Developer CD Projekt Red Faces Backlash Over Its 'Cyberpunk 2077' Game
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
This year's most anticipated video game has also been its most controversial. It's called Cyberpunk 2077. And since its release on December 10, players and retailers have been criticizing the game. NPR's Vincent Acovino has more.
VINCENT ACOVINO, BYLINE: Developer CD Projekt Red showed off Cyberpunk 2077 back in August of 2018.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
UNIDENTIFIED NARRATOR: A narrative-driven, open-world RPG set in a dark version of the future.
ACOVINO: The sneak peek had people excited for this new release from a well-respected studio.
GENE PARK: Hilariously, I don't think it's far-fetched to say that a lot of people thought this would be a revolutionary step in video games.
ACOVINO: Reporter Gene Park reviewed the game for The Washington Post. He says those initial expectations differ vastly from the final product, a game that is full of technical problems and weird visual glitches.
PARK: Even at the ending of my story, I thought my character had been lobotomized, legitimately lobotomized. And then I didn't realize that that wasn't the case at all, that he was supposed to look normal.
ACOVINO: Bugs and performance problems aren't unusual for video games, but consumers are so outraged about the ones in Cyberpunk that some retailers are offering full refunds. Sony has delisted the game from its online store.
John Linneman works at the website Digital Foundry and performs technical analyses of video games. He says that the most severe performance problems show up when you try to play Cyberpunk on older machines.
JOHN LINNEMAN: If you own an original Xbox One or a PlayStation 4, for instance, there has been a lot of reports, including ours, basically showcasing that it doesn't run well.
ACOVINO: Linneman says these problems make the game way less fun to play.
LINNEMAN: When you turn the camera, moving to the world, everything responds slower. There's more delay and sort of a visual stutter to it.
ACOVINO: In spite of the bugs, which the company pledges to fix, CD Projekt Red announced today that 13 million copies of the game have been sold after accounting for refunds. That makes it one of the bestselling games this year.
Vincent Acovino, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.