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They Knew It Was Wrong. CD Projekt Red Deceived Consumers Anyway.

LivingD3AD

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On Monday, December 7th, gamers from all around the world were finally given the chance to read and listen to critics' experiences with one of the most anticipated games of the year, Cyberpunk 2077. The game quickly ascended into the OpenCritic Hall of Fame, with an initial top critic average of 91 placing it at #6 in our 2020 Hall of Fame. The reviews almost universally mentioned significant bugs and performance issues but still hyped the game to be worth the wait.

What gamers didn't know is that, behind the scenes, CD PROJEKT RED appears to have been deliberately attempting to misrepresent its product.

The incentive was there. Up until last Friday, the developers believed that their bonuses were contingent upon hitting 90 or higher on Metacritic, according to a report from Bloomberg. As a result, the individual developers and publishers had ample incentive to distribute review codes in a way that maximized their aggregate scores and secured their bonuses.

In this case, they issued PC review copies to publications with high-end PCs and required that they not show any of their own gameplay recordings. They allowed no one to discuss or review the game on the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 consoles.

They did this knowing that their game had severe performance issues on Xbox One and PlayStation 4, which were its target launch consoles given they published its debut trailer in 2013 and the game's initial April 2020 launch date. They did this knowing that the visual bugs that you would see in a video were jarring enough to make many question their preorder. They knew that, if the console version were to be reviewed, it would receive negative reviews due to its performance issues and hurt the game's launch day sales.

They did it knowing that many publications generally can't re-review games. It's not part of their business model. The second review creates confusion with their audience in addition to dampening SEO and Google keyword rankings. Second reviews won't rank high on news aggregators, such as Google News or Apple News, because it's a topic that's been covered by them before. Second reviews also typically come after a game's launch, when many consumers have already decided whether or not to buy a game, and thus don't attract the same readership. Finally, Metacritic generally does not accept edited or updated review scores.

They did it knowing that, to this day, it is still challenging for consumers to return a video game. Physical retailers generally require that games be unopened in order to be returned. Digital retailers have tight controls on their return policies, with many (notably, some consoles) not offering returns at all.

They did it knowing that most online communities don't discuss the platforms behind the review. Most games, especially AAA games, usually don't have significant disparities in the experience between same-gen hardware. Consumers have come to expect that most games will be fairly reviewed across all platforms, and in our experience, most publishers respect that expectation. Most of the review roundups published by individual publications make no reference to the platform reviewed. Extremely large publications, like IGN or GameSpot, are typically afforded the chance to review all platforms and call out any major differences between them. It's a small, though typically inconsequential blindspot in how publications connect with gamers.
 
Nov 29, 2016
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Of course they did.

How is this anything new? How could they possibly be working on a game for 7 years and be surprised that it ran like shit? Oh and the PC only review embargo was just a coincidence?

This is why people saying "good on them" for taking refunds just baffle me. They deliberately deceived their customers and now that there is a big backlash, they will take back some of the broken product that they pushed out the door (we'll see how those even work, I have an email in to them and they said they would get back with the details as to how to return it.)

CDPR has pretty much shit all over all the good will that they built with Witcher 3. They can eat a pile of dicks.
 

ethomaz

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CDPR is wrong... everybody can see that the moment they rushed to PR “8 million preorders”... they know the storm was coming.

They managed the situation in the worst way possible... even big AAA publishers are more open to the issues than CDPR was.

Nut there are not the only ones wrong.

Reviewers giving 10/10 to a bugfest game just because they received suvenirs are as wrong as CDPR... in fact they should have shame from what they did because their compromise are with their readers and not the publishers.

It is really a sad time in the gaming industry and I hope publishers learn that we won’t accept more bugged games with promises of fix patches.

The bubble imploded.
 
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ethomaz

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Why do I have this feeling this article is completely relieving "professional" game critics of any blame?

I really have a hard time believing this. I have a hard time believing not one of them reviewed the PS4/Xbone versions.

