Sunday, December 3, 2023

How Cyberpunk 2077 kept a promise and rigged the system

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CD Projekt Red had nearly a decade to design the great Cyberpunk 2077 mythos. Game critics only had a few days to rate it and didn’t know how to portray it. Players who lost $ 60 on this palace of cyberpunk fun in 2019 have been shaken; all the hot air whistled out. Professional reviewer Kallie Plagge gave Cyberpunk 2077 a 7/10 on GameSpot– not even a pan – criticizing him for building a one-dimensional world, disconnected side quests, and large-scale technical issues. Mass harassment attended the review. The reactionary YouTubers, who did not have access to the game, spent lengthy videos dismantling his criticism, dissecting his playing time and style of play. But a few days later, once the players finally played Cyberpunk 2077 themselves, many did a 180. “Everyone was talking about her, but I’m starting to agree with Kelly [sp] Plagge, ”read a popular article on / r / cyberpunkgame.

CD Projekt Red is not the first or the only game company to conduct psy-op marketing. In 2016, No Man’s Sky literally promised the world and the other infinites; it had to be the largest, the most immersive, the most more game up to this point. But since the studio behind Hello Games didn’t offer it to critics at all prior to launch, gamers discovered the hard way that it didn’t provide the basics like multiplayer connectivity. This year alone, WIRED received more than a dozen offers to rate great games with NES. It is not always to hide flaws; Sometimes it’s to avoid spoilers or the result of an overzealous PR team. But putting those kinds of handcuffs on critics ultimately hurts the people who buy the games.

As the market size of the games industry reaches $ 60.4 billion, the pressure to micromanage the reviews system is increasing more and more. For example, Bloomberg at reported that CD Projekt Red developer bonuses depended on a 90+ on Metacritic. (That changed after release.) The company had built the video game equivalent of a genie in a bottle. So he did what everyone else does when he gained a minimum of power: control the narrative. CD Projekt Red declined WIRED’s request for comment.

The same incentives also rig the system against developers, who six-day work weeks and sacrifice the work-life balance to manifest slogans as “a larger-than-life city,” “sets new standards in terms of graphics, complexity and depth.” These are modern expectations for a 60-hour AAA open-world game – an increasingly bloated and increasingly unsustainable genre. In June, former PlayStation executive Sean Layden lamented the enormous financial and labor burden of developing these types of games for “I think the industry as a whole needs to sit back and say, ‘Okay, what are we building? What is the public expectation? What’s the best way to get our story across and say what we need to say? “

Eight million pre-orders, however, say that all of this stage management is benefiting someone. Video games are particularly susceptible to the bait and the switch. Games are both identities and hobbies: a place to be yourself and explore who you are and something you do and own. Better customization, bigger worlds, better graphics – more, more, more – this can’t last exponentially. But a system that feeds on hope will only grow at the height of the trust placed in it.

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