Cyberpunk 2077 has been eagerly anticipated for the best part of a decade, but as it finally launches, it's an absolute mess on the very consoles it was originally designed for. That should set off alarm bells for Microsoft as it works towards the launch of its own blockbuster, Halo Infinite.
Cyberpunk 2077 has endured some lengthy delays, just like Microsoft's own Halo Infinite, now pushed back at least a year. And based on the Cyberpunk 2077 launch, some real questions should be asked over putting it on the Xbox One at all.
Now, more than ever, a decision has to be made: Halo Infinite should not be released on the Xbox One for the sake of the fans, the money they're going to spend on it, and the time they will invest.
In short, Cyberpunk 2077 is a mess. CDPR will no doubt issue patches and address the issues as best they can, but this game is massive and it's clear that the base Xbox One and PS4 simply cannot keep up.
Masters of console analysis, Digital Foundry, have released their early findings and they makes for grim reading. They're yet to report on Xbox One specifically, but the base PS4 sees frame rates as low as 15 FPS, with a seemingly constant 20 FPS when driving around the massive Night City. Hitching and pop-in are frequent partners to frame drops, too. Many players say the game is essentially unplayable.
And let's not forget that the base PS4 had a slight raw performance edge, so it's not like the Xbox One is going to be substantially better. When you're hearing that the hottest game of the game is "very blurry," it's not a good look. The truth is pretty simple: the old consoles can't cut it anymore.
The base consoles were already holding back the PS4 Pro and the Xbox One X. Cyberpunk 2077 was developed through the life cycle of these consoles, and it's still this bad.
Sure, Halo Infinite now isn't coming out until the back end of 2021, so there's plenty of time to get it right. But based on the showcase earlier this year and the ensuing memes, is launching on Xbox One really something Microsoft can afford to do?
By the time Halo Infinite launches, the Xbox Series X and Series S will have been on sale for at least a year. There's every likelihood that Halo Infinite will look and play amazingly well on the new consoles. Everything about them is better. Cyberpunk 2077 hasn't even been patched for Series X yet but still seems to hit a consistent 60-ish FPS because the performance mode paired with the sheer horsepower allows for it.
But the story goes back to the base Xbox One. This console had already been holding back the Xbox One X, because all Xbox One games had to be on both. Towards the end of the console generation, it felt that we were starting to miss out on what could have been because of the older, weaker console.
Halo Infinite has already endured a troubled birth. Can Microsoft really afford to take the risk of low frame rates, poor textures and low resolution, coupled with the arduous loading times the old consoles have, when it pushes out arguably its most important new game in years?
I don't think it's worth it.
As much as it hurts to say it, the Xbox One family is dead and should be cut loose before it starts to do more harm than good to reputations and to the enjoyment people are getting from games. What's the point in spending money on a game you won't enjoy because the hardware you have just can't handle it?
PC gamers have had to fight with this forever. You can try every trick in the book, but sometimes you just have to admit defeat and either not play or upgrade your hardware.
Gaming has changed, and it's admirable that as the new generation of consoles launched, Microsoft committed to getting games cross-gen and without extra charge. But a time will have to come, as it did with previous new consoles, where the old ones simply have to stop getting new releases. I'd argue no new AAA games should target Xbox One and PS4, but Microsoft should take a stand and begin with Halo Infinite.
Is it worth chancing bad press and bad reviews? Especially in a game that is, apparently, the future of Halo for the next decade? No experience is better than a bad experience.