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What another delay could mean for Cyberpunk 2077

Rumors of a fourth crushing delay for Cyberpunk 2077 are flying, and while CD Projekt Red has denied them so far, the purported leak has inspired speculation on what a 2021 launch might mean for the company. If Cyberpunk 2077 misses its most recent official release date of Dec. 10, there could be major repercussions for the game and the business.

Initially slated for release on April 16, 2020, Cyberpunk 2077 has been delayed three times. CD Projekt Red was upfront in explaining the first delay, which occurred in Jan. 2020. In a tweet, the company stated that "due to the sheer scale and complexity of it all, we need more time to finish playtesting, fixing and polishing." That delay pushed the game's release back to Sept. 17, 2020.

The next delay was announced in another official tweet, which pushed the release date to Nov. 19. This announcement was made in June 2020 and stated the game was ready to go, "both content and gameplay-wise." The next big announcement, once again via Twitter, on Oct. 5, announced the game had gone gold — only to be followed by a tweet a few weeks later announcing the third delay, which pushed the release date to Dec. 10.

Each delay saw disappointed comments by fans on Twitter and Reddit, and the latest rumors brought about similar responses. However, the continuing delays could also impact the developer, possibly even putting CD Projekt Red's future development plans in jeopardy.

Early in 2020, CD Projekt Red became the second most valuable video game company in Europe, behind Ubisoft. CD Projekt Red reached a value of $8 billion after jumping up $1.2 billion in a single month. The company's value continued to rise throughout 2020, even briefly eclipsing Ubisoft at its peak in August. However, those gains disappeared after the second significant delay, with stock prices dropping by 25% in October.

It's too early to say what kind of permanent financial damage another delay could mean for CD Projekt Red. However, both the delays and the mandatory crunch time accompanying them have already dealt a blow to the company's reputation and tarnished its once sterling standing.

Keep in mind that there are important distinctions between the structure of CD Projekt Red and Ubisoft. Ubisoft is one of the longest-running videogame publishers of all time, with a wide variety of new products, including the recently released Assassin's Creed Valhalla. Ubisoft can push aggressive release schedules, and a single bad game won't ruin the company (at least, it hasn't in the past).

In contrast, CD Projekt Red focuses on one AAA game at a time and may feel more pressure to stick the landing. In other words, CD Projekt Red may find that the consequences of releasing an unfinished game might outweigh short term financial stress or damage to the company's reputation.