It was expected to be the biggest video game blockbuster of 2020.
What could go wrong?
Quite a lot, it turns out. It was predicted to be the Ferrari of the gaming world – but rather than a turbocharged masterpiece, its launch greeted eager players with more breakdowns and faults than a Morris Marina.
Whole compilations were published on YouTube, showing glitches ranging from palm trees inexplicably sinking into the road, to NPCs (non-playable characters) strolling down the street with what appeared to be fence parts stuck in legs.
Cyberpunk is an open-world game, sporting a non-linear storyline, allowing the player to design and upgrade their characters as they wish and progress the story in the direction of their choice.
This model of game is infamously susceptible to bugs because of the millions of possible events that might occur in any one playthrough. The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim was another good example of a (widely beloved) open-world game that suffered from some hilarious glitches.
The problems numbered so many in the end for Cyberpunk that CD Projekt Red was forced to take it off the market and offer refunds to those who had already bought a copy; an unprecedented move in the industry.
However, after more tinkering and long hours, last week the game returned to the PlayStation store. So, does it work now?
Fewer glitches were reported last year when playing on PC, so Sky News put the latest iteration of Cyberpunk to the test, playing the PS4 version on a PS5. The game will receive a free PS5 upgrade later this year.
First impressions are good: the graphics are on the higher end for a game designed for last-generation consoles, the sound design is immersive, and most of all, there are very few bugs.
The most noticeable glitch experienced so far was a deceased enemy that appeared to wiggle around on the floor, bizarrely raising limbs in 1980s disco fashion. Various characters sometimes speak over each other, but that is difficult to avoid when the player can interact with various NPCs simultaneously.
These problems are barely noticeable though, with action sequences and combat flowing seamlessly.
We experienced no crashes, and loading times were acceptable for a game that size (the PS5’s solid state hard drive will have sped these up considerably).
CD Projekt Red have certainly improved on the interminably delayed original release, potentially even rescuing the reputation of a game plagued by bad press about poor results and long working hours for employees.
Proving a game the size of Cyberpunk can actually work, and deliver a sprawling, immersive experience without too many issues, poses an exciting question about the future of open-world games – and how far other developers such as Rockstar, for example, could take titles such as Grand Theft Auto in the future.