language barriers within CD Projekt Red’s team and the eventual move to remote working didn’t help matters, and the mandatory crunch made working life a living hell for developers. Adrian Jakubiak, a former audio programmer at the studio, explained that he’d typically work for 13 hours a day. “I have some friends who lost their families because of these sort of shenanigans,” he said.
It all sets a bleak scene and we know how the story ends—with Cyberpunk 2077 performing dismally on last-gen consoles, customers being offered refunds, and the game ultimately being pulled from the PlayStation Store. However, while CD Projekt Red isn’t denying the game’s shoddy state, head of studio Adam Badowski has taken issue with some of the points made in Bloomberg’s report.
In a lengthy Twitter post, Badowski described Cyberpunk 2077’s E3 demo as a “work in progress,” adding that “our final game looks and plays way better than that demo ever was.”
Badowski also highlighted the PC version’s positive reviews, while acknowledging that Cyberpunk 2077 on consoles “is another case.”