CD Projekt's Upcoming Title: Cyberpunk

Prederick wrote:

This f*ckin' game man.

Fixed it. Basically reinstalled my graphics drivers and the entire f**king game, but I fixed it. I really cannot show, via text, the level of barely-repressed annoyance I have (also, somehow I'm seeing MORE graphical glitches this time through than when I played it just after release?), and yet...

ranalin wrote:

It wasn't everything i wanted from a Cyberpunk game, but i did find it fun and immersive. I played through it 2.5 times because of it.

It me. I have a litany of criticisms, but I still broadly enjoyed myself.

Except for the parts where I have to be Johnny. Dear God, those parts suck.

Malor wrote:

I feel kinda bad for the staff there, because they obviously worked incredibly hard on the game, but their management and writing team both kinda screwed the pooch. Even ignoring the technical problems, even if the game's code was perfect, it's not actually that good.

It is always tempting to reach for a "lions led by donkeys" explanation, but I don't think this fits here.

Clearly, this was a poorly managed project. But, at the end of the day, what we see is a product of what 'the staff' actually did. The staff wrote the story. The staff designed the game. The staff did the programming. The staff created the missions.

I very much doubt that 'management' specified that the police should spawn out of thin air. And I very much doubt that NPC should despawn in to thin air as soon as the player's back is turned.

Both the management of this project and the execution of it were poor.

But I agree with you totally that the game is not actually that good. The decision to ditch multiplayer strongly suggests that the developers agree, and are keen to move on once this year's patches are done.

detroit20 wrote:

It is always tempting to reach for a "lions led by donkeys" explanation, but I don't think this fits here.

Clearly, this was a poorly managed project. But, at the end of the day, what we see is a product of what 'the staff' actually did. The staff wrote the story. The staff designed the game. The staff did the programming. The staff created the missions.

I very much doubt that 'management' specified that the police should spawn out of thin air. And I very much doubt that NPC should despawn in to thin air as soon as the player's back is turned.

Both the management of this project and the execution of it were poor.

But I agree with you totally that the game is not actually that good. The decision to ditch multiplayer strongly suggests that the developers agree, and are keen to move on once this year's patches are done.

Obviously you’ve never had to manage a large project while understaffed during a time crunch. My assumption is some big shot director/manager walked in during development and gave a rousing speech where everyone was told to stop right where they were because the game had to ship before Christmas. I imagine at some point during his speech the line “Whatever you are working on right now, let’s just cut to the chase and figure out a way to make it work, then we’ll come back and fix it later.” was uttered with gusto.

Malor wrote:

I feel kinda bad for the staff there, because they obviously worked incredibly hard on the game, but their management and writing team both kinda screwed the pooch. Even ignoring the technical problems, even if the game's code was perfect, it's not actually that good.

Clearly you didn’t play the same game that I did, or maybe if you did then it must have been on the wrong system.

Edit: I’d just like to add that although there are many players who did have severe issues with the game, I played the base version with mostly just the day one patch and clocked over 100 hours into it. I had one crash, which happened after they released a small update, but Steam file validation fixed it. I completed every quest, did every event, and saw every ending. This was on a PC with i7, 32gb, M.2 drive, and a1080ti. I played at 2K resolution with mostly ultra settings. It wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but it also wasn’t the steaming pile so many people made it out to be. (even those who clearly never played it, but still wanted to jump on the bandwagon anyway)

For those that tried to play it on base consoles there is no excuse. They were lied to and deceived, not just by CD Project but also by Sony and Microsoft. Both companies knew the game ran like garbage on base consoles, but didn’t want that to tank sales so they certified it anyway. I still place blame for that squarely with management. If you disagree that’s fine, but I’m coming from over 25 years working for some of the biggest corporations in the world. If you think the senior management team isn’t calling all the shots then you are either incredibly naive, or just completely clueless.

So for those who played the game at launch and then stopped.

Months later, what do you think of the game and your experience playing it now?

I did that and on the second playthrough I got to the part after Jonny joins up....and just kind of fizzeled out. I am already a person who loses interest quickly so I am not surprised but once the world actually opened up it just felt so dull.

I was at that part where your car is not available but before you get the motorcycle and walking the streets was just a slog. I ran, and ran, and ran, over and over to inch my way across the map but there was nothing exciting to stop and see. Sure there were some crimes and people to shoot so I got a lot of guns (a lot) but no one interesting to talk to, no little stories.

I wanted to find a woman who lost her frying pan, or a soldier hiding from the army, etc. but nothing. Just tons of weapons to sell and walking.

Budo wrote:

So for those who played the game at launch and then stopped.

