How Cyberpunk 2077 sold a promise and rigged the system

CD Projekt Red had almost a decade to design the big one Cyberpunk 2077 mythos. Game reviewers only had a few days to review it and were paralyzed about how to portray it. Gamers who dropped $ 60 on this cyberpunk fun palace in 2019 staggered; all the hot air rushed out. A professional reviewer, Kallie Plagge, admitted Cyberpunk 2077 a 7/10 on GameSpot– not even a pan – criticism of the one-dimensional world structure, disconnected side quests and large-scale technical problems. Mass harassment attended the review. Reactionary YouTubers, who had no access to the game, devoted lengthy videos to dismantling her criticism, dissecting her playtime and playing style. But just days later when gamers had finally played Cyberpunk 2077 many did a 180 themselves. ”Everyone was talking about her, but I’m starting to agree with Kelly [sp] Plagge, ”read a popular post at / r / cyberpunkgame.

CD Projekt Red isn’t the first or only gaming company to run marketing psy-ops. In 2016 No Man’s Sky literally promised the world and an infinite number of others; it was planned to be the most expansive, the most compelling, the most most game up to that point. But because the studio behind it, Hello Games, didn’t offer it to reviewers at all before launch, gamers found out the hard way that it didn’t work for basics like multiplayer connectivity. This year alone, WIRED received more than a dozen offers to review major games associated with NDAs. It’s not always to hide flaws; sometimes it’s to avoid spoilers, or the result of an overzealous PR team. But when reviewers put on those kinds of handcuffs, it ends up hurting the people who buy the games.

As the games industry market size reaches $ 60.4 billion, the pressure to micromanage the rating system is growing. As an example, Bloomberg reported that CD Projekt Red’s developer bonuses depended on a 90+ on Metacritic. (That changed after release.) The company had built the video game equivalent of a ghost in a bottle. So it did what everyone else does when they get a little bit of power: control the story. CD Projekt Red has rejected WIRED’s request for comment.

The same incentives also set the system against developers, who pull six-day workweeks and sacrifice work-life balance to manifest slogans like ‘a city bigger than life,’ ” sets new standards in visuals, complexity and draft ‘. These are the modern expectations for a 60-hour, AAA open world game – a genre that is becoming more and more bloated and unsustainable. In June, former PlayStation manager Sean Layden complained about the enormous financial burden and workload of developing these types of games for “I think the industry as a whole should sit back and say, ‘Okay, what are we building? What does the audience expect? What’s the best way to get our story across and say what to say?’

But eight million pre-orders say all this stage management benefits someone. Video games are particularly sensitive to bait-and-switch. Games are identities as well as hobbies: a place to be yourself and discover who you are and something you do and own. Better customization, bigger worlds, better graphics – more, more, more – it’s not sustainable. But a system that feeds on hope will only grow as great as the trust placed in it.

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