Something stinks.
They played the PS4/XB1 version but signed a NDA to now talk or show them.
On Twitter a lot of reviewers hinted at these issues but when asked directly they moved the subject.

What reviewers did is atrocious.

And I will say more tons of GAFers continue defending CDPR even after all these facts... it is sad.
 
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lachesis

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Didn't they say that ideally they would like to release something like April 2021 or sort, when they delayed the game last time to December?
I kinda expected that the game may be pretty buggy/unpolished... but not to this degree. It's really a shame.

Not really sure what really went wrong... obviously the dev team knew of the status, but I guess management just couldn't delay the game for whatever reason?
 
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NickFire

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Why do I have this feeling this article is completely relieving "professional" game critics of any blame?

I really have a hard time believing this. I have a hard time believing not one of them reviewed the PS4/Xbone versions.

Something stinks.
It looks to me that the article is, intentionally or not, highlighting failures and vulnerabilities of those beyond just the devs. My take away is the devs played the game well and fooled some people, but why does that game even exist, and how do we stop it from happening again?
 
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MrS

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Why do I have this feeling this article is completely relieving "professional" game critics of any blame?

I really have a hard time believing this. I have a hard time believing not one of them reviewed the PS4/Xbone versions.

Something stinks.
This is an astute observation. Reviewers are indeed part of the problem and shouldn't be absolved.
 

johntown

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Part of the problem would be huge outrage if they only released on PC. Can you imagine all the hate they would get from console owners? Internet outrage would have been just as bad. Plus missing out on the Christmas holiday. They took a gamble because it was a no win situation either way. Not 100% of console owners have issues either.
 
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SlimySnake

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Everyone knew. The PS4 copies had leaked and footage of a very bad looking game was everywhere at least a week before launch. Reviewers couldve gone out and easily picked up a copy from a seller willing to break the street date but they didnt.

I think this practice of reviewing games on PCs and mid gen consoles needs to stop. So many reviewers were playing even PS4 exclusives on the pro it always rubbed me the wrong way. Pro was selling like 20% at launch after the PS4 had already sold 50 million units. There are probably around 10 million Pro consoles out there. A 100 million PS4 users dont get to play the game at fancy high res with better framerates in some cases.

I know this game is an exception because of how bad it really is on base consoles, but there was a precendent set by reviewers and CD Project took full advantage of it.

these publications need to band together and stop with this nonsense of having the publishers control what reviewers can or cannot talk about. if all big websites refused nonsense NDAs like this, cd project and other publishers would HAVE to ease their NDAs.
 
Jun 12, 2016
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The sad part is how all of this was unnecessary.

Why were they so greedy they couldn't delay the game till next year and ship a working product to next gen consoles at least?

Now it's costing them a lot more in bad PR, refunds, and plummeting stocks. The execs need to be fired for this huge blunder.
 
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Nhranaghacon

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They started in fact working on this game in 2007, considering they showed off a fancy CGI trailer that far back. Most the kid's born then (some who were not yet born).... are teenagers now.

Cyberpunk 2077 in 2007

 
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x@3f*oo_e!

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I think most people will actually not refund the game and sit on it waiting for it to be fixed, whether or not it ever gets properly fixed.

I think CDProjekt knows this too, cynically probably made that calculation too (far too common in the VG industry) - sell people a lemon now, maybe fix it later.

I really have a hard time believing this. I have a hard time believing not one of them reviewed the PS4/Xbone versions.
They didn't have last gen versions. CD-Projekt didn't send them out. At all before launch.

Most/many publications failed to mention this, or expressed any cause for concern that they weren't given access to the versions that people had long expected might not run great.


Time is up on the review embargo for Cyberpunk 2077, ahead fo the game’s release on 10th December for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. However, as much as we’d love to share our opinions and give a verdict today, we can’t do that for one simple reason: we haven’t played the game.