Months later, what do you think of the game and your experience playing it now?

Do we still use the term "ludonarrative dissonance"? Because, for me, the dissonance between the urgency of the main plot line and the free form, open world, do-what-you-want-next gameplay (mentioned upthread) is one of the big factors that really dampens my interest in the game.

Unfortunately, I don't think that is a think that can or will be fixed via a patch.

Aside from that, the big patch issue I'm looking for is an overhaul of the clothing/itemization system that lets you wander around the city without looking like a total idiot. Once that happens, I'll probably give the game another shot.

Malor wrote:

I feel kinda bad for the staff there, because they obviously worked incredibly hard on the game, but their management and writing team both kinda screwed the pooch. Even ignoring the technical problems, even if the game's code was perfect, it's not actually that good.

I'm having more fun with the $5 copy of Mad Max I picked up in a GOG sale awhile back.

Mad Max is a good game! Very by-the-numbers but the driving combat is a lot of fun, I liked clearing the areas, and the setting was very cool to explore.

Glycerine wrote:

Obviously you’ve never had to manage a large project while understaffed during a time crunch. My assumption is some big shot director/manager walked in during development and gave a rousing speech where everyone was told to stop right where they were because the game had to ship before Christmas. I imagine at some point during his speech the line “Whatever you are working on right now, let’s just cut to the chase and figure out a way to make it work, then we’ll come back and fix it later.” was uttered with gusto...

I still place blame for that squarely with management. If you disagree that’s fine, but I’m coming from over 25 years working for some of the biggest corporations in the world. If you think the senior management team isn’t calling all the shots then you are either incredibly naive, or just completely clueless.

It's possible that I'm both naive and clueless. But what I definitely am is the Head of Project Management for the UK arm of an American media company, and I'm all too familiar with the challenges of managing large projects under resource- and under time-pressure. But that is beside the point.

What your narrative leaves out is the fact that CD Projekt Red had been working on the game since at least 2012 when they announced it at their Summer conference (although the consensus is that full development began only in 2016).

What your narrative also leaves out is that the big shot director/manager also walked in during development in January, saw that the game wasn't ready and told the team that she'd delay the planned April launch.

What your narrative leaves out is that same big shot director/manager then trundled down the stairs into the dark satanic mill that was the development floor, saw that the game still wasn't ready and told the team that she'd delay launch again (this time until September).

What your narrative leaves out is that a new big shot director/manager (the previous one was likely fired for missing deadlines) made that same journey twice more, Once in October, to delay the game again until November. And once more in November to give the "rousing speech" you describe.

Oftentimes big projects like this are poorly resources, planned and managed. I don't deny that. However, sometimes employees/staff also just do a bad job.

When a wide received drops a pass that hits him square in the hands. That's not a management or coaching issues. That's just bad work.
When a waiter gets your order wrong and brings you the wrong dish. That's not a management issue. That's just bad work.

Even putting to one side the technical issues, when I look at much of the design and execution of Cyberpunk, I see bad work.

EDIT: I keep seeing comments about people playing the game on the wrong systems. I know that you've added an edit to clarify that remark. However, I think it is worth remembering that if CDPR had met any of their earlier release dates there would not have been new consoles to play them on.

But even with a December release date, the overwhelming majority of console players would have been on what are now last generation hardware. Supply issues meant that they had no choice.

garion333 wrote:

There's pockets of interesting things in the game, but wandering outside of those areas is generally filled with empty, dead space (more or less space depending on which area you're in. And, no, I don't mean the Badlands, but the farther you get from City Center, really. Wandering the streets in Kabuki is much more interesting and rewarding than Santo Domingo and at the top of the map. There's less crowds, which is fine, but there also less loot pickups littering places, less activities, fewer travel spots and the spaces between the set pieces feel less connected and more obviously placed.

This really resonated with me. You put into words some that I felt (rather than saw), but couldn't articulate. The city felt like a painting where the artist got bored after doing the main subject, and just did some wispy impressionist stuff for the rest of it.

detroit20 wrote:
garion333 wrote:

There's pockets of interesting things in the game, but wandering outside of those areas is generally filled with empty, dead space (more or less space depending on which area you're in. And, no, I don't mean the Badlands, but the farther you get from City Center, really. Wandering the streets in Kabuki is much more interesting and rewarding than Santo Domingo and at the top of the map. There's less crowds, which is fine, but there also less loot pickups littering places, less activities, fewer travel spots and the spaces between the set pieces feel less connected and more obviously placed.

This really resonated with me. You put into words some that I felt (rather than saw), but couldn't articulate. The city felt like a painting where the artist got bored after doing the main subject, and just did some wispy impressionist stuff for the rest of it.

