Home Gaming Cyberpunk 2077 made a decade’s worth of development and marketing cash back on launch day

Cyberpunk 2077 made a decade’s worth of development and marketing cash back on launch day

2 min read
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Cyberpunk 2077 was always going to turn a profit, controversies be damned. A decade of development, a slick campaign hyping up the product, and throwing America’s sweetheart Keanu Reeves into the mix was a recipe for success, and after a mere day on store shelves, CD Projekt Red has already recouped its development costs from pre-order sales alone.

As spotted by industry figure Daniel Ahmad on Twitter, CDPR’s 65/2020 financial report detailed how the game’s production and marketing costs have already been covered. Prepare to jack into pure corpo-talk for this one, netrunners:

“The Management Board of CD PROJEKT S.A. with a registered office in Warsaw (hereinafter referred to as ‘the Company’) hereby announces that the estimated licensing royalties receivable by the Company in association with pre-order sales of Cyberpunk 2077 across all of its digital distribution channels have exceeded the sum of the following:

  • Total development expenditures related to the game, and
  • The game’s marketing and promotional costs borne by the Company – either already incurred or anticipated for the remainder of 2020.

No surprises there! What is surprising is how CDPR is handling a 13th paycheque for its employees. Criticisms of crunch working conditions aside, game bonuses have traditionally been tied to Metacritic average scores, a system that’s about as flawed as politicians being held to account for their actions.

As reported by Bloomberg, CD Projekt executives took the blame for launching a bug-riddled mess of a game, explaining to staff that a bonus system tied to the game’s ratings was “simply not fair under the circumstances” as the studio had “underestimated the lengths and complexity involved to make this a reality”. “We initially had a bonus system that was focused on the game’s ratings and the release date, but after consideration, we believe that measure is simply not fair under the circumstances,” studio head and creative director Adam Badowski was reported to have told  staff via email.

We underestimated the lengths and complexity involved to make this a reality, and still you did everything you could to deliver an ambitious, special game.

For what it’s worth, I think Cyberpunk 2077 is a great game, but it’s not game of the year material for me. It’s this generation’s Skyrim, and even without the bugs plaguing it, it’s still an awkward sandbox that features some incredibly stiff design, archaic gameplay systems, and other assorted weirdness.There’s clearly still some work to be done.

Last Updated: December 14, 2020

42 Comments

  1. It is not really that big of a surprise more of a public confirmation, this was “leaked” months ago when they decided to go on a crunch schedule.

    I’ve been enjoying my time with the game a lot having a less buggy experience then I’m having on AC Odyssey but that is probably because I’m playing on a the system the main dev cycle was focused on and tested on. I can understand people being pissed having to play crashing mess.

    It is a shame that they effectively cashed in customer goodwill they built up over the last decade; with hindsight they should have pulled a Rockstar with a staggered platform release, PC at the end of 2019, PS4/Xbone this year and next gen console next year.

    I can not understand some of the design criticisms though, this game is building a rich story telling environment, if you rush the game you will miss a lot of the nuances and the game setting info. If they can redeem themselves in the next months this is perfect setting to launch more games on building another Witcher universe.

    Reply

  2. HvR

    December 14, 2020 at 09:36

    It is not really that big of a surprise more of a public confirmation, this was “leaked” months ago when they decided to go on a crunch schedule.

    I’ve been enjoying my time with the game a lot having a less buggy experience then I’m having on AC Odyssey but that is probably because I’m playing on a the system the main dev cycle was focused on and tested on. I can understand people being pissed having to play crashing mess.

    It is a shame that they effectively cashed in customer goodwill they built up over the last decade; with hindsight they should have pulled a Rockstar with a staggered platform release, PC at the end of 2019, PS4/Xbone this year and next gen console next year.

    I can not understand some of the design criticisms though, this game is building a rich story telling environment, if you rush the game you will miss a lot of the nuances and the game setting info. If they can redeem themselves in the next months this is perfect setting to launch more games on building another Witcher universe.

    Reply

  3. Mandalorian Jim

    December 14, 2020 at 08:15

    Just a pity they had to be so slimy in their advertisement of the game (the promises they made etc.) and how the xbone and PS4 versions of the game actually turned out. It’s interesting how quickly a beloved developer or publisher can become a villain, and in this case, they’ve done harm to their reputation (as the “good guys of gaming”) – virtually overnight.

