Cyberpunk 2077 was easily the greatest launch disaster in recent memory. Not many games have PlayStation itself pulling them from its storefront, but the console versions of Cyberpunk 2077 were just that dire. They tanked the repuation of one of the most beloved developers in the industry in CD Projekt Red, and it’s still trying to make things right again even though Cyberpunk 2077 is fixed and Phantom Liberty has released to critical acclaim.
CD Projekt Red is fully aware that it has a pretty big mountain to climb to repair the trust between the studio and its fans, and it’s doing everything in its power to ensure it doesn’t make the same mistakes it made with Cyberpunk 2077 on The Witcher 4 and other future projects. Speaking at the Inven Game Conference in Pangyo, South Korea (thanks Rock Paper Shotgun), CD Projekt Red engineering director for management and audio Colin Walder talked in detail about what the studio is doing to make sure history doesn’t repeat itself.
For starters, Walder claims that the console versions of the next Witcher game – currently codenamed Project Polaris – are being prioritized right from the get-go. Walder explains that CD Projekt Red is already doing reviews on console for Project Polaris, and has been doing from the beginning of development, something that wasn’t done at all for the development of Cyberpunk 2077, having only reviewed the console builds later on down the line.
“It’s about ensuring we’re on top of certain things from the start,” says Walder. “Take consoles, for example; we need to make sure they’re functioning from the get-go. For our next project, Polaris, we’re already running our demos and internal reviews on the console from the very beginning. This is a step we only took later in Cyberpunk’s development.”
Elsewhere during the talk, Walder also claims that CD Projekt Red has changed its attitude to crunch, opting to have malleable deadlines that can be altered to ensure quality. He also states that the public needs to see CD Projekt Red make attempts to eliminate crunch to gain back their trust as well as boost company morale once again, which took “a significant hit” during the launch of Cyberpunk 2077.
While Walder’s words sound promising, it’s clear that CD Projekt Red still has work to do, especially in regards to keeping its workforce happy. Earlier this month, a group of CD Project Red developers announced they were unionizing due to stress and a lack of job security after recent layoffs at the studio. While the release of Phantom Liberty may have appeased the public, people working for CD Projekt Red still aren’t happy, and that’s where the studio needs to make improvements before even thinking about getting Project Polaris out of the door.
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