Working Toward a Classic

A lot of movies become classics years after they’re first released. They don’t change but our appreciation for them changes as they continue to show up in our lives. The Wizard of Oz and The Shining were blasted by critics but are now some of the most treasured films of all time. Modern games are somewhat different. The product you get on release day may not be what you’re playing a year later as developers continue to improve the game they originally made. But if they build upon an already quality game, they could help it become a classic.

This is the case with Cyberpunk 2077. The game that buyers purchased on December 10, 2020 is much different from the game purchased today It’s much different played on a newer console. And it’ll be considerably different come spring when CD Projekt Red releases a major patch and free downloadable content (DLC).

I reviewed Cyberpunk 2077 for with fresh eyes for its one-year anniversary–never paying attention to reviews or issues since launch. I gave Cyberpunk 2077 an 8/10 because of frustrating technical issues–plus other minor annoyances such as horrid driving controls, incredibly slow elevators, and a comical amount of garbage strewn throughout the city. But the content and gameplay are there. I think my review slides a point higher to 9/10 this spring if many of the technical issues are ironed out.

I asked CD Projekt Red about the most impactful updates made so far. They didn’t give me information to use in my review. I did get this statement written by tech support manager Karolina Nieweglowska.

(Check out the PDF here)

Nieweglowska talks about a convergence of issues–like when gamers complained about how hard it is to navigate Night City because the minimap window was so tight. CD Projekt Red pulled the map out a little to let gamers see more of where they’re going. The problem is, if they pulled too far out, it would impact performance.

Most of the fixes are of the technical nature that help stabilize the game. Nieweglowska says more fixes have been completed but have not yet been released. The team is figuring out how the changes impact already polished parts of the game before the updates go public.

When CD Projekt Red drops its major update this spring, I’m going to drop back into this world with a new character. Cyberpunk 2077 gives you three options for narrative paths from the beginning. You can be corporate kid, street kid, or nomadic kid. That decision impacts how you play the game and how the story unfolds. That gives it a lot of replayability.

Replayability helped make The Wizard of Oz and The Shining cinema classics. I imagine that will also help keep Cyberpunk 2077 popular for years to come. It has replayability thanks to its combat mechanics, platforming, and quest options. That and the continual updates from CD Projekt Red will ensure this one is someday looked back on as a gaming classic.

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