“Cyberpunk 2077 Delay Defended By God Of War Director”
Responding to rumors about Cyberpunk 2077‘s delay being due to issues with the current console generation, God of War director Cory Barlog has come to the defense of developer CD Projekt Red. It’s always captivating when developers pull back the curtain on the complicated process of game development to help gamers and critics understand what it’s really like, and Barlog’s support for the Cyberpunk 2077 team is as wholesome as it is informative.
Cyberpunk 2077 was one of many high-profile game delays that kicked off 2020, with its launch date having been pushed back from April to September. After the dust cleared a bit, rumors surfaced that CD Projekt Red’s hand was essentially forced by the strict hardware limitations of the PS4 and Xbox One. Of course, there’s likely no excuse or explanation which could possibly allay players’ collective disappointment now that the deed has already been done. This particular justification, along with CD Projekt Red’s stated reason of the game needing polish and bug fixing, does make quite a lot of sense, though. There are growing efforts within the industry to bridge the cross-generational gap, and development only gets harder with each platform that gets added to the pile.
Barlog, the outspoken creative director at Sony’s legendary Santa Monica Studio, made the case for Cyberpunk 2077‘s delay on Twitter shortly after the current-gen rumors circulated. His initial thread tackled the issues faced by developers during the final stretch of a game’s production, explaining that “EVERY game runs badly” prior to platform-specific optimization. Opening up about one of the most simple realities of development, Barlog put it plainly when sharing, “GAMES ARE VERY UGLY, FOR A LONG TIME, UNTIL THEY ARE NOT,” with that moment normally being “right near the end.” Despite being an industry veteran with considerable AAA experience under his belt who probably knows the above better than most, Barlog deferred to other developers to weigh in if their experiences have differed.
As for his reasoning, Barlog cited “the absolutely f-cking bananas level of complexity and moving pieces” that players have come to expect from the medium, with in-development titles being “duct taped together” messes that teams pour their hearts and souls into in the hopes that the final product will be worth shipping at all – let alone on-time. “Sometimes we (mostly) succeed. Sometimes we don’t,” he explained, reassuring other developers that there’s “NOTHING shameful or nefarious” about a game being in a rough state throughout development. Replying in a separate tweet to a comment suggesting that CD Projekt Red should have cut out current-gen releases altogether, Barlog clarified that he has “no clue” what will or should be done, but that “a choice like that may sound simple” but isn’t as simple as “flipping a switch.” Above all, he shared that work on Cyberpunk 2077 should continue until “they feel its [sic] done.”
Although Barlog paints picture of game development nowhere near as sexy as the fruits of its labor, he’s absolutely right. His last point should be closely observed across an industry plagued by unhealthy crunch practices. Crunch is employed nowhere more than in the final leg of a development cycle, and short delays like Cyberpunk 2077‘s tend to only exacerbate crunch periods rather than alleviate them. Accordingly, anyone who would prefer to explore the dark, dense metropolis of Night City sooner rather than allow CD Projekt Red to finish the game on their own time should reflect on what a few months could really cost.
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