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The truth about corrupted Cyberpunk 2077 saves

If you thought graphical glitches, slow pop-ins, and lackluster console performance made Cyberpunk 2077 virtually unplayable, those issues have nothing on the latest bug that makes the game literally unplayable.

Recently, many gamers have discovered their Cyberpunk 2077 save files have become corrupted. They saved their games, turned off their platforms, went to sleep, and woke up ready for a new day's worth of Cyberpunk, only to be greeted with the message, "Saved data is damaged and cannot be loaded. This forced them to load older save files and pray they worked. If that failed, victims of this glitch had to start the game from scratch. What could cause such a game-breaking bug? Why, playing Cyberpunk 2077 as intended.

According to Reddit users such as p3ek, i-keep-it-100, and repairman1988, the culprit is a hard save file cap of 8 mb. The easiest way to bloat a save file is with items. You loot an item, the file size increases. You craft an item, the file size increases. If you mass-produce guff or break down equipment for components to sell off and afford more cyberware, it just speeds up the doomsday clock on your save file even faster. Bizarrely, cutting back on inventory size by dropping equipment or using components to craft items barely puts a dent in the file size.

Unfortunately, it seems that the root cause is baked into the game, since Cyberpunk 2077 creates a new string/row of code for each item that enters your inventory. If you craft hundreds of items, that is hundreds of more code strings the game will have to sift through every time it loads. Once the file breaks the 8 mb cap, the game engine implodes trying to make sense of it. Even if you manage to keep your save under the limit, you still have to deal with increased loading times resulting from the ballooning file size.

This news came as a kick in the teeth to all Cyberpunk 2077 owners, since it doesn't appear to be limited by platform. To pour salt in the wound, this development followed shortly on the heels of Microsoft and Sony offering unrestricted refunds due to poor console performance — and Sony even pulled the game from digital storefronts until further notice.

CD Projekt Red stated they might increase the save size limit in a future patch, the operative word being "might." However, any and all files Cyberpunk 2077 registers as corrupted before the patch won't be grandfathered into the list of working saves. Don't keep corrupted files in the hopes the game can posthumously revive your lost progress.