From time to time, a game comes along that is so hotly anticipated that it’s virtually all that gamers can talk about. Red Dead Redemption 2 was just such a phenomenon. And, when it did finally land, it more than lived up to the most optimistic expectations. But then so many rumours had been circulating about the insane number of hours that had gone into its creation that it was truly fortunate that it had really lived up to the hype.
Cyberpunk 2077 was the same in many respects. It had allegedly been in production for around eight years and was set to be one of the first big games whose release would coincide with the other major event of the year – new consoles from Sony and Microsoft.
Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’ll know how disastrously wrong the launch went. This wasn’t so much something that affected the lucky few who had managed to get their hands on both the game and one of the PS5s not scooped up by scalpers. But anyone who tried to play the game on a last-gen machine found that the bugs, glitches, crashes and other issues made it all but impossible to play.
The subsequent apologies from CD Projekt Red and the refunds promised to disgruntled gamers must have done untold damage to both the developers’ reputation and their bottom line. And it’s also surely taught the wider gaming world some important lessons.
The most important of these must surely be that there is no way that a game should be released until it’s been tested and retested to see how it plays on all of the consoles and devices that could conceivably be used.
This is especially important when future commercial success depends upon it. To use a similar example, online casinos rely on being able to be played on a far wider range of devices than a video game, sometimes going back many generations. So they test, test and test again. And when you read a solid evaluation of Lucky Nugget Casino NZ you can see that some do get everything right. For example, it’s one that is praised not just for its wide choice of games, but for its safety and reliability too.
One particular element of Cyberpunk 2077 that has also been singled out for criticism has been the way that its NPCs act and react in the game. Before launch, it was much hyped that these characters would take this part of a game to a whole new level in terms of unique behavior and reactions. But the reality fell a long, long way short of the promise with generic words being uttered and the same gestures being used by many of these bit-part players.
So the moral is that it’s too easy to focus on the big picture rather than the little details. But it’s the latter that can raise a game up to a whole new level. Rockstar Games seemed to have got the message, but it looks like CD Projekt Red never got the email.