Has the world finally forgiven Cyberpunk 2077?

Cyberpunk 2077,
(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Cautiously optimistic is how you might describe the most level-headed Cyberpunk 2077 console players right now. Back in March, when CD Projekt Red rolled out the beleaguered open world ARPG's 'Next-Generation Update' and Patch 1.5, a semblance of a working, functioning, and finally unbroken game poked its head above the dystopian future parapet. Cyberpunk 2077 on PC has always looked and played wonderfully, but its console cousin has, as I'm sure you're aware by this stage, struggled somewhat since its PS4 release in December 2020. Last month, the game launched its Patch 1.6 – an Edgerunners-themed update, named after the Netflix anime, with a host of tie-ins to the show – which saw its concurrent player count boom across all platforms in tandem.  

Between times, a Night City livestream teased the incoming Phantom Liberty expansion that's due in 2023, and, just this week, Cyberpunk 2077 featured prominently during CD Projekt Red's surprise reveal-all investors call. Alongside mention of a new The Witcher trilogy, and a new game that's still in its "conceptual phase", Cyberpunk 2077 Orion was teased – a proper Cyberpunk 2077 sequel that CDPR says will "prove the full power and potential of the Cyberpunk universe". A quick glance on social media in the immediate aftermath of the call showed excited fans cheering, still-disgruntled players jeering, and just about everyone asking questions of its setting, its premise, and whether or not after everything that's happened in and around this game over the last almost-two years, is promising so much more at this point the right move? 

It was exciting, and, for me at least, felt like the most vocal buzz we've seen around this game since pre-launch. Which keeps leading me back to the same question: Has the world now forgiven Cyberpunk 2077?

Night then dawn

Cyberpunk 2077

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red )

Forgive but not forget, right? I'm sure that's the stance of many players who felt short-changed in the wake of Cyberpunk 2077's console launch. I too was left upset at the tail-end of a shit year, hoping for the slightest reprieve by way of a video game I'd been looking forward to for literal years. It didn't turn out that way, of course, but, full credit to CD Projekt Red, the studio appears to have hauled its once derided action role-player from the gutter, kicked it into shape, and is now seemingly finding its stride again with a flood of new and returning players.  

If video game history has taught us anything, it's that hype and overpromising rarely leads to anything positive. What seemed to accentuate Cyberpunk 2077's galling console launch issues was the fact Hello Games' No Man's Sky had walked a similar path just a few years before. In that instance, players deemed the developer and publisher Sony to have bigged-up the open world action adventure-meets-survival game so much, and for such a long time, that what released on August 8, 2016 did not match its promise and promotional materials at all. Fast forward six years, and No Man's Sky is flying (pardon the pun) after an avalanche of sustained quality of life tweaks, myriad updates, and, most recently, a No Man's Sky Nintendo Switch launch. Time and effort, it seems, is a great healer. 

Cyberpunk 2077 V on roof

(Image credit: Ben Bayliss photo mode cyberpunk 2077)

"Cyberpunk 2077 is a good example of how quickly good faith can be lost – and, perhaps more importantly, how long it can take to be redeemed."

From Daikatana to Duke Nukem: Forever; Mighty No. 9 to Star Fox Zero; Resident Evil 6 to Peter Molyneux's Godus, the last 20-odd years have been filled with games that once promised the world, but ultimately buckled under the weight of their own hype. Being able to bounce back, then, is no mean feat, and while CD Projekt Red entered this self-inflicted storm having been previously revered for The Witcher 3, Cyberpunk 2077 is a good example of how quickly good faith can be lost – and, perhaps more importantly, how long it can take to be redeemed.

So has the world now forgiven Cyberpunk 2077? It's possible CD Projekt Red's recent multi-project announcement was driven in-part by a desire to restore more of that lost faith, to salvage more of its once untouchable reputation, or as a statement of intent with an eye on potential future investors. On the players' end of things, I'm not surprised some people are excited by the future. Given how brutal and outspoken the internet is, I'm also not surprised that some others can't, and will never, forgive. As for the most level-headed Cyberpunk 2077 console players among us? Well, we're simply cautiously optimistic. 

Love yourself some role-playing? Check out the best RPG games available today. 

Joe Donnelly
Features Editor, GamesRadar+

Joe is a Features Editor at GamesRadar+. With over seven years of experience working in specialist print and online journalism, Joe has written for a number of gaming, sport and entertainment publications including PC Gamer, Edge, Play and FourFourTwo. He is well-versed in all things Grand Theft Auto and spends much of his spare time swapping real-world Glasgow for GTA Online’s Los Santos. Joe is also a mental health advocate and has written a book about video games, mental health and their complex intersections. He is a regular expert contributor on both subjects for BBC radio. Many moons ago, he was a fully-qualified plumber which basically makes him Super Mario.