Cyberpunk 2077 Roadmap Proves the Game Should Have Been Delayed to 2021

Cyberpunk 2077's recent roadmap is supposed to address worries about the game's future. Instead, it may confirm how far behind the game really is.

Cyberpunk 2077
Photo: CD Projekt Red

Along with an apology video that attempted to make sense of why Cyberpunk 2077 turned out the way it did, developer CD Projekt Red posted a roadmap designed to explain what comes next. Here’s an image of that roadmap for reference:

Cyberpunk 2077 development roadmap

While that roadmap does indeed offer a vague idea of what’s coming next, fans still have questions regarding some of the specifics of what they should expect. CD Projekt Red tried to expand upon the meaning of this roadmap in an accompanying blog post, but many of the questions about content specifics and release dates remain unanswered.

Yet, the biggest takeaway from this roadmap isn’t a question but rather the revelation that in its own way, this roadmap reveals that Cyberpunk 2077’s release should have been delayed into 2021.

Take a closer look at what that roadmap is saying and how it gels and conflicts with information we’ve received so far about the Cyberpunk 2077 development process. Specifically, look at the language being used in regards to the released and proposed updates.

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You’ll notice that CD Projekt Red is referring to the updates released in 2020 (beyond the day one or day zero patch) as hotfixes and are referring to proposed 2021 updates (one of which is set to come out soon) as patches. The difference between a hotfix and a patch is not universal, but generally speaking, the idea is that a hotfix is a quick update designed to address specific issues that emerge while a patch is a designed series of updates designed to advance and improve a game. One tends to be more reactionary while the other is, at least ideally, slightly more progressive and forward-thinking.

It’s by no means unusual to release hotfixes shortly after a game’s launch, but what is somewhat odd in this case is the map’s implication that the Cyberpunk 2077 team has moved on to patches rather than a series of reactionary hotfixes. The fact that Cyberpunk 2077 is still unstable on consoles (it’s still not listed on the PlayStation Store for that reason) makes it hard to believe that we’re past the hotfix stage where crippling issues need to be addressed quickly before more substantial “planned” updates can be focused on.

Even the developer’s own clarifications create some confusion regarding the state of the game’s updates. CD Projekt Red notes that their “top priority since launch has been to fix bugs in Cyberpunk 2077.” To that end, they reference the “three hotfixes which have improved the game” but note that they’re “just the beginning.”

Shortly thereafter, though, the company says that they’re “focused on fixing the bugs and crashes players are experiencing across every platform.” Those fixes will seemingly come in “the way of patches — both small and large — to be released regularly.” They then say the “first update will drop in the next 10 days, and it will be followed by a larger, more significant update, in the weeks after.”

So, there are two possibilities to consider here. The first is that the initial update the company references is the Patch 1.1 update shown on the roadmap. However, that seems somewhat unlikely as the language of a subsequent “larger, more significant update” would almost certainly apply to Patch 1.1 based on the idea of how a patch works vs. the hotfixes we’ve seen so far. The other possibility in that instance would suggest there is a hotfix in the works before that patch that isn’t on that map. So is there a hotfix that isn’t on this roadmap, or is the company using patches of various sizes until this point to address issues previously addressed via hotfixes? Does that mean there will be a longer gap between updates that will contain basic fixes?

You may be saying, “CD Projekt Red wouldn’t list every upcoming hotfix on their roadmap because they don’t know when they’ll need to be released.” Well, you’re right, but the confusing thing here remains the language. If Patch 1.1 is that smaller update designed to address additional bugs, then shouldn’t it listed as a hotfix based on the precedent set by hotfixes so far? Are we also supposed to believe that the previous Cyberpunk updates put the game in a comfortable 1.0 state that the team would feel good about releasing today?

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Again, you could say this is all a problem of semantics, but when we’re talking about a company that’s own supporters will likely admit has struggled with communication in recent months, the idea that the content and scope of even these currently planned updates aren’t laid out a little more clearly is tough to overlook. It’s again also worth noting that the idea Cyberpunk 2077 is in an acceptable 1.0 state is a little difficult to swallow when the title has been delisted from major online stores and has forced other stores to embrace generous refund policies.

A bigger language problem emerges shortly after that information about patches and hotfixes. CD Projekt Red notes that their “plans for supporting Cyberpunk 2077 in the long-term are unchanged,” but the very next question they answer addresses the fact that the game’s free DLC was expected to be released in early 2021 but has seemingly now been slated for release sometime later in the year. That information alone would strongly suggest that long-term plans have indeed been changed at least somewhat.

Even if you want to continue to argue that’s a matter of minor language semantics, it all feeds into the bigger story that CD Projekt Red is still trying to weave this narrative which suggests that everything is under control now even as much more tangible evidence strongly suggests the contrary.

There’s perhaps no bigger piece of evidence that Cyberpunk 2077‘s future is uncertain than the vague late 2021 release date for the game’s next-gen patch suggested by this roadmap. While many assumed that the next-gen update wouldn’t be released until 2021, most early signs pointed to a summer 2021 release date. Besides, that’s before we knew the biggest selling point of the next-gen versions was that they’re the only way to enjoy a mostly playable version of the game on consoles and would be in need of basic performance improvements of its own.

That’s the biggest problem with this map. It’s built around the idea that there’s somehow one timeline for Cyberpunk 2077‘s future when, in fact, the performance differences between the PC, next-gen, and current-gen (or previous-gen) mean that each version of the game requires different levels of care. Such as it is, this roadmap indicates that you’re going to have to wait until late 2021 to play a version of Cyberpunk 2077 that’s even reasonably optimized for PC, PS4/Xbox One, and PS5/Xbox Series X. Of course, even that assumes that the PS4/Xbox One editions are truly fixed by then and that the next-gen update that’s located ominously close to that 2022 release date is indeed released in 2021.

By CD Projekt Red’s own admission, the console versions of Cyberpunk 2077 suffered, in part, due to the team’s desire to make the most impressive PC version of the game possible and then tweak the game for consoles from there. Despite the fact that they say that process didn’t work as intended, this roadmap still strongly suggests that they’re treating the (admittedly quite good) PC version of the game as the standard-bearer of the game’s current status rather than at the outlier it very much is. What we need, at the least, is a Doc Brown-style alternate 1985 roadmap that showcases what the timeline of the console versions of the game is.

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There’s still a very good chance that Cyberpunk 2077 will end 2021 with most of its major technical problems behind it. Even if that is the case, though, it’s hard not to think of all the controversies, all the technical problems, and all the crunch that could have been avoided or downplayed if at least the console versions of Cyberpunk 2077 had been delayed into 2021 when it’s clear CD Projekt Red intends for them to be much closer to a truly playable state.