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Things keep getting worse for Cyberpunk 2077

If you've been looking forward to playing Cyberpunk 2077 on its Nov. 19 release date, it seems you're out of luck. A tweet from the official Cyberpunk 2077 twitter account shared important — and unfortunate — news with fans: the game's release date has been delayed by 21 days. It will now come out on Dec. 10, 2020. 

Many fans thought they were safe from such tidings. On Oct. 5, developer CD Projekt Red announced that the game had "gone gold," an industry term that typically indicates a title is complete and has been put onto a master disc that can be reproduced for a mass release. To get to that point, Bloomberg reported (via IGN) at the end of September that the company was instituting six-day workweeks, despite a promise to employees not to do this. 

Later reports claimed that the employees chose to work extra hours to avoid another delay, though this has been heavily disputed by multiple sources, including Bloomberg's Jason Schreier. Whatever the reality, the extended workweeks seemed to indicate that the announced release date was a priority to the team, and that it was on target to hit its goal. The company has said repeatedly, perhaps even as recently as Oct. 26, that the game would definitely release on Nov. 19.

In the tweet announcing the delay, CD Projekt Red stated that the greatest hurdle has been getting Cyberpunk 2077 ready for its simultaneous "current-gen, next-gen, and PC" debut. This goal has reportedly required the developers to "prepare and test nine versions" of the game, all while working from home due to COVID-19.

It sounds like the company has a lot to do, but 21 days seems like a short time to get that all completed. CD Projekt Red assured fans, though, that the time frame would be enough. As for going gold, the developer pointed out that just because the title is considered ready to go doesn't mean they "stop working on it or raising the quality bar." Instead, the developers keep making improvements that are added during a patch available at launch. "This is the time period we undercalculated," the statement noted. 

After all the bad news players have had recently, some are feeling discouraged about their chances of getting a game that lives up to the hype. One user pointed out that "if this game broken when it comes out CDPR may have lost any goodwill they had if they haven't already." Another said, "This game has all the tell-tale signs of being a mess at this point. Huge red flag." Multiple gamers reported they had requested time off from work and otherwise planned their schedules around the company's repeated promise that Cyberpunk 2077 would not get delayed again, and they're not happy.

Cyberpunk 2077 has been eight years in the making, which is a lengthy (but not unheard of) development cycle. During that time, gamers have seen both good things — in the form of exciting visuals, a variety of character models, an attractive world, and the sheer number of missions — and bad. Notably, Cyberpunk 2077 has received several delays. It was supposed to release in April 2020 originally, but was moved to September, then November. 

Given its poor track record, it's not out of bounds to wonder if this release is really going to happen in December. Previous delays were attributed to "playtesting, fixing, and polishing," along with balancing game mechanics and bug fixes, although the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly also contributed. 

In addition to the delays, recent reports indicated that a good amount of material has been cut out of the game, making gamers leery of what they're actually going to find in the final product. Demos have been around for years, which means that fans might have seen or even experienced some of the content that's been removed or expected features that were never added in the first place. This includes gameplay and other mechanics such as wall running, the ability to ride trains and subways, vehicle customization, and certain cinematics.

A statement posted by senior level designer Miles Tost to Discord and then to the game's official forum pointed out that such cuts are a normal part of development, and the company's openness in the past — starting with an extensive, almost 50-minute gameplay demo from 2018 — means that gamers have seen more of the process than with many other titles.

"In the end, it is all about how much fun the game and it systems provide you and we are doing our best to make sure it is as great of an experience as it can be," Tost said. "Sometimes for that, you have to make some hard decisions and this time around, you were here to witness it."