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Cyberpunk 2077 Devs Take Management To Task Over Botched Launch

Now that it's clear Cyberpunk 2077 hasn't lived up to its sky-high expectations, it's time to play the blame game. As reported by Bloomberg, CD Projekt Red's board held a company-wide video meeting yesterday. During the meeting, "frustrated and angry" developers demanded answers from management. 

The call caps off a tumultuous first week since Cyberpunk 2077's Dec. 10 debut. After eight years in development that included three separate delays, Cyberpunk 2077 finally launched on PC, PS4, and Xbox One. But fan enthusiasm was quickly dampened as the base PS4 and Xbox One versions proved to be glitchy, buggy messes. Players shared an endless series of memes on social media, bashing the game for being basically unplayable.

Now, CD Projekt Red employees want to know why management led them down the wrong path and whether all that work was worth it. On the call, one employee reportedly asked why leadership said the game was "complete and playable" in January, even though that wasn't true. The company said it would "take responsibility," without elaborating. Another employee allegedly asked whether it's hypocritical for CD Projekt Red to make a game about corporations exploiting human beings while the company itself was pushing its employees well past their limits. Ouch.

The development team is particularly frustrated after pouring so much of their lives into Cyberpunk 2077. Back in May 2019, CD Projekt Red promised its developers that it wouldn't institute a mandatory crunch policy to complete the game. But on the same January call claiming the game was complete and playable, CEO Adam Kiciński admitted crunch time might be necessary. By September 2020, Bloomberg reported that the company had ordered six-day work weeks

Thursday's meeting is the latest negative headline for CD Projekt Red in a week that's been full of them. On Monday, the company Tweeted a long mea culpa to fans, apologizing for not paying more attention to the PS4 and Xbox One versions. Yesterday, Sony removed Cyberpunk 2077 from the Playstation Store and promised full refunds to customers who bought it. Microsoft is also offering full refunds for digital copies, but hasn't yet pulled the game from the Microsoft Store.

Earlier this year, it looked like Cyberpunk 2077 would be the next smash hit for the publisher of The Witcher 3. Buoyed by positive reviews, the game pre-sold 8 million copies. But as the memes rolled in, the company's stock dropped, plummeting 29% between Dec. 4 and Dec. 11 and costing the company $1 billion.

Instead of basking in the glow of a blockbuster release, now the Polish publisher has to rebuild fans' trust. It's planning three major patches to fix the game, with the next expected on Dec. 21. But since the development team is just as angry as the fans, righting the ship may be difficult.