100% agreed. I forget what podcast it was (maybe Giant Bomb), but they asked the question if CP2077 would be a great game if all the bugs were fixed, and everyone said no.

I agree with that assessment. Even though it's riddled with issues (much less so than were there at launch), it's still a story and environment that feels a little bland. There a little nuggets and vignettes that are wonderful and weird, but the actual core of the game that you need to propel forward feels a little lifeless sometimes.

I like the Keanu Reeves stuff, and I like the race against time to save your mind/personality, but if you zoom out, it's "drive to guy, do a mission, get a piece of info, drive to another mission, repeat." And it's not all that exciting.

With bugs, this game is 6/10. Without bugs, it's 7.5/10.

Vrikk wrote:
detroit20 wrote:
garion333 wrote:

There's pockets of interesting things in the game, but wandering outside of those areas is generally filled with empty, dead space (more or less space depending on which area you're in. And, no, I don't mean the Badlands, but the farther you get from City Center, really. Wandering the streets in Kabuki is much more interesting and rewarding than Santo Domingo and at the top of the map. There's less crowds, which is fine, but there also less loot pickups littering places, less activities, fewer travel spots and the spaces between the set pieces feel less connected and more obviously placed.

This really resonated with me. You put into words some that I felt (rather than saw), but couldn't articulate. The city felt like a painting where the artist got bored after doing the main subject, and just did some wispy impressionist stuff for the rest of it.

100% agreed. I forget what podcast it was (maybe Giant Bomb), but they asked the question if CP2077 would be a great game if all the bugs were fixed, and everyone said no.

I agree with that assessment. Even though it's riddled with issues (much less so than were there at launch), it's still a story and environment that feels a little bland. There a little nuggets and vignettes that are wonderful and weird, but the actual core of the game that you need to propel forward feels a little lifeless sometimes.

I like the Keanu Reeves stuff, and I like the race against time to save your mind/personality, but if you zoom out, it's "drive to guy, do a mission, get a piece of info, drive to another mission, repeat." And it's not all that exciting.

With bugs, this game is 6/10. Without bugs, it's 7.5/10.

Which is fine, I play and love, 7.5 games. It's just such a shame that this otherwise AAA game is lacking in such significant ways that only DLC may be able to fix. (I'm still holding out GREAT hope for Trauma Team DLC.)

In other news, we now have VP, producer and second director on Cyberpunk and director on Witcher 3 leaving CDPR in part because of his bullying management style.

Guess we'll be getting more Rogue in the future: https://mobile.twitter.com/Cyberpunk...

Oh. I just assumed that this was CDPR public relations team pretending, again, that the world of Cyberpunk is real. Isn't the fiction that Afterlife is where only the baddest of the bad hang out?

Gawd I hope not since that was pretty much derided everywhere I saw.

Course everything CDPR does now is derided, much like if someone mentions Bethesda or Fallout 76.

detroit20 wrote:

Oh. I just assumed that this was CDPR public relations team pretending, again, that the world of Cyberpunk is real. Isn't the fiction that Afterlife is where only the baddest of the bad hang out?

Yeah they talk about Afterlife like it is Studio54 but it's vacant and doesn't even look especially cool.

PoderOmega wrote:
detroit20 wrote:

Oh. I just assumed that this was CDPR public relations team pretending, again, that the world of Cyberpunk is real. Isn't the fiction that Afterlife is where only the baddest of the bad hang out?

Yeah they talk about Afterlife like it is Studio54 but it's vacant and doesn't even look especially cool.

Most hole in the walls don't but it was far from vacant...

Vacant as in if you've ever been to a popular bar/club you can barely move around freely more less have vacant barstools or chairs. Now I know in the game they can't have an annoying crowd of people in your way but it definitely didn't feel like it was a "special" or busy place.

I find it underwhelming myself. Other clubs in the game looked cooler.

PoderOmega wrote:

Yeah they talk about Afterlife like it is Studio54 but it's vacant and doesn't even look especially cool.

I think this strikes at one of the weaknesses of Cyberpunk specifically, and open world games in general. The developers rarely create truly memorable interior spaces.

In real life, of course, we often encounter buildings that inspire awe and that are impossible to forget (such as a cathedral, a major department store, or - as you say - PoderOmega - an amazing nightclub). But I struggle to think of a space in a video game that I still think about.

Sure, I might remember a space in the context of a particular mission or an important development in the story. But never as spaces in themselves.

Put another way, when was the last time that you saw a mission marker appear and though, "Great. I'll get to spend some time inside that place again."?