We also aren’t alone in that fact, in the realms of gaming websites. As you can see for the reviews below, it seems that CDPR have restricted access to the PC version of the game, with console code having to go through several extra layers of certification before it can be pushed live. We requested PS4 code for review, and once it arrives, we’ll get to work reviewing the game as soon as we’re able to.
 

Batiman

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Just a shitshow all all around for CDPR and fans. Hopefully others get scared to release their games in this state in the future.
 
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Matsuchezz

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Will halo infinite suffer from the same? I hope cdpr does not close but it was a bad bad bad decision to release those turds on last gen and this fuckup will hurt their name for years to come.
 

phil_t98

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Will halo infinite suffer from the same? I hope cdpr does not close but it was a bad bad bad decision to release those turds on last gen and this fuckup will hurt their name for years to come.

oh come on, Halo just didn't look as good as expected not because it was packed with bugs. if people thought it looked ok it would be released but 343 did the right thing and delayed it
 
Nov 29, 2016
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Just abandon last gen.
Cut off the tumor.

This would have been fine if they didnt market and sell a product catered directly to the XB1 and PS4 gen. Also, nothing that Cyberpunk is doing is that far out from what has been on these consoles before, so its total horseshit that the systems are just too old to run a game like Cyberpunk.

Even if you give them the benefit of the doubt that the system are just too old to run the game without dropping the resolution so far it feels like you are developing cataracts while playing, the game is so fuckin' glitchy its practically broken. Quests dont load up properly, dialogue plays over other dialogue, waypoints point one direction then update to direct you the way you just came, etc,etc.

I loved the Witcher 3 just like everybody else, but this game is a pile of shit. Its dumb and hilarious to watch publishers and devs act like their crappy game is some kind of wild animal that just escaped before they were really finished with it!
 
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Edgelord79

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Matsuchezz

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oh come on, Halo just didn't look as good as expected not because it was packed with bugs. if people thought it looked ok it would be released but 343 did the right thing and delayed it
I mean 343i is trying to squeeze a game in an outdated hardware. If the game looked subpar on pc i just wonder how will it look on xbone. They should drop that shit and move onto the new gen.
Ms now is forced to show base halo infinite running to avoid this kind of crap. I think this sets a precedent and us consumers will be benefited.
 
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Woggleman

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Games that are just as advanced and have way more going on play well on base consoles so what is their excuse? I bring up RDR2 which is a very ambitious open world game that runs perfectly well on base consoles so why is this game struggling so much?
 

x@3f*oo_e!

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I mean 343i is trying to squeeze a game in an outdated hardware. If the game looked subpar on pc i just wonder how will it look on xbone. They should drop that shit and move onto the new gen.
I thought the art direction was part of the problem. Beginning of the trailer looked good. The came the off-brand MEGABLOCKs enemies glowing primary colors firing weapons like rejects from a toys to life game . It was downhill from there.

TF can't fix that.
 
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Not to excuse CDPR at all, but I do hope this whole debacle will temper future kneejerk reactions to game delays. If a game isn't ready, it isn't ready. I wish they had delayed this another 6 months, honestly. Delays are good when the game is fundamentally unstable.

AGAIN, do not get me wrong, this isn't a "it's the gamers fault!" post. Not at all. CDPR fucked up HUGE here.

But, in 4-5 years when The Witcher 4 gets its 5th delay, instead of being upset, be glad it is probably for good reason and hopefully ensures a much smoother launch.
 

Guilty_AI

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Games that are just as advanced and have way more going on play well on base consoles so what is their excuse? I bring up RDR2 which is a very ambitious open world game that runs perfectly well on base consoles so why is this game struggling so much?
You're comparing open fields and old settings with dense, modern cities. Later is much harder on the hardware, harder to make too.
Also, this game is heavier on the CPU side, which is a really weak point of last gen consoles.

Not to excuse CDPR at all, but I do hope this whole debacle will temper future kneejerk reactions to game delays.
I came from the future to tell you it didn't.
 