    I’m somewhat lucky in that I have a PS4 Pro and the game runs a little better. I don’t have the weird low resolution bugs, or the delays in textures popping up, but it definitely doesn’t look anything like what I’d expect from a PS4 game. And then there are the crashes… sweet mother of mercy, I played about 8 hours before shelving the game (and during that time I had nearly 20 crashes). The last one ended up hard locking the PS4, and I was saddled with corrupted files. So I had to spend the next few hours rebuilding my PS4s database, deleting corrupted installations, and then rebuilding the database again. The disk is now back in its box, awaiting either being returned to the store (for a full refund) or trading the game in for something else, or waiting till CD Projekt Red fixes the game for Xbone and PS4 (which honestly, the state this game is in, I seriously doubt they will be able to – but.. hey.. never say never). But for me, especially on the PS4 – this is a 4/10 game. It’s a buggy mess, and even worse, a broken mess.

    On the other hand, Immortals Fenyx is a phenomenal game, and I can’t believe Ubisoft is responsible for it. After the mess that was Cyberpunk 2077. The foul taste it’s left in my mouth. I’m just happy to play a great game, with great visuals, a great story and two hilarious narrators – Zeus and Prometheus. https://media3.giphy.com/media/kZty2BybeBI4o2TOVa/giphy.gif

    Reply

    • MechMachine

      December 14, 2020 at 09:31

      Yeah, when I saw how it looks on older gen I actually couldn’t believe it. It looks really insane on the PS5, but it crashes so much, I`m actually starting to get worried about the hardware.

      Reply

      • Mandalorian Jim

        December 14, 2020 at 10:28

        Yeah, it depends on the type of crash, if it’s hard locking your PS5, remove that disk ASAP, but a soft crash should be fine (but those can also lead to corrupted files). Is the process to a rebuild the same for the PS5 as for the PS4?

        Reply

        • MechMachine

          December 14, 2020 at 11:04

          Soft crashes, but I`m not having to re-build my database. It’s just averaging a crash every hour.

          Reply

          • Mandalorian Jim

            December 14, 2020 at 11:08

            That’s fine, I guess. I would probably have continued with the occasional soft crash, but a hard lock is where I say “No, Fuck off game”.

            I’m leaning towards taking the game in for a full refund today, and then maybe revisiting it again in a couple of months, if I can find a second hand copy on Facebook market or in a bargain bin at BT Games. But, I think my stint with CyberPunk 2077 is over.

            :Salute:

          • MechMachine

            December 14, 2020 at 12:54

            If there is one company that will bounce back and make it up to you, it’s these guys. This is a sting that will make them reflect, I believe, and the hype was far too much to live up too, but they did get the fundamentals wrong. Look at how Gta looks on PS4.

    • Guild

      December 14, 2020 at 10:54

      So question I have now is: Was Kallie Plagge gamespot review that people had issue with, spot on or not? Looking at MetaCritic the User rating is way worse than the review she got slammed for. I know you had issues with it. Do you agree with her review now?

      Reply

      • Mandalorian Jim

        December 14, 2020 at 11:01

        I think the issue with her review wasn’t the score, but rather that she admitted to barely playing the game. She skipped parts of it, gleefully admitted to not really being into the RPG side of the game, steam rolled through the main campaign, ignored most of the side quests, and focussed on superfluous nonsense like identity. So, no, her review wasn’t spot on, but her score may actually be more in line with what the game should be scoring on PC. It also highlights how ridiculous game journalism is, especially all the 9s floating around.

        It’s an interesting problem when you consider Kallie Plagge’s review, the problem still lies with the fact that her review is a farce.

        The Jeux video review for the PS4 version is actually spot on though, because there you can see the reviewer played the game, tried as hard as they could to do as much as possible, but the issue lay with the bugs, the crashes and the fact that parts of it just became unplayable. One reviewer did their job, the other didn’t.