Eh, to me it was a decent shooter with some good (and bad) driving mechanics. I got my money's worth. It wasn't a life changing experience, but I never expected it to be.

detroit20 wrote:
PoderOmega wrote:

Yeah they talk about Afterlife like it is Studio54 but it's vacant and doesn't even look especially cool.

I think this strikes at one of the weaknesses of Cyberpunk specifically, and open world games in general. The developers rarely create truly memorable interior spaces.

In real life, of course, we often encounter buildings that inspire awe and that are impossible to forget (such as a cathedral, a major department store, or - as you say - PoderOmega - an amazing nightclub). But I struggle to think of a space in a video game that I still think about.

Sure, I might remember a space in the context of a particular mission or an important development in the story. But never as spaces in themselves.

Put another way, when was the last time that you saw a mission marker appear and though, "Great. I'll get to spend some time inside that place again."?

Blizzard's art direction was epic at one time; I still remember getting to the Borean Tundra in World of Warcraft, sailing between those huge rock cliffs, or the sudden vistas as you came around blind corners in some of the dungeons. Nothing from the latest expansion stood out for me in the same way, but in the Cataclysm era, they were really delivering.

But I'm having trouble thinking of true interior spaces that have stayed with me. The strong memories I have from 3D games are mostly landscapes. WoW, The Witcher 3, and Far Cry 3 all come to mind, but the stuff that impressed me there was either outdoors, or, when inside a WoW dungeon, in a gigantic open space that was about the same thing.

I mean, I've seen lots of churches in videogames, but not many that stand out, even when they were supposed to. The only one I can remember right now is from The Longest Journey, which was crude 3D animated over the top of 2D backdrops. The church there was lovely, IIRC, but it was just a flat painting.

detroit20 wrote:
PoderOmega wrote:

Yeah they talk about Afterlife like it is Studio54 but it's vacant and doesn't even look especially cool.

I think this strikes at one of the weaknesses of Cyberpunk specifically, and open world games in general. The developers rarely create truly memorable interior spaces.

In real life, of course, we often encounter buildings that inspire awe and that are impossible to forget (such as a cathedral, a major department store, or - as you say - PoderOmega - an amazing nightclub). But I struggle to think of a space in a video game that I still think about.

Sure, I might remember a space in the context of a particular mission or an important development in the story. But never as spaces in themselves.

Put another way, when was the last time that you saw a mission marker appear and though, "Great. I'll get to spend some time inside that place again."?i

I think there's a couple things at work here; one is that the procedural techniques that fill out exterior areas to make them look natural don't work in interior spaces since objects are deliberately placed. That takes a lot more time to make them feel authentic.

Secondly the manner in which space is scaled in open world games to create a sense of a large world while keeping point to point travel manageable means buildings are necessarily tiny in comparison to their real-world counterparts.

Malor wrote:

But I'm having trouble thinking of true interior spaces that have stayed with me.

The interior that sticks with me the most was the first time I entered a space station in Elite Dangerous when wearing a VR headset. Wow!

Moggy wrote:

The interior that sticks with me the most was the first time I entered a space station in Elite Dangerous when wearing a VR headset. Wow!

That's a good 'shout'. I felt the same when I flew into my first one, and that wasn't in VR.

That's said, I think the activity I was doing - flying into the station, orienting myself, and landing - was as important to my sense of awe as the interior itself.

But you've definitely hit on something there. It may be that mass adoption of VR is what's required to encourage developers to devote more time to interiors.

Malor's point about churches is a really interesting one. I was wracking my brains to think of any, but then I realised that the Souls games (and I include Bloodborne) are chock full of them! And yet none of them are memorable once the bosses are gone.

My favourite open world indoor space was the mall in Saints Row 2. Driving around it in a sports car causing destruction never got old.

I feel Dark souls architecture was more impressive from the outside rather the inside. I don't worry about impressive looking interior places, but I do like a "dungeon" with lots of tunnels/hallways , rooms and interesting things to see and distinctive styles depending on the gang/area/enemy who inhabits it, so I'm thing Skyrim did that well.

Ooh, yeah, that massive underground area in Skyrim was very impressive, particularly after trudging through so many hallways to get there.

And that reminded me of the Honest Hearts expansion, from Fallout: New Vegas. The expansion itself wasn't that great, but wow, the outdoor areas were spectacular.

I can think of many landscapes and vistas. Interiors though? I can still picture a great deal of the high school from Silent Hill. Similarly, Joel and Sarah's home in the The Last of Us. This is more their being memorable, for this, for that, rather than a fondness or a desire to return. So, I guess I'm drawing a blank for interiors that can rival landscapes to simply exist in with appreciation.