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FunkMiller

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Yes. This entire thing really is inexcusable, and in an ideal world, devs would leave for other companies, and CDPR would fold. Apt punishment for so deliberately misleading consumers on such a huge scale. This won’t happen of course, but on such poor decisions have companies gone bust.
 

ethomaz

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They started in fact working on this game in 2007, considering they showed off a fancy CGI trailer that far back. Most the kid's born then (some who were not yet born).... are teenagers now.

Cyberpunk 2077 in 2007

2013 video.
 

Fbh

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Not to defend CDPR but let's not pretend gaming media were a victim here.
ACG was maybe the one reviewer I saw talking about the shitshow that was the CDPR review scenario.


Part of the problem would be huge outrage if they only released on PC. Can you imagine all the hate they would get from console owners? Internet outrage would have been just as bad. Plus missing out on the Christmas holiday. They took a gamble because it was a no win situation either way. Not 100% of console owners have issues either.

I honestly don't think the outrage would have been nearly as bad as it currently is.
IF:
- They announced the move to next gen only with months in advance.
- They had been open about the terrible state of the game on Ps4/Xb1 and made an honest statement explaining how their vision just wasn't going to work on the aging hardware of these consoles and how they didn't want to release a gimped blurry 720p 15fps version of the game that wasn't true to the intended experience or level of quality they wanted to achieve.
- Had used all the time and resources they probably wasted trying to optimize the last gen version on polishing the game for Ps5/SX/PC and launching it fully optimized on these new consoles.


There would have been anger, but I don't think there would have been "headline on mainstream news sites like BBC talking about the shit state of the game" anger.
 
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Heartkiller

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I honestly don't think the outrage would have been nearly as bad as it currently is.
IF:
- They announced the move to next gen only with months in advance.
- They had been open about the terrible state of the game on Ps4/Xb1 and made an honest statement explaining how their vision just wasn't going to work on the aging hardware of these consoles and how they didn't want to release a gimped blurry 720p 15fps version of the game that wasn't true to the intended experience or level of quality they wanted to achieve.
- Had used all the time and resources they probably wasted trying to optimize the last gen version on polishing the game for Ps5/SX/PC and launching it fully optimized on these new consoles.


There would have been anger, but I don't think there would have been "headline on mainstream new sites like BBC talking about the shit state of the game" anger.
They chose not to do any of those things. Because money. That's why there's anger.
 
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Guilty_AI

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Yes. This entire thing really is inexcusable, and in an ideal world, devs would leave for other companies, and CDPR would fold. Apt punishment for so deliberately misleading consumers on such a huge scale. This won’t happen of course, but on such poor decisions have companies gone bust.
Would there even be any big gaming companies left in this ideal world though?
 

Fbh

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They chose not to do any of those things. Because money. That's why there's anger.

I know.
The person I was quoting was arguing that if they had dropped the last gen version there would have been just as much anger.

I disagree. I think there wouldn't have been nearly as much....IF they did it right
 

Zefah

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CDPR is wrong... everybody can see that the moment they rushed to PR “8 million preorders”... they know the storm was coming.

They managed the situation in the worst way possible... even big AAA publishers are more open to the issues than CDPR was.

Nut there are not the only ones wrong.

Reviewers giving 10/10 to a bugfest game just because they received suvenirs are as wrong as CDPR... in fact they should have shame from what they did because their compromise are with their readers and not the publishers.

It is really a sad time in the gaming industry and I hope publishers learn that we won’t accept more bugged games with promises of fix patches.

The bubble imploded.

Yep. I am really enjoying the game, but the way they handled this release is unacceptable.

Just pure hubris and greed, which we typically did not associate with CDPR, especially after they delayed the game multiple times and claimed it would come when it's ready, so I think it completely blindsided a lot of folks combined with the duplicitous review embargo tactics.

They took a massive shit on their otherwise good reputation and it's going to hurt the company's bottom line big time. I hope whomever is in charge of their marketing and behind the decision release the game as it was on PS4 and XBO has to face some serious consequences.
 

