How Cyberpunk 2077 sold a promise – and fixed the system

CD Projekt Red took almost a decade to architect the big one 2077. Cyberpunk mythos. Game reviewers only had a few days to evaluate it and were prevented from describing it. Players who dropped $ 60 on this cyberpunk pleasure palace in 2019 have risen; all the hot air came out blowing. A professional reviewer, Kallie Plagge, gave 2077. Cyberpunk a 7/10 on GameSpot– not even a pan – criticizing him for building the one-dimensional world, disconnected side missions and large-scale technical problems. Mass harassment participated in the review. YouTubers’ reactionaries, who did not have access to the game, dedicated long videos to dismantling his criticism, dissecting the game time and style of play. But only a few days later, once the players finally played 2077. Cyberpunk themselves, many made a 180. “Everyone talked about it, but I’m starting to agree with Kelly [sp] Plagge “, read a popular post on / r / cyberpunkgame.

CD Projekt Red is not the first or only gaming company that performs psy-op marketing. In 2016, No Man’s Sky he literally promised the world and the infinite others; it was programmed to be the most expansive, the most captivating, the most the most game until then. But because the studio behind it, Hello Games, did not offer it to reviewers at all before the release, players found the difficult path through which it failed to provide basics such as multiplayer connectivity. This year alone, WIRED has received over a dozen bids to review the big games that came with NDAs attached. It is not always to hide flaws; sometimes it is to prevent spoilers or the result of an overly zealous PR team. But putting this type of handcuffs on reviewers ultimately hurts people who buy games.

As the market size of the gaming industry reaches $ 60.4 billion, the pressure to manage the review system is increasing. For example, Bloomberg reported that CD Projekt Red developers’ bonuses depended on 90+ on Metacritic. (This changed after the launch.) The company built the video game equivalent of a genius in a bottle. So he did what everyone else does when he gains a minimum of power: he controls the narrative. CD Projekt Red declined WIRED’s request for comment.

The same incentives also put the system in front of developers, who work for six days and sacrifice work-life balance to use slogans such as “a city bigger than life”, “setting new standards in terms of regarding the visual aspects, the complexity and the depth ”. These are modern expectations for a 60-hour open game, AAA – an increasingly bloated and unsustainable genre. In June, former PlayStation executive Sean Layden lamented the enormous financial and labor burden of developing these types of games on “I think the industry as a whole needs to sit down and say, ‘Okay, what are we building? What is the expectation of the public? What is the best way to tell our story and say what we have to say? ‘ “

However, eight million pre-orders say that all this management of the stage benefits someone. Video games are especially susceptible to bait. Games are both identities and hobbies: a place to be yourself and explore who you are and something you do and own. Better customization, bigger worlds, bigger graphics – more, more, more – is unsustainable. But a system that feeds on hope will increase as much as the trust placed in it.

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