        Reply

      • MechMachine

        December 14, 2020 at 11:31

        Can I weigh in ? I think we’ve gone through a relatively tumultuous time in recent years, I can relate to what Journos feel as I can see my own career being rendered redundant as other platforms become more prominent for consumers to watch or digest content. This has significant implications for ad revenue and results in insecurity for those of us in media as we see our jobs being at risk. YouTube seems to have opened up a new and far more powerful means of communicating info trough content creation which often leaves a hostile relationship between old and new media. I look at what some websites are doing and I think they are on the wrong path, but I choose to ignore. But, by the same token, I see the same patterns in YouTube content creation and I see trends in the way their creator do things and I see error in the way they approach things ( hate baiting ). Where there is a market, there will be people willing to cater to it. And that is the crux of the matter. The best we can do is not partake and try and enjoy what we can where we can. You asking Jim is pretty much a symptom of partaking in this process as much as him criticizing this Journalist for whatever she said is.

        Reply

        • Guild

          December 14, 2020 at 11:54

          I was genuinely interested to see if his opinion changed on her review since he was vocal on it.

          Reply

          • MechMachine

            December 14, 2020 at 11:54

            Ok, It was just such a firestorm. My bad.

          • Guild

            December 14, 2020 at 12:13

            Everyone’s entitled to their opinions and it’s not my place to change them. Most the time why I don’t engage on the topics is because of the firestorms and unnecessary arguments. I am busy and got other things that are more important than fighting opinions.
            On the topic of this Cyberpunk, I deleted it and will play it when they patch it and I get a PS5. With all the scoring, hasn’t changed my opinion that I want to play it. Just at the moment it’s a no.

          • MechMachine

            December 14, 2020 at 12:23

            Yep, I recommend it. I have a crash every hour. It’s an awe inspiring game. The visuals alone. Wow.

          • Mandalorian Jim

            December 14, 2020 at 16:13

            I think I summed up my position on her review fairly well, but as a quick summary, no, I still think she did a terrible review. I still think Gamespot’s review is a farce, and should be criticised for all the reasons I’ve listed. It just so happens that her score is more in line with what the game should probably be scoring given the litany of issues that have cropped up (on PC). It’s sad though that there are so few reviews about the PS4 and XBone versions,

            But as Mech and many others have posted, the game is phenomenal. I enjoyed what I played, and it literally gutted me when I realised I shouldn’t continue because the crashes weren’t just soft locks any more, but actually hardlocking the console itself. I don’t even know how the guys with normal PS4s feel, or the guys with normal xbox ones. But, it does feel like a game for 2020. After the year we’ve had, it’s almost symbolic that the game that we’ve all been looking forward to has been a mixed bag.

  4. Viper_ZA

    December 14, 2020 at 09:16

    Absolutely loving it on PC. Too bad they marketed it for all major platforms…

    Reply

    • Mandalorian Jim

      December 14, 2020 at 09:23

      Yeah, they really should have just focussed on pc and next gen. And admitted that current gen would have to fall away. Now, they’ve pissed off a large proportion of their fanbase, and getting that Good willback will be very hard

      Reply

      • Viper_ZA

        December 14, 2020 at 09:31

        Hopefully they will learn from their mistake.

        Reply

        • MechMachine

          December 14, 2020 at 09:53

          I think they were super ambitious with this game, Probably had far too much stuff in there. We might find out one day that they had to cut content because it was just too much. 7 years is a long time.

          Reply

          • Viper_ZA

            December 14, 2020 at 10:13

            It’s already packed with content. Considering the long development cycle, they should have just stuck with next-gen platforms. That being said, it is still one helluva fun game if you have the hardware.

      • Mark Treloar

        December 14, 2020 at 12:13

        Considering that this was an issue in February already it would have worked out cleaner for them.

        Reply

  5. MechMachine

    December 14, 2020 at 09:23

    Yeah, This game needs some serious attention. I’ve put many hours into it but I can almost predict when its about to crash. When they released the 1,4 patch, I was blown away. It looked like they turned up the gfx a few notches. But damn, the bugs and the crashes. I’ve decided to shelf it util they release another update. Such a momentous shift in gaming, just so many bugs.

    Reply

  6. Original Heretic

    December 14, 2020 at 09:31

    Good for them.
    Bags can be fixed. They’ve shown just how well they offer support in their Witcher games. I cannot see them now doing it differently.
    I’ll just wait for the bugs to get worked out, a good sale, then I’ll be hitting Night City.