Dargor

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Why do I have this feeling this article is completely relieving "professional" game critics of any blame?

I really have a hard time believing this. I have a hard time believing not one of them reviewed the PS4/Xbone versions.

Something stinks.

I think they may have even tried (did not read the actual thing), but by and large, they accepted a sus NDA and they can't hide that they are at fault too.
 
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Silver Wattle

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I kept saying it needed a couple more months, people need to see past the hype of these things.

CDPR shot themselves in the foot, just to appease investors and it has cost them, dearly.

The game will be awesome, eventually.
 
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Jtibh

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So who was deceiving who?

Was is cd project that deceived the customer?

Or was it the reviewers who deceived the customer?

Cuz in my book the reviews were all bullshit.
Oh we had the pc version the review bla bla bullshit. They had all the versions to review they just werent allowed to talk about the console version yet somehow they applied the same score accross all plattfroms.


No it wasnt cd project it was all these low live youtube shitters who cant have a real job in life and got a fucking yellow puke chair to masturbate on to bump up the scores.
 
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Captain Toad

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Part of the problem would be huge outrage if they only released on PC. Can you imagine all the hate they would get from console owners? Internet outrage would have been just as bad. Plus missing out on the Christmas holiday. They took a gamble because it was a no win situation either way. Not 100% of console owners have issues either.

Games release on PC a year or more before a console port (and also vice-versa) often. Sure, people would be upset. But it would be nothing compared to this situation.
 

Captain Toad

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So who was deceiving who?

Was is cd project that deceived the customer?

Or was it the reviewers who deceived the customer?

Cuz in my book the reviews were all bullshit

The reviewers were reviewing the only version of the game they were allowed to play - the PC version.

Did most overlook the sheer number of bugs, etc? Maybe. But, you can't really blame them for not telling players the problems with the Xbox One and PS4 games, when they didn't have a chance to play it before everyone else.

That was all CDPR and they knew exactly what they were doing.
 

Guilty_AI

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Sadly very few. This industry is fucking broken.
Yup, couldn't agree more. Ever since it grew to mainstream levels it became like this. Bigger games being necessary to appease the public, thus needing more money, thus leading to bigger hype levels and even more dumbed down uncreative mechanics, the cycle always becoming worse and worse until breaking point.

I blame Microsoft and Halo 3
 
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Heartkiller

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I know.
The person I was quoting was arguing that if they had dropped the last gen version there would have been just as much anger.

I disagree. I think there wouldn't have been nearly as much....IF they did it right
I think there probably would have been a lot of anger at a decision like that as well, depending on when the announcement was made. Remember, this game was supposed to come out at the beginning of this year. Next gen consoles weren't even a factor. You're right that it would have probably generated less anger than what we have now but it was never really an option for CDPR to cut off such a massive install base. The best decision they could have made would have been to delay the entire release until spring of next year. They wanted that holiday money though. Yes, entitled brats would have been upset at another delay. It still would have worked out better in the end. For everybody.
 

Darkmakaimura

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They started in fact working on this game in 2007, considering they showed off a fancy CGI trailer that far back. Most the kid's born then (some who were not yet born).... are teenagers now.

Cyberpunk 2077 in 2007

Somebody posted an article on this forum that said they didn't actually start on making the game until 2017. Apparently everything before that was just pre-production.
 

Raven117

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They fucked up. Thats apparent.

The question is how far will they fall and how can they mitigate the damage.

They went from the next Rockstar to something very much less.
 
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Aion002

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CD PR is just trash, just like EA releasing Mass Effect Andromeda and Anthem.

I am not blaming the devs that are underpaid and overworked, it all lies on those that decide stuff over CD PR. Those are scummy as fuck, selling defective products.

Also, reviewers that ignored the ps4 and xone versions of the game are disgusting.

Just that.

Places like IGN that made a review
like this before launch:

..


And then updated after people had bought the game, pretending that they didn't knew.... They are also guilty.



Other than some rare exceptions, game reviewers are trash.