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CD Projekt Red is changing how it makes games after disastrous Cyberpunk 2077 launch

CD Projekt Red is changing how it makes games after disastrous Cyberpunk 2077 launch

Polish game studio CD Projekt Red announced a sweeping restructuring plan on Tuesday, just months after the disastrous launch of its much-hyped title Cyberpunk 2077. One of the key goals of the new plan brings “a change in the way [the studio] develops video games,” according to a press release. The changes will allow CD Projekt Red to work on “multiple AAA games and expansions in parallel” starting in 2022.

Cyberpunk 2077 launched in December after years of hype; the first teaser trailer for the game was released in January 2013. And following the huge success of CD Projekt Red’s The Witcher 3, expectations were sky-high for the studio’s cyberpunk RPG, especially following the glitzy and action-packed trailers shown in the months leading up to the game’s launch.

But the game, released after multiple delays and a reported six-day workweek for the developers ahead of the launch, was riddled with bugs and performance issues when it was finally available, particularly on older consoles. The performance was bad enough that Sony took the extraordinary step of removing Cyberpunk 2077 from the PlayStation Store and offering refunds. (More than 100 days later, Cyberpunk 2077 still hasn’t returned to the store.)

In the months since launch, CD Projekt Red has released numerous hotfixes, updates, and even hotfixes for the updates in an attempt to shore up Cyberpunk 2077’s issues and get it running smoothly. (Just yesterday, the studio released an update with hundreds of fixes, though there still seem to be some hilarious bugs.) Many of the plans announced on Tuesday seem to be in service of preventing another high-profile fiasco.

One major change is that CD Projekt Red plans to change how its proprietary REDengine game engine is developed, which could improve performance for future games. “The Studio’s REDengine technology will be improved and centralized, while reorganizing the Studio as a set of interdisciplinary agile teams will transform the way games are developed, making its approach more proactive,” CD Projekt Red said. Theoretically, those changes could prevent issues in future games where games run much more poorly on older consoles, like many experienced with Cyberpunk 2077.

Single-player RPGs “will remain our priority,” Michał Nowakowski, the studio’s SVP of business development, said in a statement, and you can expect to see more of Cyberpunk and The Witcher. “We also perceive the huge potential of both The Witcher and Cyberpunk, and we want to expand their reach to include new areas, media and content types,” Nowakowski said.

Despite the focus on single player, CD Projekt Red does plan to expand its games’ online capabilities, though the studio wasn’t specific about what those features might be. These online features will be gradually rolled out to CD Projekt Red games, the studio said.

And perhaps recognizing that the years-long promotional campaign for Cyberpunk 2077 may have backfired, CD Projekt Red committed to changing how it promotes its future games. “Future marketing campaigns will be much shorter, with promotional content released closer to the presente release of the given game, presenting its operation on all supported hardware platforms,” CD Projekt Red said. The company is also committing to publishing a new roadmap each year.

The studio also committed to improving working conditions for its employees. “CD Projekt will remain an inclusive and diverse workplace; however, we also want to emphasize the well-being of our employees and provide them with professional and personal development opportunities,” studio head Adam Badowski said in a statement. CD Projekt Red did not provide further specifics about what changes will be made.

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