    Reply

  7. HvR

    December 14, 2020 at 09:36

    It is not really that big of a surprise more of a public confirmation, this was “leaked” months ago when they decided to go on a crunch schedule.

    I’ve been enjoying my time with the game a lot having a less buggy experience then I’m having on AC Odyssey but that is probably because I’m playing on a the system the main dev cycle was focused on and tested on. I can understand people being pissed having to play crashing mess.

    It is a shame that they effectively cashed in customer goodwill they built up over the last decade; with hindsight they should have pulled a Rockstar with a staggered platform release, PC at the end of 2019, PS4/Xbone this year and next gen console next year.

    I can not understand some of the design criticisms though, this game is building a rich story telling environment, if you rush the game you will miss a lot of the nuances and the game setting info. If they can redeem themselves in the next months this is perfect setting to launch more games on building another Witcher universe.

    Reply

    • Mark Treloar

      December 14, 2020 at 10:13

      I’m 19 hours in and honestly very few bugs and 0 crashes. Cant say the same for AC Valhalla.

      Reply

      • MechMachine

        December 14, 2020 at 10:26

        Where do you check your hours ?

        Reply

        • Mandalorian Jim

          December 14, 2020 at 10:37

          Save file? It usually lists how long you’ve played?

          Reply

        • Mark Treloar

          December 14, 2020 at 12:13

          Playing it through GOG Galaxy. It lists play time

          Reply

    • MechMachine

      December 14, 2020 at 09:48

      One thing I’ve found is there is so much to the side missions. I just finished this mission with a cop, And it has you driving around Night City solving a case. Random, but just so much detail.

      Reply

      • Viper_ZA

        December 14, 2020 at 10:13

        Made it a point to not rush the main campaign, there is A LOT going on 🙂

        Reply

        • MechMachine

          December 14, 2020 at 10:26

          Yeah, I am definitely going to restart, I get this weird thing where I get this nostalgia vibe when I know I am nearing the end of the experience. I’ve been playing no-stop since release and I am well into the game, but I want a bug free play through. Man, Even on the PS5, it’s full of bugs.

          Reply

      • HvR

        December 14, 2020 at 10:13

        Ooh still have to find that one,

        First revelation for me was that unlike most openworld RPG games you can and should be climbing over obstacles and on buildings to get to places or access a hostile location through a safer route but this takes observation since you do not have spiderman skills like in AC.

        Also had a rather quick side gig that accidentally revealed that even with side missions you have a lot of multiple paths to complete it. Needed to convince a detective to drop a case for her own safety. The route the game pointed to involved me paying way too much for info and that I could not afford, so while I was looking for the access points to hack for cash I accidentally pissed of the local Tiger Claw gang which involved a hell of a firefight when I finished dispatching them all. This is when I realised those money grabbing rats now offers the info for free after they realised the can of whoopass I can deliver. On top of that I could have just found the place while searching and entering the building can be done with either cash or hacking or paying bum to get access via the backdoor of the motel.

        Reply

        • MechMachine

          December 14, 2020 at 10:13

          Yeah, I think it’s many hours in. I`m actually going to re-start the game when the next hot fix comes. What did you think of the first Cyber psycho ? I had the Maelstrom girl. Insane…

          Reply

          • HvR

            December 14, 2020 at 10:13

            Same, struggled my ass off since my first character is focusing on engineering, hacking and gun play. So pretty much all lethal.

            Left it for a bit went looking for some more non-lethal weapons, grenades and hacks. Couple flashbangs and hacks I was able to close in and beat her ass with a hammer.

          • MechMachine

            December 14, 2020 at 10:28

            Yeah, the magnitude of actually playing the game, taking all the detail and just being there, I must admit that the skill tree has been secondary to all the gawking. Lots of flesh on display.

          • Mark Treloar

            December 14, 2020 at 10:13

            Died instantly the first time I fought her. Tried again this time well timed shotgun and healing and managed to win

          • MechMachine

            December 14, 2020 at 10:26

            I was playing on very hard, I spent a good hour on the fight. It started weighing down the game for me, so I just turned down the difficulty. Beat her in 5 minutes.

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          December 14, 2020 at 14:54

          Yesterday I splurged my hard earned eddies (45k!) on the double jump legs cyber gear, makes the world of difference to traversing the city and getting into good positions or hard to reach locations.

          Reply

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